Happy 6 weeks, my little one.
I’m six weeks postpartum today. Six weeks is officially the end of the recovery period from childbirth. It’s the amount of time we recommend people take off from work, for medical reasons. Physically the body is supposed to be back to normal- stitches healed, bleeding stopped, uterus small. It marks the time we tell people it’s ok to resume normal activity- exercise, sex, work, swimming, whatever. After today my life as a patient is no longer measured by how many days or weeks since childbirth. After today, I am just a normal gyn patient. I have my check up this upcoming week and after that no more scheduled appointments. I went from seeing my midwives every week at the end of pregnancy, then almost daily while in the hospital. Now it’s been weeks and soon it will be an unknown amount of time. I will no longer be connected to pregnancy.
This is the saddest Saturday so far. It feels like an end. Most people don’t keep track of how far postpartum I am and most people wouldn’t even recognize that six weeks is the standard recovery time. So this ending is all in my head. But how strongly I feel this. I’m saying goodbye to all things pregnant. Maternity clothes have been packed away, I don’t have to have modifications when I exercise and I’m supposed to be planning an end to my maternity leave. I am so sad that I am saying goodbye to these things. I’m sad that no one will see me as recently pregnant anymore.
I’m projecting, I know. I have no reason to think these things; no one has acted in anyway to make me think they’re true, but I think I’m just processing my fears. And so many more fears I have. I fear that people will not expect me to grieve as much because she was just a baby, even though she changed my body in permanent ways that are constant reminders that she is not here. People are often back to work and regular life much soon after an older family member’s death. I fear I’m not expected to grieve so much because she lived for such a short time, even though I wasn’t just saying good bye to my hours old baby, I was saying goodbye to all the hopes and fantasies I had for her growing up. I fear that people won’t give her as much credit as an older child who dies because we didn’t get a chance to know her, even though it aches that we had to take her off the vent before we even had a chance to learn all about her. I fear that people expect me to be ok- with work, at the grocery store, wherever- because “I’m so strong” or because I’m good at what I do, even though I am weak with sadness because the world as I know it is over.
No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. ~C.S. Lewis