John Mayer sang 'Your body is a Wonderland' to this gorgeous, twenty-something, porcelain-skin, candy-lips (his words not mine), perfectly-shaped damsel. And yes, her body might be Wonderland to him, but you know whose body I think is a Wonderland? Mine.
Before you quickly find me on Facebook and Instagram to judge my body, let me forewarn you! You will find a conventionally chubby, big girl, with tiny pimple marks, hair that needs coloring every 2 months, legs that are definitely not endless, and breasts that sag because, you know - Gravity. But it did something last year that I cannot believe it could do.
It created a whole new human!
I was never the sorts who has pushed herself physically. I wasn't into sports (unless kho kho and dodge-ball count), I am quite sullen as a trekker, and I swim like a turtle. While I was never under-confident or ashamed of my body, barring a couple of teenage years, I thought it was lovely that I had all functional organs and if I tried, I could look pretty. But then the turning point happened; I got pregnant and slowly yet steadily, my body unraveled its true potential. Let me tell you the magical things my body did since February 2017.
- My body grew a whole new organ called the placenta to nourish and maintain hygiene for the baby.
- My uterus, which is the most elastic thing in the world, grew from the size of an orange to a watermelon in 9 months.
- Every single day, from the first month to the last, I was introduced to pains in body parts that I didn't know could hurt. There is a not-so-cool-as-it-sounds phenomenon called Carpel Tunnel Syndrome that hurts palms, fingers and nails. Yes, even my nails hurt during pregnancy.
- My body survived an emergency C-section, which involved two humans making a cut in my skin so deep and long that a 3-kg baby could come out. My husband, who was with me holding my hand in the surgery, now actually knows me in and out!
- I survived this horrible spinal injection that left me with a headache and felt like a chainsaw massacre inside the head.
- My body even when completely beaten, was staying awake, providing and being responsible for another person whose needs were many, considering he had just shown up in the world.
- My body made customized food for my baby right from day one. First, it made colostrum that is like a protection charm that helps babies fight all diseases that the mother has gone through. And then came the milk - Liquid gold that keeps changing its composition to meet the demands of my baby's body.
- My beautiful body has been surviving on an average of 4 hours of sleep. It's rising every single day and doing its best to meet all demands of my baby’s and my own.
So, the bottom line is my body is that of a superhero. But of course, this is not how one feels when they look into the mirror and find themselves many pounds heavier and unable to even think of working out for the next few months. There is no chance of dieting either, as feeding and taking care of the baby makes you reach out for ghee-soaked ladoos in the middle of the night (even if you don't have a sweet tooth). The lack of sleep and sudden drop in hormones ruin your skin and hair after child birth. And of course, if you are a C-sec Mom, then there is a permanent “smile” on your belly!
All of this and the fact that we are feeling least ourselves physically and mentally makes us look at the pitfalls more than the astounding capabilities. I have been a morning person all my life. I always felt energetic and beautiful in the morning. But that completely changed after having a baby. Every morning for the past six months, I have woken up either with a sore neck or back or absolutely groggy because of the little one waking up every hour or two. So many mornings, I have woken up feeling miserable and with immense amount of self-loathing because of my body. But soon, breakfast and the tea kick in, and so does perspective that my body has been and is still going through a life-changing experience. One can't enter a battle and come back unchanged. There is bound to be pain and the inevitable scars. And the thing about battle scars is, that they need to be flaunted.
Khyati Anand Puthran (Author)