Proof of You
Proof of You
Essay by Christiane Schultz for baby Matthew
Normally the transistion phase of pregnancy to my “normal” body doesn’t bother me. So what if for a few months after delivery I have bread dough belly that’s not as small or as firm as I would like it to be. Or my ever-changing breast size that changes with eating patterns. Or the general overall lack of firmness due to lack of exercise from that difficult third trimester. It usually doesn’t bother me because I have earned the prize at the end. The baby. The baby that is constantly attached to me either by breast-feeding, sling or backpack. Having people tell me I look great so soon after giving birth. Or the fact that total attention is away from me and my flaws because they want to see the adorable new baby.
But this transition is a difficult one. I still have all the makings of the transistion body but without the prize at the end. I still went through 39 weeks of pregnancy with the eagerness of your arrival. Only you’re not here to go through the changes with me. No feedings and gradual withdrawal from the breast. I had to wrap a tensor bandage tightly around my chest to avoid the agonizing pain and reminders of the engorgement and the dissipating of my milk production. No muscle build up in my arms from lugging you around constantly. The long walks to burn fat have not come yet since I don’t have you to share with the world. Sadly, many who see me will never even know you exist. So I stay home from my walks. I wait for someone to mention babies so I can slip your birth in there. My joy in having you and sadness in losing you.
As difficult as this is, even after 2 months and 8 days of my transitioning this body back to normal, I pray I can change my way of thinking about it. That these flaws are not a bad thing but more like badges of honour. Reminders that you grew in my belly and were born with the hopes and dreams like my other children. They are little reminders of your existence that yes, quite sadly, are slowly going away. You were here if even for a short time. And for a little while longer, I have proof. So until they are gone, I will enjoy them.
Stay tuned for more information and a video about Christiane, Amery and baby Matthew, who died two hours after he was born.
Click here to see a family photo.