A few weeks ago a friend asked me if I felt physically and emotionally recovered from birth and, without thinking about it, I said no, which was odd because until that point I'd been feeling that I was ready to start trying for another baby. What did I feel like then, she asked.
Actually I recently started to feel emotionally near to normal again which, no coincidence I'm sure, was almost exactly when sleep improved so that I started to get at least a six hour chunk more nights than not.
Physically however I feel wrecked. This isn't directly from the birth. That was, well, birth, gruesome and yukky but the right bits stretched in the right way and the bits that didn't do as they should (that pesky placenta!) were dealt with by doctors. But my body was so run down, pummelled by pregnancy and never given the chance to get a full night of restorative sleep, that it has had a litany of minor complaints since. Coughs and colds and fungal things, wheezes and infections and tender tendons, stiffnesses and cramps and aches and things just not being right. Bits creak. I am weary.
When I was little I remember my parents stretching their joints in the morning, groaning the way grown ups groan, preparing their bodies for the day, and my young elasticy limbs not needing teasing into life like theirs. And I realise the answer to her question, what do I feel like, is that I feel like a parent, like my parents, like every parent. I suspect there is no recovery, just condition management.