‘The Preposterous Postpartum Baby Bump Presumption’

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Anyone who knows me well knows I’m infatuated with all things
British. The accents, the slang and a borderline obsession with
the royal family, most notably the Duchess of Cambridge herself,
Kate Middleton. When I found out I was a month behind her in
pregnancy, I wanted to do backflips (but didn’t, because I don’t
know how). I watched her maternity fashions and marveled along
with the world when she introduced Prince George for the first
time in the now-famous blue Jenny Packham dress which didn’t
hide but accentuated her postpartum bump. At eight months
along, I could hardly wait to have my own post-baby belly.

A week after my son’s birth, the after-bump flapped and jiggled
against my raw steri-stripped incision. A dress, let alone a Jenny
Packham dress, was the last thing I wanted to wear. That same
week I read about Kate’s grocery store trip one month postpartum,
dressed in a black and white horizontal striped shirt (who can get
away with horizontal stripes, anyway?) her now completely flat
stomach tucked into black skinny jeans. Credit for her “stunningly
slim post-baby body” went to breastfeeding and yoga. I attributed
it to princess pixie dust or something.

Anyway, when it came my turn to be one-month postpartum,
without access to the princess pixie dust and still recovering from
my emergency C-section, I couldn’t stand a waistband touching
my waistline. My stomach, far from flat, looked more like a puffy
pasty pastry. Muffin top anyone?

At two months postpartum, I tried my pre-pregger jeans on and
they wouldn’t slide past my hips. I took them off and didn’t cry,
which meant perhaps my hormones were finally stabilizing. No
more standing in the middle of the bra section at Kohl’s bawling
because in the massive sea of lace there wasn’t a single maternity
bra. But that’s another story.

Then on November 13th (exactly four months since my dad passed),
I came to the (lazy?) place of all my maternity pants being located
downstairs in the laundry. I looked at my jeans again and didn’t
want to bother. Then I saw the brown corduroy Apt. 9 pants, an
old friend on a hanger. I decided to try.

The pants are tight, but the button closes and they fit. Even better,
the waist doesn’t feel too terrible on my scar. What sheer joy to
wear my former pants for the first time in nine months!

I’ve read it takes about a year for your body to return to “normal,”
and I write normal in quotes because our bodies are never the same
post childbirth. You understand that fact, but society tells us the
exact opposite. We feel the pressure whether we’re princesses or
peasants. We tell ourselves we shouldn’t stress over the number on
the scale because our health is more important, but darn it, we just
miss our old jeans. Tight waistbands that don’t choke off our air
supply and buttons that don’t pop when we sit for more than ten
seconds are occasions to celebrate. Perhaps with some cake.

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