Tell me this isn’t the plot to a horrible sci-fi movie: a tiny egg hatches inside an unsuspecting human being. As it feeds off its host, the creature grows a million times its original size, incubates, and finally escapes through the nearest orifice. And that’s the prologue. The real horror comes afterward when the host is left in a state between spandex and grownup pants with a freezer full of ice cream and no appetite for it.
Dun dun dunn.
Maybe there’s a reason we don’t make movies about postpartum after all.
After giving birth and before your awesome mom super-powers kick on, there is quite the transition period, which means a whole lot of feeling awkward.
Having your body back is kind of like having loaned a friend your favorite sweater and then it coming back slightly more worn, smelling like someone else’s laundry detergent. Was it always this color? Weren’t the sleeves tighter? Didn’t it have more buttons?
Sometimes this clumsy feeling is because of the 15 or 50 pounds lingering around your waist.
Other times it’s the difference between the shape of your smile in old photos and what the mirror reveals now. It might be the shock of a sudden gray hair or the rake marks left on your belly. It’s easy to point to physical differences and think if only you can get back to your old self, then everything will be fine. But squeezing into your old clothes is only part of it. Leaving the house alone, drinking beer and eating sashimi, even tying your own shoes—all those little things you looked forward to doing again, are strange at first.
After spending nine months learning how to live with another being inside of you, you spend another nine months learning how to be a single organism again.
Though a brief phase, often overlooked amid the other milestones, returning to yourself is an important, beautiful moment worth appreciating. As your former-body snatcher becomes accustomed to this bizarre new world where people eat with their mouths and breathe with their lungs, so will you.