I’m 5’ 2”, the scales tipped in at 145….all in my stomach, butt and thighs. The stomach part was okay, after all I was carrying a child, even if he did only weigh 7 pounds 7 ounces. The good part was my face, neck and arms all looked the same. So when I was driving, I would still get compliments. And that’s something that every pregnant woman needs, especially since she feels she’s the size of a beached whale.
I remember during my 9th month I was stuck in a traffic jam. This gorgeous guy in the car next to me starts flirting. He can only see me up to my shoulders. We keep inching up in our cars. He looks at me, I look at him. Then I do that pretend thing, where you act distracted. He rolls down his window, “Hi beautiful.”
I’m laughing inside, which means this kid’s having minor tremors, thinking if this guy only knew he was flirting with a pregnant woman.
I decide to play. “Hi.” I smile.
Then he says, “Some traffic jam, let’s say you and I get off the next exit and have some coffee.”
“Sorry.” I flash my wedding ring.
“I want to have a drink with you, nothing else. “
I was tempted to get out of the car and yell, “Okay, take me baby.” And then watch him run for the hills. Instead I smiled, thanked him for the compliment and patted my stomach. A quizzical look and then his jaw dropped. I never saw a window roll up quicker. So much for just wanting coffee.
Throughout my pregnancy I was often thrown off by my own image in the mirror. “Wow, who’s that fat mama?” But since my face looked thin, I kept thinking I was thinner than I was. Obviously it was an optical illusion.
I was doing the Jane Fonda workout every morning, which had to count for something. I imagined my kid skipping rope with the umbilical cord. He’d come out looking like Rocky.
But exercise or not, when you’re pregnant you gain weight. Reality hits when you can’t bend over to put your shoes on. You try to reach them at a right angle and tell yourself this is only a temporary condition. It’s motherhood that’s the lifetime event.
Even so, nine months is a long time to be cooking something. I get anxious at the microwave. So when I finally had Spencer I was relieved.
Shortly after, I got on the scale. I weighed 140. Mistaking birth for an instant diet, I wondered how the hell did that happen? Let’s do the math. At the worst case scenario I should weigh, 137. I weighed 145 pregnant, the kid was almost 8 pounds. Didn’t I also get rid of the sack, the afterbirth and all that other fun stuff? I’m not Einstein, but unless Spencer left behind a rattle or a good book. I should be weighing less.
My mom assured me it takes time, “your body has been through a major ordeal. It was slowly stretched every day”. Put that way, it sounds like ancient Chinese rack torture.
After a few weeks I got used to my body. I was walking everyday and thinking I was looking pretty good. I went over to my friend’s house to show her my baby. Infants are like small knickknacks at this point. “Oh look how cute.”
I’m over there all proud and beaming. I go to walk to the baby and my friend’s mother says; “Now you look real Italian, look at the size of your butt.” That statement echoed in my ears. How big was it, that she had to comment? I laughed but was mortified. Who wants to have a cow butt?
I increased my morning work out, watched what I ate and got back down to my svelte 124 pounds. I saved my maternity blouse, to see the difference in size.
Every now and then when I make the claim, “I didn’t gain that much during my pregnancy”, I look at the blouse and think, and “Yes you did!”