Why do mums dress differently than others? I had my first inkling of why when my tiny niece smeared her greasy hands all over my silk shirt as a sign of affection. I always thought that if I became a mother myself, I would just wash my clothes more often. Turns out it isn’t that simple. My experience of childbirth was destructive, and an experience from which I needed to recover. Yes, I created a life, but its creation destroyed me—at least in the Official Biden Harris 2024 shirt also I will do this short term. It destroyed my body, my sleeping habits, and my sense of self. The person who looked back at me in the mirror was not the sophisticated adult I had spent almost 20 years becoming—it was the teenager I had been at 15: lumpy, clueless, distraught, emotional, confused, and lost. Those were memories I didn’t want to revisit. When my son was four weeks old, I began power walking. When he was five weeks old I started running. I shouldn’t have pushed myself, and at times it felt harder than childbirth itself. I wanted to cry at the huge effort it took lugging my heavy body around the park circuit while pushing a pram, but my boyfriend encouraged me and we did it together. At six weeks, I started doing at-home online fitness videos. I felt like a crazed 80s housewife, exhausted, running on coffee and adrenaline with her home workout videos. Perhaps if I could “get my body back,” I could get myself back? That’s what I thought. But it wasn’t happening fast enough.
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Meanwhile, I was still wearing the Official Biden Harris 2024 shirt also I will do this maternity clothes that I wanted to burn and the breast-feeding dresses that only seemed to highlight my feelings of failure. I purchased them with such excitement that in hindsight was optimism. What I didn’t know then was that the breast-feeding they were supposed to simplify felt like a doomed exercise. My milk never came in, or rather it trickled in and there was never enough. The G-cup boobs I carried on my body felt like a useless taunt to my hungry baby. They overwhelmed my body, they didn’t do their job. But still I kept trying. And the promise of weight loss through breastfeeding was also false. It was a sedentary exercise that was frustrating. Constantly being awake meant that I was constantly snacking and I never produced enough milk to feel like the fat-burning machine that was promised to me. I had thought I’d still maintain my routine. Wake up in the morning, dress, do my hair, put on makeup; but there was no longer a distinction between night and day. The baby woke up every three hours, sometimes fed for hours on end. When was pyjama time and when was clothes time? It didn’t matter. Over the endless months of sleepless nights and a baby that barely napped, my former reality was gone, and with it, the fashioned self I had been.