I guess you could say it all started on Pumpkin’s second day of dance class.
The first day, I was wearing a long, shapeless sweater—we all have that one. The second day, I wore a new form-fitting sweater and my skinnies tucked into my boots.
As I joined my daughter in her parent-toddler Dance and Movement class, jumping, crawling, waving my arms–I took a peek at my reflection in the wall-to-wall mirror, and felt a hint of pride. Two kids later and I still got it, my brain crowed.
But pride goeth before the fall, as they say.
Now that I’ve had two kids in the last three years, I have accumulated some of the pregnancy must-haves that any expecting mom (first-time and otherwise) should have on hand. Some were useful, others were not, but I’ll share the standouts.
By now, we have heard all about the royal baby George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, firstborn son of Prince William and duchess Kate Middleton.
I had CNN on while working on my laptop; I turned my head just in time to see the reporter break the happy news. Expected, as reporters and cameramen had been camped outside the hospital since Kate’s due date. Unexpected was seeing the duchess sporting her post delivery bump while waving to the crowd. Most celeb moms would’ve worn their tightest girdle before being greeted by hundreds of cameras and being broadcast to millions around the world.
My first reaction was surprise, then a rush of empathy and respect. This is how a “real” new mom is supposed to look.
Before I became pregnant with Pumpkin, I used to wonder what pregnancy would be like. And I especially fretted over how my body would look after giving birth.
I was by no means a flat, toned size zero, but I found myself becoming overly concerned about stretch marks and the like. I would stare at magazine covers and wonder how these celebrity moms would have toned abs just weeks after giving birth, and assumed if they could do it, then it must be possible.
Once I had Pumpkin, I realized getting back into shape wouldn’t be so easy. First of all, ligaments have been stretched and joints are so sore I don’t know how these women managed to enter a gym, let alone work out in one.
But what really surprised me was the lack of stretch marks on these famously tight bellies. Granted, there is generous use of makeup and photoshop, but there was something deeper going on here: these women wanted to look like they did before—as if they had never been pregnant or given birth in the first place.
Before I got pregnant I would’ve wanted the same thing. But looking in the mirror now, I see these stretch marks as sort of a badge of honor. Of course, each day before I get in the shower, I see my loose flabby belly and I sigh, vowing once again to work out and get back in shape.
But honestly, I don’t really mind having a few stretch marks. It reminds me of the Tremendous Thing I have accomplished, the Thing that for years I was terrified of doing. I walked through fire and made it to the other side—twice! They are a constant reminder to me that my babies were once inside my body, were a part of me, and that the effort of giving them life in this world took every ounce of strength I possessed.
I gave birth to my beautiful babies, and I wouldn’t want to pretend that it never even happened.Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net