The Transformation Observation– The Torso Two Years After

It’s been several months plus two years since Toby’s birth. I’ve been working since then to shape my body into something I’m confident with. I’ve had several doctors tell me that the belly itself, after pregnancy, will contract on its own, and there’s nothing I an do to influence it. The uterus and everything internal contracted within weeks, and then I was left with fat and lots of floppy skin in the belly area.

I am not tiny anymore. Overall, I don’t fit into sizes 0 and 1, nor do I want to. I fit into medium sizes now, and I’ve accepted this as fact; I’ve also accepted that I’ve grown an inch or two in height since my pregnancy, my hair has darkened, my cheeks are more full, and my face has more depth to it. All these are just changes that happen to the body as it gives something to another human being.

But for the first time since my teenage years, I fight insecurities about my body. I’d like to write candidly about it, but I know some of my words have already made some of you cringe.

Welcome to my Sensitive Subjects Series. Here, I’ll be recalling the trip my torso has taken. I’ve seen skin textures and colors that don’t appear in magazines and have been both irritating and fascinating. Please read a different post if you don’t want to read about the textures of the skin under my clothes.

When I first began this observation stage, I saw stretch marks like waves that traveled outward from the birth point, outward in opposite directions around my hips and along my thighs. Waves along my breasts, outward from my nipples: the effects of nursing. Waves flowing in the same direction, like the ripples from some permanent impact. I find them fascinating; my body truly never will be the same.

Of course, now I have hips, as I had hoped I would after birth. There aren’t little caves there, but satisfying curves outward. I also have a butt that looks good in pants and that doesn’t disappear in folds of cloth anymore. I have more inward curves along my waist because they’re filled out with just the right amount of fat. My wrists aren’t awkward anymore; I have no desire to hide my wristbones with bracelets and really long sleeves. The angles have been filled in, and I appreciate the effect.

I also have thighs that stick together slightly on the insides. and I’ve lost quite a bit of muscle tone in my calves. My hips cramp easily now when put into positions that are the tiniest bit strenuous. These, I think, could be fixed by some specific sort of exercise, but they’re part of the change in my body. It’s a new experiment to see what happens to these new curves if I do a certain set of exercises. I’m a little relieved of this–it means I no longer have some sort of super-body that everyone I meet is envious of because it’s so slender.

One hard thing to do was to transition from the lounging and languor of healing from a birth to recalling a more active life. The activity of walking around the block and running around the house and jump-sliding out of a supine position on the couch and skipping instead of walking. It’s funny how that activity of exercise effects the productivity levels of the mind as well.

It was also hard to wait. Two years ago, my belly area had the texture of cottage cheese. It was also shrunken inward, with the most shrunken part being my belly button, which had turned black. It was a earth after a meteor impact. That shluuuuurping process wasn’t something I could control, and that frustrated me a lot. My belly didn’t seem to shrink in response to exercise of any sort or in extremely healthy eating or a combination of the two.

For awhile, I lost the cottage cheese texture but then had a muffin top to deal with. That’s where I slipped into a sense of outward apathy. I bought new clothes with larger waistlines and just waited it out. I’m not proud of this stance I took, but I didn’t want to worry about it anymore. And it worked; that earth healed.

I don’t have a muffin top anymore, and I can see my bellybutton without curling back the layer of skin that buried my little black scab. I do wish the doctors and nurses I talked to had mentioned that the shrinking process would be painful. When my body decided it wanted to shrink the belly area, I got a sudden stinging, burning, intense pain in that area. Eventually, I looked forward to that burning feeling because it meant that I was closer to a self-image I liked better.

My belly is still not done shhhhluurrping, and I don’t think it ever will be completely smooth again; it looks much better in clothes now. My body now reflects my emotions and my general mental state, whereas before, I could be depressed and troubled, stressed and worried, but my body looked flawless, sans hips. I’ve joined the ranks of women whose bodies are in a constant state of flux and flow.

These are my childbearing years, and my body will expand and contract. I just hope I can be more patient with it; being a woman instead of a girl seems to demand a larger state of patience to go along with all of these curves.

Photo by Don Chamblee for National Geographic

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About The Original Kate

Along with artistic tendencies, Kate enjoys unusual people and is constantly striving for some sort of nonconformity. Kate offers a perspective that is thoughtful but well-written and full of images within the words. Other tidbits that might intrigue: she has very long auburn hair, and, you guessed it, her favorite color is orange.

Posted on March 6, 2012, in From Moss-Lined Oregon and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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