I had a baby five months ago and I have never felt like less of a woman before in my life. I feel like I should be walking around our house singing, “I am woman, hear me roar”. Before I had Eva I was a housewife. A run of the mill housewife with a little more swearing and a little less (not a lot less) drinking than your 50’s sitcoms. Our house was clean 90% of the time, my husband got a home made breakfast, lunch, and dinner more days than not. Going out for date night or a family function I was perpetually showered, dressed in clean clothes, had a full face of make up, and in general felt good about myself. Let me be clear, these were and are all my choices. My husband does make the income but he does not decide the use of the income. I can believe in feminism and still be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, cause who wears shoes in the kitchen? Were we raised in barns?
So yes before Eva I felt very womanly like for the most part. During my pregnancy I also did feel fairly womanly. I was a swollen, emotional, internally screaming most of the time woman. When I got pregnant I felt like it was what I was meant to do. I was meant to be a mom, at that moment I was meant to be a mom to be. I was a prepping machine when I was pregnant. Every day was mostly centered around getting ready for our bundle of…change? The nursery was on fleek with a great outer space theme. Our hospital bags were packed and ready to go. All the necessary paper work was filled out and done. Our house was clean. I was able to shower and put on a full face of make-up, no problem. I, overall, felt like the kind of woman I wanted to be.
After having Eva, it all changed. I didn’t think it would. I thought that if anything I would feel my womanlinest….mostest womanly…best woman?…I would feel the pinnacle of my womanhood. I had given birth. I had screamed, grunted, and cried my way into producing life. I continued the circle of life. I was Rafiki presenting Simba to the tribe. The truth was and is I feel more like a shapeless blob in Flubber. While it’s amazing that I grew and pushed a human out of me, it’s also amazing how quickly I also feel like I left my sense of being a woman at the hospital. Something I’m not sure when I will get back.
My body is not mine anymore. Starting with my breasts. In our culture, the symbol of womanhood. They are fun in the bedroom and sustain life. Yet they do not belong to me anymore. They belong to my daughter. She is still feeding on demand. She lets me know when she wants them and my breasts let me know when it’s been too long since Eva has seen them. I have to wear shapeless bras that give no support because I need easy access and can’t have underwire clogging and ducts. For ten months my stomach was rented by Eva. Well, she left it a mess. My hair is falling out in hand fulls, my stomach and hips are a different shape, and I was super swollen for about two weeks after she was born. Overall, I don’t feel like my body is a woman’s body. I feel like it’s an instrument solely for someone else’s survival.
My schedule and everyday life. There was a saying in my family growing up, “It’s all about Amy”. While this was very unfortunate for my lovely sister, I truly understand the flip side of that now. Everything, everyday, every minute is all about Eva. What’s Eva doing? Is Eva okay? How old is she? A girl or a boy? The only question that is directed to me and who I am is, “How are you adjusting?” meaning, how am I doing with the notion that my whole life has been taken over by a demanding biped with toilet issues. I’m also a stay at home mom so I honestly never get a break. Which I knew that was going to happen, but some days, yeah it freaking hard. I am not Amy Gagnon anymore, I’m Eva’s mom.
Lastly, my own personal care. I don’t want to say that I’ve given up on my appearance and personal care, but I don’t want to lie either. It’s not so much that I willingly thought, “I shouldn’t shower for a week” it just happened. It’s hard to want to take time to put on clothes that have spit up on them and put on only a little make up because your daughter loves to Hannibal Lecter your face and the mom messy bun is a must in this house. The gist of all this? I don’t get ready anymore. When we run errands or have appointments I make sure Eva has a clean diaper and onesie on, her diaper bag is ready to go, and at the last second I look in the pub mirror by our front door. I tuck the feathered hairs behind my ears and we’re good to go. I wouldn’t call myself a woman anymore, I would call myself a mom.
Could I change this perspective of myself? Yes. Could I go to others for help so I can get out of this slump? Yes. At the end of the day I’m not sure I’m ready to. We just started getting into a routine and feeling somewhat normal in my house. I sometimes cook dinner, I sometimes clean things, and I sometimes have discussions with Tim that don’t center around our baby. These things used to have a never in front of them for months. I don’t think I was prepared for this part, doing what could be called the most womanly thing to do and feeling not so womanly. I’ll get there someday, I know this. I just wish that were today.