People say that once you have children you’ll never be the same again, and they’re right! Body changes, mental shifts, increased awareness and knowledge – motherhood is definitely the gift that keeps on giving. Here are ten things that I’ve personally been left with after having kids.
1. Scar tissue
I have a long permanent scar on my lower abdomen from having two c-sections. Sometimes it itches yet I can’t quite scratch it due to a slight numbness still over the area, like a phantom itch. Other than that I don’t mind my scar, it’s not that big and unless I have no knickers on you can’t see it. Aside from this though I also have two strange hard bumps that weren’t there before – one at the end of my right ribcage and the other just below my sternum. I experienced a lot of muscle tearing in my upper body during my first pregnancy so my doctor believes it’s harmless scar tissue that’s formed. Still pretty weird!
2. A smaller cup size
You’d think supplying breast milk to three big boys would have left me with a large pair but sadly no, my boobs were sucked dry leaving me with less than before – except for my nipples which annoyingly are more pronounced after being used as drinking utensils.
3. A mummy tummy
I didn’t quite realise the source of my little mum tum until recently. Turns out I have diastasis recti, which is where your stomach muscles separate during pregnancy leaving you with a gap in the middle where your six pack should be. I’ve now learned I can actually do something about this though with some simple exercises, hooray! So stay tuned…
4. A bigger shoe size
My feet swelled up like crazy with my first baby thanks to being borderline pre-eclampsia, meaning I couldn’t wear anything but thongs. Surprisingly though, even after the fluid was gone my feet had grown around half a size. Turns out it’s not just the added weight and pressure flattening and broadening your feet, but the pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens the ligaments in your feet and makes your bones spread.
5. Different down there
I’m not talking radical changes here, but let’s just say that downstairs isn’t exactly the way it was to begin with thanks to three pregnancies and one vaginal birth.
6. A dodgy knee
There was a chance I was always going to have recurring knee pain (it does run in my family), but after the huge amount of extra weight I carried during my pregnancies (thanks again excess fluid and big babies) and then years of holding children on my hips, I’m sure the added pressure on my joints certainly fast-tracked the issue. Now going up and down stairs can be a pot luck of sudden pain when I least expect it.
7. A ton of knowledge
Before becoming pregnant I had no idea there were so many things I didn’t know about the female body, pregnancy, birth procedures and babies. For example, unless you’re in the medical profession it’s unlikely you’ll know about colostrum (the first thick breast milk you produce) or meconium (a newborn’s first poo) until you actually have a baby. I also now know how to express milk from my breasts, swaddle a baby, rock one to sleep, adjust a Baby Bjorn and much, much more.
8. Greater understanding and appreciation
I now know first-hand what my own mother experienced. I can see how lucky I was to fall pregnant so easily and birth three healthy babies when so many others struggle. I understand the pain of having a miscarriage. I realise that I was blessed with easy pregnancies (I have very fond memories of carrying each of my babies) and quite a knack for breastfeeding – which isn’t the case for all. I also have a deeper understanding for just how utterly mind blowing a vaginal birth can be, and know that my body can withstand the worst pain I’m ever likely to experience and yet still survive. I also appreciate sleep so much more than I ever did before (my babies all had reflux) and will never take it for granted again.
9. More fear, worry and pride
Once you become a parent suddenly there is so much more to worry about. Even taking a simple flight on a plane that used to seem so effortless and fun now takes on a different meaning because if the plane goes down it’s not just your life you worry about. On the flip side I’ve also been left with more intense pride than I’ve ever known because creating and raising actual human beings is really quite incredible.
10. Three beautiful boys
My three wonderful, healthy, amazing little boys fill my heart with joy every single day (and my house with mess and noise!). Challenging, inspiring, life-changing and ever evolving, they’ve brought so much love and happiness to my life making them by far the best thing I’ve been left with from my motherhood journey.
What motherhood mementos or ‘gifts’ were you left with after having kids?