They say pregnancy is tough on your body and labour is the equivalent of running a marathon but what about when that’s over? Raising a baby is full of delights, not all of which are relaxing or restorative. In fact, none of them are. Most parenting activities are designed to ruin your body which is undoubtedly a design flaw. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few ways parenting has ruined me physically, cue the violins.
Having dealt with hay fever induced wheezing most of my life, I became one of the third of women whose asthma worsens during pregnancy. A quick medical consultation told me that I’d be back on a ‘reliever’ inhaler (Ventolin) designed to be taken when the familiar tightness started in my chest. Thankfully for me that tends to be exercise induced or on days when the pollen count is particularly high. I was convinced this would pass once the baby was born but no, I appear to be stuck with it. As someone who continually misplaces her inhaler, I’ve bought a couple spare asthma inhalers online which are secreted around the house/car/handbag. So thanks baby, it’s been a wheeze.
Oh lord. Between the carrying, the lifting and the bouncing, every single bone in my body aches. In fact, as I sit here typing this, I’m trying to stretch out my hip. Despite all the warnings not to, I routinely carry the boy on the same side of me, sticking my hip out to help support the 22lb dead weight of him. Eight months of continually bouncing him to sleep for the first eight months of his life left both me and the husband with knees akin to an eighty year old ex-trampolinist. Not content with all of that, we perform the back breaking task of attempting to lower a sleeping baby in and out of a cot multiple times a night. Phew, talk about back pain. Basically I’m a limping, aching wreck right now.
I’ve always had thick hair, something I’ve hated up until the last 12 months. Suddenly, having thick hair is a benefit because it’s coming out left, right and centre. Around three months into parenting I started to lose all the hair I didn’t lose whilst pregnant, something that’s terrifying when you’re in the shower holding clumps of hair in your hands on a daily basis. Luckily for me that started to slow around the same time that my son learnt how to rip hair out for fun. That’s right. Lean in, wrap around hand, pull. And so the hairloss continues. The good news on this one is it’s not just limited to me, my husband gets the exact same hair-reducing treatment. At this rate we’ll be researching wig makers and hair transplants!
Eye Bags AKA The Grey Tinge Of Exhaustion
Whilst we’re not up every hour these days, we are still up at least once a night. I worked out the other day it’s been a worryingly long time since I had a full night’s sleep. I’m reliably informed it doesn’t get any better either, if it’s not teething or feeding, it’ll be worrying about them at school or waiting up for them to get in of an evening. My mum often tells me she’s been unable to sleep due to us children which by my calculations means these eye bags are going to be a permanent feature around here. Which is why I’m still up past midnight most nights on my computer… obviously.
With all the hormones racing around in your body through pregnancy and postpartum, there are bound to be changes. I wasn’t expecting my skin to change quite so dramatically though. Aside from the hang overs (literally) from carrying another human inside my skin, breastfeeding has had it’s own impact on things not quite being as ‘up’ as they once were. My once verging-on-oily skin is now dry and often itchy, I have to work far harder to stay hydrated and I have to take daily supplements to stop my iron levels from getting too low and causing skin issues. Apparently it’s quite common with mums that breastfeed beyond six months but it still came as a surprise to me!
What about you – what ways has having a child wrecked your body? Why does no-one warn us of the car wreck that our bodies will become postpartum? Tell me it gets better people, please!