My current body type is shapes. Not pear, not hourglass, but shapes. Like a blobby amoeba my body takes the shape of whatever container I choose to ooze it into. If Fergie were to write a song about me, it would be titled “My Lumps.” My current wardrobe solely consists of items that contain the words: tunic, loose, yoga, stretch, boyfriend, mid-rise, high-rise, and relaxed.
Blame two kids. Blame torturous sleep deprivation that leaves me with zero energy to work out. Blame the lack of willpower that makes my husband do a double-take when he peers into the trash and sees a crumpled M&M’s Family Sized wrapper and tentatively asks “Was this the bag you bought two days ago?” But regardless of where the blame lays, I’m carrying around some extra (saddle) baggage and with my daughter turning 9-months tomorrow I definitely didn’t expect to be.
I probably wouldn’t give much weight (see what I did there?) to this topic were we not living in a world that places such emphasis on physiques that look like they never went through the trauma of pregnancy and childbirth. I can guarantee that our mothers weren’t under the same scrutiny we are to slip back into non-maternity jeans a week after having a baby – even if your mesh underwear line is showing.
I don’t want to point fingers…but if I had to speculate I would say the shift is due partly to the way celebrity pregnancies are covered by the media. The celebrity pregnancy is held to this rapid-fire bounce-back standard like no other. While I feel badly for these women that are constantly hounded by paparazzi and can’t eat an entire sleeve of Girl Scout cookies like I can ; I’m also jealous of the fact that none of their pregnancy clothes are in fact, pregnancy clothes. The “Celebs, they’re just like us!” does not apply to childbearing when they’re swapping size zeroes for twos instead of wiping out the Liz Lange for Maternity section at Target.
Then once they have the baby….ugggghhhhhhh. Again, maybe I should feel awful that they need to be red-carpet-ready coming out of the hospital rather than tending to their lady bits with an ice-pack the size of a twin mattress. But they end up being part of the problem when they go on to say annoying things like “Breastfeeding is the best diet I’ve ever been on! All of my pre-pregnancy clothes are too big and I can’t eat enough calories! My husband laughs because I’m always sending him out for double cheeseburgers!”
My judgment mostly stems from annoyance that now us mere mortals have to try and compete with this. But if I’m being honest, a lot of it comes from jealousy, too. Can you really blame me though? As if I didn’t hate Blake Lively enough for stealing Ryan Reynolds away from me, she also has the audacity to look like this while pregnant with baby #2:
Not only does she have boobs for days, but instead of looking pregnant she looks like she ate half a Chipotle Burrito for lunch and is bloating a bit. Don’t get me started on her pregnancy red carpet looks. Honestly, I would be lucky to shove one of my dimply, thigh-like calves into her 9-month wardrobe.
And Kate Middleton. Sigh. Before you had kids, you were like my British spirit animal. The effortless way you pulled off a fascinator and the fact that you *occasionally* wore the same designer dress twice (I do that all the time – but Old Navy is really timeless, you know?) – I could relate to you.
But then you had to go and have two beyond adorable children and look this amazing after having them:
Kate, where is your muffin top? How are you able to get into a half-squat without having to hoist your pants up with so much force that you rip your belt loops and punch yourself in the face? I don’t see your butt crack showing here because it appears your jeans fit perfectly. Do you even have a butt crack?
Lastly, Chrissy Teigen. Beautiful. Hilarious. Relatable. Or so I thought. She posted a picture of herself wearing a crop top and cutoff denim shorts looking effortlessly gorgeous 3 WEEKS AFTER SHE HAD HER BABY. You = deadtome
Like for real, I can’t. I also can’t say no when AJR insists I have a popsicle with him or resist popping Dunkin Donuts Munchkins like they’re Tic Tacs.
There is a picture of my husband and I on our honeymoon in our bathing suits where I was the fittest/skinniest I had been since before puberty. A Jillian Michaels DVD had kicked my ass for 10 months, I actually watched what I ate (which admittedly wasn’t very much), and got “lucky” to contract food poisoning a few months before the wedding to shed those extra few pounds. I’d be lying if I said I don’t look at that photo and sigh wistfully at the thighs that didn’t rub together. Five years later, I’m convinced that if I walked quickly enough and wore a highly flammable fabric I could generate enough friction to start a small crotch fire.
I know there’s this whole movement about embracing your “mom-bod” and being in awe of the fact that you grew a human, got that human out, and (if you decided to do so) fed a human from your own body. You’re supposed to be totally cool with the fact that your hips have spread to the width of the Panama Canal, that your boobs (oh so glorious during pregnancy) look like sad, deflated birthday balloons, the weight everyone said was “all baby” seems to have shifted to your ass and thighs, and if you flapped vigorously enough your jiggly upper arm fat could make you take flight.
While it’s wonderful that there is a positive counter to the “never ever look like you had a baby” school of thought, I can’t do it. I envy the women that see the beauty in their changed bodies but I just want my pre-baby body back. There are days when I look in the mirror and go “okay, Lynn, we’re not doing so bad.” Then a full-length photo is taken and I’m aghast that I look like I’ve eaten myself so I do some strategic cropping and toss a Valencia filter on that train wreck so the cellulite softens to an artsy, pixelated look.
I keep thinking that someday the weight will magically disappear because after 14 hours of child wrangling all I want to do is sit with a glass of wine and watch Bravo. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that this famed “wine diet” I hear so much about will melt the extra pounds off the way butter melts in the microwave before I slather it on bread to make grilled cheese for the kids (of which I will taste test a bite or two).
Then there are the days where I tell myself that the extra weight doesn’t matter, which is more often than not. I’m the center of my kids’ world. They delight in my silliness, snuggle in my widened lap, and melt under my hugs and kisses. I run around with them not caring about Jello Jiggler legs encased in shorts of a non-motherly length that I should probably abandon at this point. Most importantly, they are healthy and thriving.
While I do my best to try and keep that in mind, I still think I’ll use this post as leverage to talk my husband into joining the fancy gym down the street. Because, hey, exercise = weight loss, but mostly gym membership = BABYSITTING INCLUDED!
As time goes on hopefully I’ll get a little closer to my pre-preggers weight and closer to accepting that it’s okay that my body, much like my life, will never be the same again. My jeans are much fuller, but then again, so is my heart and I’m not sure I would want to trade that for a couple of drops in pant size. But ask me again tomorrow, because if my kids don’t sleep I may change my mind.