Flashback to me, pregnant with Hank, walking along the street with Bryan — host-gift wine bottle in hand. I notice an angry man up the street, weaving and yelling in our path. In the time it takes to blink, my brain flashes to me smashing the bottom of the wine bottle on a nearby lamppost, and assuming a fight stance while bellowing profanities.
Whoa. That’s new.
I think the ready-to-gut-offenders adrenaline will fade once I give birth, but not so. This afternoon at the cafe, someone hovers suspiciously over my bag. Cut to mental image of him grabbing my bag, and me leaping over the table to tackle him and claw at his eyes.
What the hell.
When did I become some Clockwork Orange version of Ally McBeal? If I ever decide to take up caffeine again, you might need to alert someone — lest I fly at Bryan in a blind rage when he tries to take a bite off my plate without asking first.
Well ladies, this is how long it took me to take off all the baby weight. Sixteen months. I did not wear my jeans out of the hospital, I did not lose the “fat face” the minute I gave birth, I was not able to eat whatever I wanted just because I was breast feeding, and I could not climb back on a tread mill right after Hank was born. I needed quite a while to heal.
Are you listening? Sixteen months. For me, that’s how long it took. Sixteen months and quite a bit of help from Weight Watchers online. It’s not true for everybody, but it is true for lots of folks. So put down the issue of People magazine, and turn away from all the moms on E! who got their bodies back a month later. If you’re feeling bummed about your gut, get yourself some flattering dresses, and give yourself a little time.
Good job making that baby, girl.
Say. You there. Do you hear that? The sound of revelry in the distance? True, it is faint, but ever growing. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people carousing in the streets. They are banging on trashcans, blowing their car horns, startling women with exuberant and unexpected kisses on the mouth. It’s because they know about today. Today is the day when…
I zipped up my pre-pregnancy jeans.
Though I have been exercising, though I have been eating as though I am a candidate for sainthood, I tried these jeans knowing I would not be able to pull them past my kneecaps. But up they crept. Surely, I thought, these jeans cannot cover my bum. But there they are! Clearly I will never be able to button and zip them again in this lifetime. And then? Snap! Zooop!
I. Am. Wearingmyprepregnancyjeans!
Of course, it’s not possible for me to breathe in them, but that didn’t stop me from tearing into the living room to do an elaborate burlesque for Bryan.
“How do you like that, baby? Uh! You remember these jeans? Oh yeah you do. These jeans have missed you, baby. Can you hear this zipper screaming for mercy? That’s niiiiiiiice. You like this muffin top? It’s all yours. Uh! Awwwwwwww yeaaaaaaah.”
And though I am currently standing as I type this because it is impossible to sit down without inviting a medical emergency, I think we can safely say that I look hot.
While reviewing pregnancy journal entries from last year, I find thisâ€¦
Note from the first trimester: I can taste my teeth.
Ever since you can remember, whenever pregnancy comes up, someone offers a worst-case scenario. Women terrify you with tales of endless nausea, constant irritation, ballooning, swelling, facial skin discoloration. They proffer a string of “just you waits.” You begin to seriously consider adoption.
When you get pregnant, the stories only intensify. Disfiguring stretch marks, preeclampsia, debilitating mood swings.
You wait, and wait, and wait. None of the things you’ve always dreaded actually come to pass. The things that kept you awake at night, things that cost you hours and hours of worry, none of it happens. In fact, to you, pregnancy feels pretty natural.
You find these women, the women who needlessly terrified you, and beat them senseless with your handbag.
“I’m so sorry,” you say afterward. “I’m suffering from debilitating mood swings.”