When I was pregnant, I took some time to read a few books to try and cope with what I was going through and to prepare myself for what lie ahead. There was NOTHING, however, that prepared me for the way I would feel for the weeks following my daughter’s birth. I think it is safe to say that the process of having a baby does not end after nine (actually 10 if you consider that pregnancy is a 40 week process) months.
Pregnancy has its positives. When you are pregnant, the whole world is sweeter to you. People offer to open doors, carry things, and perfect strangers offer you words of encouragement. One of the best positives was the way that people would occasionally cock their heads to the side, look dreamily at you, and give you a slight smile. I personally took this as a “thank you” for furthering the human race. Even that guy at the coffee shop (yes, I still drank a little coffee while I was pregnant and my baby turned out just perfect in spite of it) with his dread locks and sandals in the dead of winter was able to appreciate the natural wonder of pregnancy. He actually spoke to me for the first time when I began to show.
So, you endure the pregnancy with all its positives and negatives, and then you have the baby. It’s time to finally shed that frumpy figure and saddle right back into your old clothes…right?? I mean surely you, like me, had spent plenty of time convincing yourself, that you really hadn’t gained THAT much weight besides the weight of the baby. That extra 30 (or 40 or 50) is just fluid…right?? WRONG. Oh, how wrong we are.
Suddenly you have no excuse for your plump shape. Those sweet, nurturing smiles from society have faded right back into the everyday mundane. Not only are you not special anymore, you are chunky too! It’s true, your chest has grown, which you thought you always wanted. However, suddenly you notice that, with no waist to pinch below it, your chest only adds to your otherwise frumpy figure. Not to mention that you are now prone to leaking! There are medical issues, which I need not venture to describe in detail here, that make you feel like you should be locked away in a dark closet until everything has a chance to sort itself out. Your hips are still stretched out and your ligaments are still loose, so you continue to have a touch of that pregnancy waddle. If you take these and other physical maladies and pour a big heap of crazy hormones and the life changing event on top…well let’s just say you need some support from somewhere.
My support came from two different places. My mom made an initial attempt to cheer me up by taking me shopping to “buy some clothes that fit you right”. I finally consented to take a trip to TJ Max. After all, I could just buy a couple of cheap outfits until my clothes all magically fit me again. Unfortunately, I forgot an old truth that I have proved to myself time and again–People who make cheap clothes are also stupid. A size 8 in cheap pants translates to approximately size 2 in more expensive clothes. You see, people who make nice clothes seem to understand that women want to fit in the smallest size that they possibly can. So, here I am in TJ Max, trying on clothes with my mom, and she is constantly leave the dressing room to get the next biggest size. Before I know it, I have reached a digit that I never imagined would be tight on my body, and yet there I stand, with fat spilling over my pants and tears spilling over my eyes. I grab the closest bulky sweater and tell my mom it is time to go. This is the critical point. We get in the car and Mom looks over at me, my mom who has always been bluntly honest with me about my weight, and I am expecting some little talk about diet, exercise, and not letting myself go. Instead, she looks straight into my eyes and says, “Abby, I PROMISE your body is going to come back.”
What a blessing those simple little words were to me! Then, to make matters even better, she told my mother and sister-in-law about how down I was and they went on a secret shopping spree for ME. They worked some kind of magic that I could never have done for myself and bought me some beautiful in-between clothes from some people who knew something about sizing for sensitive ladies! Pregnancy is physically hard. Post-pregnancy is mentally hard. Take the time to encourage a woman in your life who is in her baby-making years…chances are, she needs it.