like a bowlful of jelly

by humanmama on November 29, 2006

Okay, I’m getting a little sick of being so fat. And to all of you moms and other helpful people out there I know it’s going to go away slowly and I know it’s not that bad and I know I’m close to my weight before I had her but IT’S NOT ENOUGH, I STILL FEEL FAT.

Many would suggest that this is a lack of self esteem. They’re probably right. But it just amazes me, this body-awareness that I now have. It’s just that the skin on my tummy is not what it used to be. Before I always was, at the absolute skinniest, a large 6 or a solid size 8. You know what I mean, girls–there are always places to go if you’re feeling bigger, places where you’re suddenly a whole size less than you know you are. I mean, at the Gap I was an 8, at Ann Taylor Loft I was a 6, and at Express I was a 10. At Wet Seal I was a 37. Anyway, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was shopping at Ann Taylor Loft a LOT. And then I got pregnant. And I got bigger and I thought, it’s okay, I’m PREGNANT, I’m allowed to be bigger. And people said “you look so beautiful!” (Okay, those were the people who were NOT saying “You’re really HUGE! Ha Ha!” …see previous post). But this creeping feeling that I wasn’t beautiful was setting in. I know that the part of me that says “you’re fat” when I’m 6 months pregnant is not logical. I totally know that. But I’m sure you know that you don’t always feel “glowy” when you’re 20 lbs. more than you usually are, you sometimes feel kind-of …big.

So after I was 20 lbs. more, and then 30, and then (Okay, I had polyhydramnios, okay?!) 45 and then 50 lbs. more, I felt HUGE. Like a beluga whale, but without the Raffi song. ( And I got (horrors) stretch marks. Which at the time just seemed like a failure. (I’m just keeping it real–there are lots of people out there who get them. I just was sad about being one.) And then–shock of all–the moment that Helena was born (or “extracted,” as I like to say) via c-section, I was right back to a size 8. Okay, haha, as you mothers now, you are actually still 6 months pregnant for many weeks after giving birth. I literally thought at the time that perhaps they had forgotten to take out Helena’s twin or something; I kept saying “but it’s hard…it’s not flabby…I think something’s still in there…” Don’t worry, though, I got my wish: it’s flabby now!

So today I decided (for the 16th time since the baby was born) that I would take a walk. And I called my new mom friends and they too wanted to go with me, to get out of the house, to get moving a little. And we went out to the mall. And we walked for 45 minutes and it flew by while we were talking and laughing about our mom experiences. And something else happened.

I was reminded of the verse in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas where Clement Clarke Moore writes (about Santa):

…He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself…

Okay, I don’t mean that I am embracing feeling chubby and plump. What happened was that I realized it might not have been the excercise that I needed as much as the company. The point that Moore was making was that yes, Santa was pudgy, but he was laughing and happy. Hell, he was a right jolly old elf. And I guess that made me feel even better than the 45 minute walk–the communion with my fellow moms. The feeling that I was not alone. The feelings that come with the fact that my baby is older than hers–girl! I’ve been there!–and younger than hers–it’s going to get even better? great! And yes, even the tiniest sickest feeling that okay, my tummy is bad, but we’ve got some pretty awesome babies to show for it.

And when I finally got home, got the baby to sleep for her nap, and was able to take a shower, I looked at my belly and I did: I laughed, when I saw it, in spite of myself.

But you can bet I’ll be at the mall tomorrow.

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