I'm lying in an emergency room bed, wires and sticky pads clinging to my chest. My pulse zigs and zags across a screen. Fluorescent lighting illuminates my blue-and-white-striped hospital gown; my hands are folded neatly across my belly. My husband Dan is sitting with our sweet four-month-old baby girl in his lap. Claire is still wearing the white fleece pajamas with pink roses that I zipped her up in last night. They’re my favorites.
It's the postpartum PSA of my goddamn dreams—one I wish they would play in place of the over simplified, condescending crap most women hear before exiting the hospital with a new baby.
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: I Was Starving Myself — Until I Found Out I Was Pregnant
When I found out I was pregnant, something shifted in a way I had never expected: I fell in love with my body for the very first time. At 30 years old, I found myself proud of my body's strength and its ability to grow another human being. I caught my reflection in windows and grinned. I marveled at each stage of pregnancy, my rounding belly, my sturdier legs.
But I’m sitting in a rocking chair clinging to my newborn baby girl. I rock back and forth, and the room seems to be closing in on me, like the already dim lights are growing dimmer. Like I am featherweight, but also heavy, and I will either be sucked into this black hole that seems to be growing larger by the minute or else I will be flattened to the ground by the unbearable weight of dread that is sitting atop my chest.