Up until now I’ve had a relatively unremarkable relationship with my body. Those of you readers who know me know that I have never been a particularly avid exerciser. Said more honestly, I have a pointed disdain for all things that require huffing and puffing, sweating, “moisture barriers”, sneakers, rash guards, equipment, the hair-raising word “gymnasium"… It’s all absolute torture to me. And frankly, somewhat dangerous for a person like me who so severely lacks coordination that making it down the stairs without landing face first is a daily accomplishment. And I could never, ever in any universe be described as an athlete. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to be more thin than fat without much effort for all of my life. I have never really paid all that much attention to the flesh and bones that got me from point A to point B. I have always enjoyed shopping for and putting clothes on it, making it darker laying in the sand at the beach and submerging it in bubble bath, but I’ve never really been one to work particularly hard to make it look a certain way or another. (I realize I was incredibly, incredibly lucky to be able to say that.)
I got out of the shower one day when I was about three weeks pregnant and happened to glance in the full-length mirror only to discover: BOOM. MOM THIGHS. Just like that. Out of thin air, cellulite and thighs that touched and made a swishing sound when I walked, appeared on my body. I was barely even pregnant, and there they were. I stood there, dripping wet, in absolute amazement and they stared right back at me, as if the right one was laughing to the left about what was still to come.
Over the months that followed, obviously great change ensued - some things I was ecstatic about (I went from a B to a D cup without expensive surgery!) and some things I was not-so-ecstatic about (stretch marks, the dark brown line dividing my belly down the front, feet that suddenly wouldn’t fit themselves into shoes).
In the sixth month, I started to really dislike my body because it started to hurt. A lot. The kidney stones were brutal. The surgery that fixed them hurt. The stent that went in after the surgery hurt. The removal of the stent hurt. I couldn’t sleep on my side anymore because my belly was too big. Then came the polyhydramnios that filled my belly so fast and with so much amniotic fluid that my body thought it had come to full term and started actually going into contractions at seven months. I couldn’t sit for more than fifteen minutes in the same spot without major discomfort. My legs were constantly tingling and restless and they looked like tree trunks. My feet were the size of sea turtles. I looked part-human part blow-up beach toy. It was horrendous. I couldn’t shave my legs or paint my toes, it was too hard to shower and even my maternity clothes were too small so I looked dirty, homeless and exhausted ALL THE TIME.
Then, Daisy was born. When I “came to” after an emergency C-section and the cloud of medication had lifted, the baby was outside of me and I’d lost four liters (yes, LITERS) of fluid, but my body was much the same. My legs were still tree trunks, my feet were still sea turtles, and my hair was still a mess. As I write this two months later, I am still much bigger than I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve gone from a size zero to a size ten. My hips don’t fit in a single pair of my old pants so I boxed them up and sent them off to a tiny coworker in South Carolina. I have stretch marks in all kinds of funny places and a big staple-y looking scar across my lower abdomen. But, I have never, ever, ever loved my body more. I am absolutely obsessed with my “mom bod”. This cellulite-sprinkled, stretch-marked old thing survived months of physical agony, without sleep, and birthed another human being.
When I look in the mirror now, and see those thighs touching together, sure I wince for a second but then I remember that the hips above them carried a tiny angel baby as she grew for months inside me. My heart pumped blood and my lungs oxygen for both of us. My stomach churned food and separated nutrients to help her grow and she is here now and my body is a champion. My boobs may get saggy and may be covered in purple lines but they are feeding my child, filling her with the disease-fighting substances that prevent her from illness and vitamins that help her develop. I love every single inch of these parts and could not be prouder to be in this absolutely miraculous vessel. When I look at Daisy, sitting next to me right now on her boppy (thanks Aunt Janet!), flailing her arms in the air and cooing, I can’t completely wrap my head around the fact that she once lived inside of me. I am truly still in awe.
So, in conclusion, if I never wear another pair of skinny jeans, good riddance. Never really liked you anyway.