Last week I read an article about your body after baby when there is no baby; the ordeal of losing a pregnancy only to realize that parts of you still look and feel pregnant. It got me thinking of my own experiences, one in particular which occurred after my 18 week pregnancy loss. Following a harrowing surgery, two blood transfusions and an iron count so low I was unable to walk without assistance, I woke up one morning and as I was about to step into the shower I glanced in the mirror. Imagine my surprise when the image that gazed back was... Malibu Barbie? Oh yes, it seemed that overnight my breasts had suddenly become D-cups. For a split second I thought how cool God, the universe, whoever, was for this incredible consolation prize. Sorry about the miscarriage, but here is a new set of boobs! Then I looked down and realized what was actually happening. The leaking milk was the not- so- subtle clue that this was no party favor; my body believed it had delivered a baby and responded the only way it knew how. In that moment I was both horrified and amazed. Horrified, not only did I not have a baby, but now I must be subjected to walking around with breasts engorged for the sole purpose of feeding a newborn. Amazed, that despite what occurred; my body knew exactly what to do. It checked off all the boxes; baby out, breasts full. The sadness that swept over me was all consuming; I broke down and wept in the shower for what seemed like days. I wept for the baby I didn't have and for the dreams that seemed to get sucked right down the drain. After my breakdown I made an emergency call to my doctor. I needed help; I needed my boobs to go back down to the small B's they once were. I couldn't face the daily reminder that I didn't have a baby to feed for one more minute. She empathized and said that at least my body reacted in a way that was healthy. I was instructed to place bags of frozen peas on the cantaloupe- sized boobs that were now suddenly bestowed upon me, in the hopes that after a few days’ time things would appropriately deflate. So, for the next week I steadied myself and walked around my apartment with frozen peas stuffed into a sports bra that was definitely not built for that kind of work out.
Once the misery subsided, I remember the anger that took over. Why hadn't
anyone informed me this would happen? After I left the hospital I was
instructed of the bleeding and other "side effects" that could be experienced after a miscarriage, but it would
have been nice if someone filled me in on the possibility that my breasts would
grow to the size of my head and leave milk residue on all my shirts.
After a pregnancy loss you must process grief, pain, sadness, physical discomfort,
but also the image of a post- baby body without the newborn. It all seems like
a cruel joke at times doesn't it?