I had a parent ask me in a labor and birth class the other night what it felt like after I’d given birth, and if I felt lighter (a lot of the moms have complained of that heavy feeling late in pregnancy).
Without missing a beat (or thinking) I responded:
“Empty. I felt empty.”
And I didn’t mean it in a negative way, but rather, in a sort of sad way. Melancholy, I suppose. I remember really mourning pregnancy, and the loss of having Ryan inside me, and the realization that I’d now REALLY have to share her, and care for her on the outside. It was more than just that my body had been emptied, but it’s really hard to describe it.
I think the closest I can get is that it’s like an amputee. You know your leg is gone, but it still itches sometimes, still hurts, and you still think you’ll be able to reach down and touch it.
Pregnancy is a little that way.
Your babe is here, and you are holding, touching, nursing and caring for her, but you still think that you’ll reach down and touch that huge belly, you feel “phantom kicks” and would SWEAR that you’re pregnant (but you’re not), and sometimes, years later, you feel phantom milk let-downs, again, swearing that you’re about to look down to find two huge wet spots on your shirt.
And so, as you celebrate the birth of your child, you mourn the loss of your pregnancy. It’s an important step, and giving yourself some time to mourn it is important. Again, this just came up, and I felt like I needed to write it out…for all the challenges, I LOVED being pregnant, loved that feeling of having another human being growing inside me, and loved bringing her into this world. And to love something that much, is to mourn it when it’s gone.