Thursday, September 4, 2014

4 Insane Things a Mom's Body Does

New, wonderful symptom of postpartum depression: Hands tingling.

It got me thinking about all the insane things my body's done since becoming a mom. Everything it does without needing your mental permission; without you needing to say, "OK, body, have at it."

After it's done building life out of sperm and egg, then pizza, pickles and ice cream, prenatal vitamins and lots of water (that goes out as quickly as it goes in) into a baby ready to take on the world, it gives life. Which is its own (several) blog posts. Then...then? No one talks about what happens then. Here's a couple nutty things.

1. It makes your hands tingle. 
This was further confirmation to me that postpartum depression (and mental illness, in general) is not simply psychological. It all has a physical basis. My body is doing some crazy shit right now, and apparently sending the proper amount of blood and sensation to my hands is pretty damn low on the list of priorities (see #2).

2. It feeds life.
Last night, I pumped after my daughter went to bed. Of course, because of this, she un-characteristically woke up as I was trying to go to sleep at 10:30. I had no milk. But she latched on and persisted. A minute or two of that, and I felt the let-down. And I heard her gulping. Ask for milk, milk you receive.

3. It tells you what it needs.
When I was first home from the hospital, all I wanted was chocolate. Dark chocolate. And as it turns out, chocolate can help your milk supply.* I wish I could say I'd known that, but really I was just listening to my cravings.
After the sweets bingeing was (mostly) over, I craved meat. This from a woman who would order "just fries" or cheese sticks from restaurants as a kid to avoid having to eat burgers. From a woman who was vegetarian for years. My grocery cart was now regularly filled with whatever meat was on sale. This time, my doctor told me I was likely craving meat because of how seriously depleted your body's iron stores are after birth. WHATTUP.
Sometimes it's hard to listen to your body, sometimes it's not. Listen.

4. It gets you by on very, very little sleep.
Last week, standing by the stupid decision to move our living-room furniture into our just-finished basement rec room ourselves, my husband and I removed the latch from our exterior entry door to fit it all through. At 1 AM, I went upstairs to put the latch back on the door. No dice. Seems the anti-jimmy hooziwhatsit bullshit trigger switch had flipped, never to work again.
I drove to Wal-Mart instead of leaving a gaping hole in our door for the night. I slept less than three hours and expected to call in sick to work the next day, thinking I'd be useless. Nope. I felt the same the next morning as any day as a mom (which is not to be compared to any day pre-motherhood). I drank my coffee and went about things just as I would had I gotten my now-normal 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
Thanks, body, thanks. Thanks for making sleep the ultimate luxury and no longer a necessity or even an expectation. I really, really appreciate that, buddy. Chief. Pal. Friend.

And through all this, we wonder how new moms aren't always exactly feeling their best? Now if I could just get rid of this hand-tingling shit.

*I tried to find a source verifying this, but really, all I've got is my sister-in-law saying this is true. Good enough reason for me to keep eating chocolate. At least my love of chocolate is consistent with pre-motherhood me.

What would you add to this list?


  1. I only had the hand problem during pregnancy! Hope your hands feel better soon and that mine do not start acting up! I can't afford it now with my business.

    I would add: being able to carry a 22 lb toddler, a 10 lb diaper bag, 3 grocery bags, mail, and 15 extra pounds from the growing baby inside up two flights of stairs just to get into my house.

    Mommy strength!!!

  2. Hope your hands hold up, too!
    When does this amazing mommy strength kick in??! :) And does it do anything for clumsiness? I feel like I would drop everything but the toddler. Ha.