When my daughter was eight days old, her great-grandparents came to visit.
My brain was nothing but mush, and to be honest, I shouldn't have agreed to having visitors over so soon. My birth experience was traumatic to say the least -- I'd haemorrhaged half of my blood volume immediately postpartum -- and in hindsight, I should have been tucked up in bed, thinking of nothing and nobody but my precious baby girl.
But I was a first-time mom, living in a world that places meeting external expectations and keeping busy above healing, bonding and finding peace.
So when my grandmother asked me, "Are you doing your exercises?", my mind turned from mush to purée. Had I missed some vital postpartum exercise information in the midst of my near-death birth experience? I'm not talking pelvic floor here -- I was clued up on the importance of that, particularly after naturally delivering a 9-pound, 8-ounce baby. My mind was racing to the Worst Case Scenario, panicking that a magical exercise routine should be followed to ensure no further haemorrhaging to aid recovery from anaemia or at the very least to help me remain upright without nearly collapsing.
Whilst my legs could barely stand, my mind raced... was I missing out on a program of self-care that all other women, of all generations, instinctively knew about to ensure maternal safety postpartum?
A finger-jab to my tummy brought me back down to reality. My grandma sat staring at my stomach: "You know, exercises to get rid of that belly."
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