I had an easy pregnancy. Even so Google was never far and I looked up every imagined and real symptom and milestone. I wasn’t uninformed, quite the opposite.
There were also apps. There were newsletters. There were forums. Each played their part in the well-rounded, and over inflated, education of Erin. I didn’t bother to find out what happens afterwards — the future is later. There are changes that I assumed I could expect, based on common sense and the alternate universe of movies and books.
Prolonged exposure to information — sought or accidentally absorbed — doesn’t prepare you for how something feels or the way it looks on your body.
Cut to birth (literally) and the unknown begins. I had a c-section, which I was not prepared for, even though I knew it was a possibility. That pleased part of my body but introduced some totally new surprises in other areas. I regularly received reassurances “you had major surgery” whenever I got frustrated or simple tasks felt impossible. Verbal band-aids, although appreciated, don’t have much sustained healing power when up against the strength of self-criticism.
There were other changes (not counting what came with pregnancy and stayed on after birth to keep the party going) — painful ones, odd ones, funny ones, wtf ones. In my mind I now resemble the old man from the Carol Burnett show, played by Tim Conway, disheveled and shuffling around. My outsides reject old clothes and we may never be reunited. My insides feel rearranged. Emotions are hard. Sustained focus is almost impossible. To put it simply my body and my mind are in a constant territory battle for weirdest landscape.
Experiences often feel more real, more mertied when captured, tallied, and repackaged into an easy to digest form, at least in my world. As a former girl scout and someone that got immense satisfaction from checking off the requirements to earn a badge I decided to make my own version for this stage in my life. Each is a point of pride, but hopefully not in that way that’s obnoxious, alienating, or boastful. Bodies are fascinating. I did something I never thought I’d do. I earned it.
Badges will be posted in the coming days...