Because you’re sweating your butt off.
So many things change when we become parents that it seems cruel and unusual that hormonally, we go through it too. When you hear your baby cry and suddenly start perspiring, you realize that not just everything in your life has changed since having a child, but awesomely, your body chemistry has also changed! Great. As if it wasn’t enough that I surrendered my body for nine months to house this person, now I’m in the grocery store, the baby is crying, and suddenly…I’m sweating like a sinner in church!
Fantastic. It’s incredible the things mothers go through.
I’ll be honest, I never noticed any of these things initially. I had my first child when I was 19, and I was more interested in getting back down to a size 2 then I was about anything else, so I didn’t even realize how much I would sweat! I probably welcomed it, as though it meant I was losing weight. Man, I was treacherous to myself for a really long time! It wasn’t until I had my second baby that I actually took time to notice what was actually happening.
Something I left out is that with my firstborn, I never breastfed. I know, I know, put your pitchforks away, ladies! It’s fine. She’s fine. I was NINETEEN! I had never had any experience with babies until I met her. I also had no idea—and this will sound crazy—that you breastfed a baby. I mean, people had spoken about it being a thing, but I never gave it a thought at all! I just stuck a bottle in her mouth because I didn’t want to be chained to some baby.
But when my second child came, I had suddenly been thrown into a life as a stay-at-home mother. Fearfully, I clung to every moment because I wasn’t actually sure what I was doing at all. I began to pay very close attention to parenting, motherhood, my body, and daytime talk shows. When I would nurse her, I didn’t have Facebook or Instagram; I had to just be present. So I was. I can remember openly weeping as I nursed her, feeling such an amazing and tight connection to her as my body fed her body. I began to pay very close attention to the signs of her still in my body.
Even though I had given birth to her, and we were thereby physically separated, I could still feel a deep connection to her even when I wasn’t with her. I would be out at the grocery store to get a couple things and then suddenly, no lie, my breasts would fill up and begin leaking through my clothes. And I never wore the breast pads because I had no idea what I was doing, so I ran through about six shirts a day. No exaggeration. When I would call Elliot from the grocery, I would hear her screaming in the background and abandon my cart to come home to nurse her. We were inseparable! It was insane.
I couldn’t believe that she was making my body physically react to her tears MILES away! I would have these flashes of absolute heat just rush through my body when she would cry. It was out of this world for me to even understand how this was possible.
And it didn’t stop there; she’s the reason I knew I was pregnant with my third daughter. I would nurse her and it would cause me physical pain and nausea to breastfeed. I would have to stop because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my body. (Side bar, you can get pregnant while you’re breastfeeding… Just incase your OBGYN also told you that you can’t. You can…you can.) I took a pregnancy test, and sure enough, I was pregnant with another little bundle of joy. I did, however, have to stop nursing because I wasn’t able to give nutrients to my uterus inhabitant while also breastfeeding my newborn and also have the strength to keep my eyes open and mother my 6-year-old daughter, who had just begun Kindergarten. Those were some tough years.
I guess the point I’m trying to get across here is that as parents, we give so much of ourselves to our kids. Parents who don’t carry their babies in their person or who adopt children still sacrifice their bodies too! We give up sleeping and relaxing. We play way too hard with kids who will never remember it at their age! We get down very low on the ground and lift them up way higher than necessary, all for the sake of parenting, and the kicker is THEY REMEMBER NONE OF IT!
They literally go the rest of their lives never realizing that your knee makes that noise because of that time you tried to teach them to skate and you both fell down. You didn’t bounce back from that, and neither did your bones! Their tiny, fragile bodies were designed WAY more bouncy than ours!
They won’t recall any of it. There will be moments that change your body forever that mean literally nothing to them. And I’ve sacrificed parts of me I can’t get back. Like a size 3 jeans. And I still sweat profusely when I’m in the grocery store on Friday with all five of my kids simultaneously asking me for snacks while I meticulously bag them!
But my body’s reaction to them means I’m still connected to them. That I feel some type of deep connection to them that can’t be expressed in anything dry or moisture wicking. Remember those moments, because one day we will be sweaty because we are going through menopause, and our kids will be gone, and we will miss engorged breasts wrapped in cabbage leaves.
Reality Changing Observations:
1. If you are a parent, what are some physical or emotional hardships you didn’t expect from parenting?
2. What are some surprising ways you feel close to your children?
3. What amazes you about human bodies? What experiences have you had that brought these amazing details to your attention?