And for once I was SuperMom

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Way Past Post Partum

On Monday I saw that someone had posted a video of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor leaving the hospital with the royal baby.  I try to avoid celebrity gossip, I get sucked in by glossy photos of the beautiful people and then I always feel a little dirty afterwards.  I don’t know these people, why should I know these details of their lives?  Is my life so boring that I live through theirs?  Usually I feel badly afterwards like I’ve seen something I shouldn’t have, and I always feel a little poorer and a little frumpier.  But I have become a sucker for babies, so I clicked.   Here’s my inner monologue during the one minute viewing,
Wait…what, she let them video her while leaving the hospital?  Girl is crazy…well I guess it’s expected of her.  Wow, how insightful of her to have picked a maternity dress, someone must have told her.  She is wearing makeup and has her hair done?  Maybe the nurses held the baby?  Well, she is a princess, I’m sure she has lots of help…Awwww, his daddy is holding him.  So cute…all right, I’m over it, time to go change the laundry.
Sure, there was some satisfaction tinged around the fact that she still looks six months pregnant.  But, really, that’s actually great.  Makes the rest of feel, well, normal.  We see our friends with their leftover bellies, but does that happen to everyone?  Aren’t their people who leave in their pre-pregnancy clothes?  Wouldn’t the rich and famous be those that did? 
Nope, there she was, with her leftover belly.  I loved it.  I felt sorry for her and was a bit proud of this person that I do not know.
Then I heard that people were making rude comments about her.  That her workout regime was posted in a magazine.  That people were tweeting that she looked gross. 
Wait…what, that’s unreasonable!  The woman just had a baby!  It takes your uterus six weeks to go back down!  These people must not have children.  They should be spanked.  Or have their right to tweet revoked.  Most women leave the hospital in sweats and very large underwear.  She looks great.  What idiots.
I was talking to friend about it, a friend I can admit my guilty pleasures to and my silly inner monologues.  She had this to say,
“Maybe we shouldn’t be seeing her?” Simple and so wise.  We’ll keep her around. 
Every time I see a shot of a woman who is pregnant and in the spotlight I feel bad for her.  Pregnancy is the great equalizer of women, something nasty happens to all of us.  I would hate to be scrutinized through that nine months.  I don’t blame women like Angelina Jolie, who gave birth in Africa, I’m sure she did it to make a statement about Africa and I’m sure she didn’t mind being away from all the cameras.

On Wednesday I drove a half an hour to buy blue and white porcelain lamps from a Craigslist ad.  I had this conversation with the woman that I purchasing the lamps from,
“We just bought a house in Gloucester, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on Craigslist,” me, feeling like I need to explain my silly Craiglist habit.
“Craigslist is great,” she smiles, “So you’re expecting another one,” she motions one hand toward my belly.
“Nope, no I’m not, I think we’re done,” I say, a tight smile stretching my lips out.  I gaze away from her giving her the space to beck pedal, or, even, apologize.
“Oh, you have kids, how old are they?” she asks, so even though you’ve just insulted me we’re still having a friendly conversation.  Okay.
“They’re three and one,” I reply, still stretching that smile.
“Oh one?  So that’s why you still have the baby belly,” she says.  I think she thought she was excusing herself, and not digging the verbal grave she had started shoveling out deeper. 
Yes, I still bought the lamps.  I liked them, they were a steal.  I was still polite.  When I relayed the story to my friend who had come with me (same friend as above) she said,
“I’ve seen you at Gull [Pond, in a bathing suit] I would punch someone to look like you.”  She’s a good friend, we’ll keep her around.
When I relayed the story to my husband he asked,
“Did you punch her?”  No I didn’t.  Another friend said that maybe I just had ‘food baby.’  She’s probably right.
What this woman didn’t know is that my abdominal wall is not the same after carrying and birthing a nine pound child.  It did not go back quite right, my abdominals are still bowed outwards, and there seems to be not much I can do about it other than accept it.  I actually had grown more accepting of it in the last few months.  I bought a one piece that makes feel sexy, I feel comfortable in it and I’m not afraid that my jumblies are going to fall out.  I look around and say, ‘for a thirty one year old woman who has had two kids, you still look pretty good.’  I focus on my fitness, how far I can run, how I am improving in yoga, and I feel strong and healthy.  My husband is still interested…all good, right?
That night it didn’t bother me.  One flippant comment from some insensitive woman.  Oh well.  Move on.
The next day I woke up with an emotional hang over.  I was foggy, tired, and incredibly sore from the track workout that I had done the day before.  All the work I had done in the past few months felt gone, swept away by some stranger.  All day I thought about throwing myself on the floor and doing crunches like a mad woman.  Finally I fought it.  Damn it all.  Aren’t I more than just my appearance?  Is that all that matters?  Certainly not, right?
Then I thought about Kate Middleton, in her world she has to make sure that she looks flawless at all times, or she gets raked over the coals in every periodical in England and the US.  Even right after giving birth.  When it should be your God given right to sit around unwashed in a robe for as long as you please.  To fall asleep on the couch undisturbed with a child nestled in your shoulder.  To discover the deeply frightening emotions that accompany bringing a child into the world without having to or being able to articulate them.
I also feel that my abdominal is no one else’s business.  And neither should Kate’s be.

1 comment:

Stepping into Motherhood said...

Great post. Motherhood should not be about body image. There is so much more to a woman than her body weight and image.