Ugly Sides of Parenthood: Body Woes
Having a baby and raising a child pushes you to your physical and emotional limits...and way, way beyond. You need that fire-in-the-belly thing to light your way through the dark patches: the exhaustion from middle-of-the-night feedings, the incessant worry over every random cough and snurfle, the physical strain of hefting an infant who refuses to be put down, the constant suspicion that you and your spouse simply don't know enough to be parents. It's an emotional labyrinth, and you can really get lost in there.
Particularly if you happen to be a woman.
New Mommy Body
The physical consequences of pregnancy and childbirth alone can be unpleasant and ongoing. I have friends (at least two of them in my immediate circle) who are doomed to lives of maxi pad wearing because, since giving birth, they can't sneeze or cough without a little pee leakage.
I have another friend who, more than a year after her son was born, still consistently endures nether-regional pain -- mild on a good day, not so mild on a bad one. Another buddy recently told me that, since the doctor stitched her up "a little too enthusiastically" after the birth of her first baby, sex has been downright unpleasant.
Not to mention the new sags, bumps, lines and wrinkles that will keep your body from ever looking the same. "The new normal" is what my husband calls it, but he's just being nice, considerably nicer than I am to myself when I work up the courage to look in the mirror. Factor in the toll that sleepless nights and random bouts of worry -- or out-and-out fear -- take on your skin and other odd corporal goings-on and, well, sister, you ain't no nubile teenager anymore.