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I was supposed to be happy. My daughter was healthy and beautiful. But there were downsides to birthing: exhaustion, pain, disquietude. The tiredness and soreness would pass but I wasn’t sure about the unsettledness. It was as if I had pulled on this pudgy postpartum flesh by mistake, a mom costume I tried on at the Halloween store and the zipper had stuck while some other woman walked off wearing my professional slacks.

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