I’m going to be away from my baby for thirty hours to celebrate with my very good friend at her bachelorette party.
I. Am. Excited.
(And yeah, a little sad to be away from my family, but that’s not what this post is about.)
The maid of honor has requested that we wear black so the bride to be can don white. I am all for this plan.
However, I don’t have much of a wardrobe. I’ve been broke for a long while and then there was the pregnancy. Most days I still wear maternity yoga pants and leggings and I finally broke down and bought one pair of jeans for the rare moments I leave the house and want to look somewhat normal.
I gained forty-five pounds during my pregnancy and even though I found out later that it was mostly due to water weight attributed to pre-eclampsia, I was completely freaked out every time I stepped on the scale at my check-ups. You know how doctors scales are.
Maternity clothes were tight, I could barely stuff my feet into shoes a size larger than I normally wear and my stretch marks looked like alien cave drawings etched into most of my midsection.
Before I went into the hospital, I was not super cool with being naked. Even in sexy situations, it’s taken me awhile to come around on lounging in the buff. I’ve had months where I weighed less and felt better about myself, so it was easier then.
But once I was bed ridden, in a hospital gown with nothing but my underwear on underneath, things started to change.
I started to not give a fuck.
Then came the anethesiologist, a man in his fifties or sixties, who upon entering my room to give me an epidural, started to run down all of the risks and asking me if I understood what he was saying as I writhed in pain with every contraction. “YES” I would yell without hearing his words.
The most important part of his little speech was that during the procedure, I would have to stay absolutely still otherwise he could mess up the needle and accidentally stick me in the spine.
So there I was, essentially naked, being held up by my partner, as this guy went about his business.
It’s basically over once the fifth random person has stuck their hand up your vagina to feel your cervix.
Finally, once the baby was born, I attempted to breastfeed. Someone was always coming in while he was on my boob and I made no overture to cover myself up. In fact, lying half naked with your near naked baby is a bonding experience like no other.
You leave the hospital still big enough to fit into the clothes you wore on your way in. I was bloated and suffering from major edema from the waist down. It took a couple of weeks for my former self to slowly start emerging underneath all of the chaos.
It helped to see the number on the scale drop dramatically, even though I was well over any weight I’d ever seen in my entire life.
It helped more to see my feet looking like they could fit in my shoes, for the maternity jeans to feel loose, for my partner to say I was looking great.
And I was fine going to buy jeans that were four sizes bigger than normal. It felt good even.
Yeah, so my boobs are huge and my stomach is pooch-y. So my arms are flabby and my thighs and calves have lost muscle.
Maybe they’ll bounce back. Maybe.
But if they don’t, I have a new attitude about my body. It has less to do with skinny or fat and more about just existing in this skin. A human grew inside of me and it turns out this flesh and bones is more than something I need to worry people may criticize.
Yes, I want to be healthy. No, I’m not a fan of my double chin. Yes, getting in a bathing suit or seeing an unflattering photo of me may make me cringe. No, I’m not always cool with the image in the mirror. Yes, I’m considering running again (as soon as I can be reassured that a sports bra will keep my boobs from falling off.)
But I’ve seen what else this body can do and I’m less concerned with how it’s “supposed to” look.
If for some reason I start feeling bad about my body or the number on the scale, I’ll kindly remind myself that I had a baby less than three months ago. And I’ll keep on using that excuse until my kid turns one.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to finding an outfit for this bachelorette party. I don’t care what size I’m in. I have a reason to dress up, put make up on, and have an adult beverage in public.
Besides, this night isn’t about me anyway.