The only image in my head this past week, as I’ve literally felt my belly stretching, was one of those gro-sponge animals you find in your Christmas stocking. I could feel the changes taxing my waistbands and pushing my skin to new limits. The hips widened, the waist broadened, the and the expansion went just as north-south as it did, east-west, if you get my drift. Let’s just say mama got back.
It sucks. Big time.
The clothes I packed two weeks ago are not fitting the same way. Slimming oxfords now look boxy and short, and long tees protrude in the back like a bustle on an 18th century ballgown. If my breasts enter the room 5 minutes before the rest of me, then my ass leaves 20 minutes after I’m gone.
But oh, how the memory of it lingers.
I want to be one of those confident, cool in my own body women. One of those women who can grab handfuls of my own fat and stroke my cellulite while purring, Pretty! Womanly! The type who thinks all pregnant women glow with radiant beauty, and that stretch marks are just kisses from God’s favorite puppies. But instead I’m the woman that can’t stop doing ass checks of every woman I pass on the street. In fact, if I have spent any time with you in the last few months, then yes, I have thoroughly examined your ass and deemed it superior to my own. Yes, that goes for you and you and you too, Missy.
It kills me to have spent last weekend in the Babystyle dressing room, nearly tearing the too-tight XLs to get them off of me, all while listening to a perky young thing in the next room oohing and aahing over how absolutely adooooorable every piece is and she just can’t choose between them.
Meanwhile – white! She was buying white maternity clothes!
I can’t look at my huge body and say it’s beautiful. I don’t think it is and I’m sorry for whatever first-wave feminist sensibility that may offend, or whichever whiny Gen X parent blogger I might sound like. Perhaps what my body is doing is beautiful with all this baby-making business, but that’s an important distinction.
Lord knows I want to grab me a big honkin’ swig of that Dove Kool-Aid, so I can see real beauty in real shapes, above all my own. But here’s the funny thing: I don’t think I should have to.
Instead what I wish is that we–I–could stop caring so much about physical beauty altogether, and start valuing whatever it is that comes after beauty in life. Maturity? Wisdom? Lower car insurance rates? Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that perky boobs and an enviable rear silhouette are best left to the 20-somethings. Those of us in our 30s and beyond, we’ve got far superior things to offer the world. We’re in possession of traits that matter more than peachy skin and taut, toned arms that don’t ripple in a gentle breeze. I am older and not quite hot but still fairly cool woman with a decent sense of self and profound love of my child. Hear me roar.
But it’s hard when you’re seated in a leather chair at work, terrified to stand up, for fear that someone will snap a photo of the indent from your ass cheeks and email it around the office.