Producing a human is an enormous task. It seems only natural that the process of creating an 8 pound baby from microscopic ingredients would leave a mark, so to speak. Celebrities brag about losing the ‘baby weight’ in three months or less, magically reverting to the sample size they were the day they conceived, with nary a thimble of cellulite to show for it. Real women don’t have the luxury of personal chefs, trainers, nannies, assistants, all of whom make it possible for a celeb to devote their entire focus to getting back in shape.
The ‘shape’ I was pre-baby was no sample size. Instead of pear shape or hourglass, I was more a french batard; thick all over, but still identifiable as a human woman. Now, though, I’m more of a rustic boule. Round, with a layer of crust on the outside (snot from my children) and doughy on the inside. That I cleave to bread analogies rather than fruit is no coincidence. I have not, nor will I ever be, an asparagus spear, but pregnancy definitely changed me.
So, Real Women, let’s take a moment to be proud of the miracle our bodies have created, some of us multiple times. Let’s be thankful for the changes that have shaped, marked, and transformed us into Earth Mother goddesses, and appreciate every new and distinct difference that came along with our special snowflakes.
First, the stretch marks. Tiger stripes, amiright? Thank you, stretch marks, for being a permanent reminder that my midsection, though still bulbous, was once three times this size and housed an entire human life. And, for convincing me there is no point in dieting, since I can’t wear a two-piece ever again anyway.
Thank you, expanded waistline. I was never sure what dress style was most flattering on me. A-line? Empire? Shift? Now that I don’t have a waist, my shopping choices are narrowed conveniently to muumuus, and it is much easier to shop online.
Thank you, giant flipper-feet, for solving the inevitable conundrum “which shoes look best with this outfit?” because now the only option is flip flops. Nothing can contain you any longer, and replacing an entire shoe collection amassed over many years of careful curation is absolutely out of the question. Thanks to you, clown feet, I’ve realized that flip flops really do go with everything, and black flip flops are formal wear.
Thank you, stretched-out pelvic floor, for encouraging me to take time for myself to go to the bathroom, since I can no longer wait more than 45 seconds before peeing. Though you now resemble a hammock rather than a trampoline, I appreciate you looking out for my ‘me time’, because I was probably waiting too long to pee anyway.
Thank you, spider veins, for reminding me of the lifeblood that flowed through me and into my child as he grew in my belly. I supplied him with the blood he needed to survive, and in return my veins broke apart and died, rising to the surface of my skin to bring to mind the twisted paths my life has taken.
Thank you, enormous breasts, for weighing me down and keeping me grounded. You work for a living, and my son thanks you by occasionally biting your nipples, just to make sure they still have feeling after two years of feeding and pumping. You refuse to be confined by nursing bras, nursing tops, sports bras, ponchos, and clearly take your cues from the immortal words of P Diddy: “can’t nobody hold me down, oh no, I got to keep on movin”.
Thank you, defective gall bladder, for reminding me there are worse things than severe morning sickness. You kept me on my toes in a constant state of panic from week 16 until I had you sliced out two months after I gave birth. Routine surgery is far from routine when you’re pregnant, and I was starting to relax and enjoy myself once the steroids to help my hyperemesis gravidarum kicked in, so I’m glad you were there to produce tiny stones and blinding pain. How can I savor every moment if I don’t have some perspective, right?
Thank you, ham hands, for spreading and swelling permanently, so that even when I reached my pre-pregnancy weight my wedding rings didn’t fit. You gave me the opportunity to have my rings re-sized and reminisce about my wedding day, long before I had children.
And lastly, thank you skin blotches, for reminding me that although the plumpness of pregnancy gives me a youthful round face, I am still aging rapidly and need to spend my children’s college tuition on magical face creams to keep me from looking like the Cryptkeeper. The trip to the department store wizard also gave me the knowledge that after 30, they aren’t freckles, they are sun damage spots, and pregnancy only makes them worse.
So let’s all celebrate the miracle of pregnancy by undressing, looking at ourselves in the mirror, crumbling cookies into a gallon of ice cream, and curling up on the couch to watch bad TV while the kids are blessedly sleeping.