Andrea E Norgord (34) with Phoebe and Cecelia (5)
Andrea shares -
"Motherhood has improved my body image in many ways but I also have emotional setbacks on occasion. I remind myself my body was healthy and strong enough to grow two human beings for 35 weeks and 3 days. Each and every stretch mark was another ounce. My "mommy aprons" are remembrance of each movement in both breech and traverse positions. My breasts, much larger and definitely sagging causes me much discomfort - back pain and horrible swimsuit and bra shopping experiences - but allowed me to feed my girls even if it didn't come naturally for almost 9 months. We supplemented with formula from day one but my girls tripled their birth weight by 4 months old.
My cesarean scar, a reminder of the amazing care I received from my OB, the medical assistants, the lab techs (how many times did I pee into a cup and get stick with a needle?), and countless nurses. My diastasis proves my girls rapid growth, especially once we hit the third trimester, reaching a combined weight of over 11 pounds. Any itch reminds me of the PUPPPs rash all over my body causing me to take countless cool showers and to rotate ice packs all day long including overnight. My rushes to the bathroom remind of the butt which rested comfortably on my left hip. Strange twinges in my abdomen remind me of another butt pushing against my right rib cage, actually causing a rib to go out of alignment causing painful and sleepless nights postpartum. (Thank you for chiropractic research and care.)
My hernia is from four feet kicking each other (and me) and reminds me of the rumbling I felt for the very first time. I remember telling my husband, Andy, "I think they are kicking each other," and to have it confirmed the very next day in an ultrasound, all four feet directly over my belly button. I don't plan on having surgery on it because it is a constant reminder of that moment, even if it makes my stomach stick out as if I were pregnant. I smile when the girls ask about it. Each and every change was it's own reward (sometimes discretely disguised) and I know how lucky I was and am to be blessed with two healthy girls.
Adjusting to parenthood was strange. I really don't remember life prior to my girls now. I got pregnant shortly after finding a good paying, steady desk job and had to fight to get 8 weeks of unpaid leave. I didn't qualify for FMLA because I had my girls within my first year of employment and they would only guarantee 6 weeks. Because of my high risk pregnancy resulting in preterm birth of multiples I was able to squeeze 8 weeks. We barely made it through financially. I wasn't ready to go back to work but we couldn't afford not to have me working. I went back to work full time and three days later was transferred to another contract doing the same work but in the evenings and part time. The pay was good but working part time still caused stress and anxiety living paycheck to paycheck. As the holidays approached things changed for me. I was missing a good portion of new things my daughters were doing and the shorter days/longer nights caused pain for me and fear of missing out.
I was stressed but hid it well from most people. However, one night at about 2am I felt pain I hope to never again. Phoebe was screaming and refused to be soothed. I just wanted her to go back to sleep but I wanted to shake some sense into her. I knew something was wrong with me. I immediately called my OB and he called me back immediately. He asked if Andy was there. He told me to give Phoebe to Andy and to take some deep breaths. I woke Andy and handed him Phoebe. My doctor stated a nurse would call and I was to come into his office in the morning. He then asked to speak to Andy. I don't know what he said to him but I'm grateful he said it. I went on an antidepressant through the holidays and once we got through Christmas I started therapy and chiropractic care. I stopped antidepressants and eventually ceased therapy.
In the fall of 2016 I went back to the only job I ever truly loved, working as a barista and I have so much flexibility now while still working full time. Depression sneaks back from time to time and always seems to happen in the fall and goes through the holidays. I have some days in which my anxiety doesn't allow me to think clearly and that is always associated with changes, especially involving my girls or money. I used to be able to handle changes well but now kids are involved and I absorb so much anxious energy.
Changes. Your body, environmental, routines. Everything changes, all of the time. As soon as you get comfortable with a routine and physical setup something will change. They get mobile, the baby gates go up. They started growing so the search for new car seats begun and they move from high chairs to booster seats. They become more independent.
I want my girls to realize each person is beautiful in their own unique ways, inside and out. I had a mother who would sometimes comment on my looks in a negative way and I remember those moments 25+ years later. I refuse to be that way and this will be my reminder for many years to come. Cecelia, has mentioned "but I want to look beautiful" referring to her clothes or her hair. At age five! I immediately correct her and advise her she is beautiful no matter her clothes or hair and tell her she is caring and thoughtful and confident and brave. We are all unique AND beautiful.