I was en route to the beach with the minis this week to take advantage of the glorious weather we’ve been having and enjoying the people watching as we made our way down the Salthill promenade when I spotted a young woman stopped for a chat with a friend over her buggy.I couldn’t help but notice her perfectly manicured hands and feet,lovely outfit and perfect hair even in the sweltering heat. Then I took a closer look at her buggy or rather her triple buggy.One,two,three infant car seat attachments in a buggy that was substantially longer than my double buggy.Triplets!!Three babies!!!Mother of God!!
And she looked fantastic.So much better than me with my unbecoming sweat patches,hair matted to shiny forehead,not a scrap of makeup to hide behind as I pounded the pavement with my chipped nail varnish on my toes,huffing and puffing behind the double buggy while this goddess chatted airily with her companion.
How did she do it?How did she look so fabulous?But more importantly what did I care?I didn’t want to but I had to sneak a quick peek at her belly and I’m ashamed to say I was reassured when I saw the soft squidgy roundness that is mirrored in my own.I hate it that I am comparing myself to this woman and every other mamma especially the stick thin celebrity yummy mummies peering out at me from the front covers of countless magazines flaunting their rock hard abs and sculpted physiques only two minutes after having given birth it seems.
I feel the pressure to get back into shape.I wish I didn’t but I do.It’s such a shame that women can’t celebrate their bodies more.As I’m writing this the lyrics of the current Tiesto remixed John Legend tune are floating around my head-
“Love your imperfections love yours curves and all your edges,”
What makes them imperfections?Society dictates it is so because of a few extra folds of flesh?It’s pathetic really and so harsh for new mums to be bombarded with images of the so called perfect body when a perfect body is the one which has undergone the amazing journey of bringing life in this world.We-I!-should be celebrating this wonderful mummy form not mourning it!
I was once under the mistaken impression that when it came time for my little lodger to exit Bumpland that my uterus would just spring back in its pre pregnancy state like a stretch Armstrong doll. But it took nine months for my body to grow an environment large enough to house a full term infant human,it’s obviously going to take some time for it to shrink back to its original size. Instead I was left with a funny sunken half bump,about the same size as my 5 month bump but lacking in the vitality ,firmness and downright delicious plumpness of a pregnant belly. It was sort of like a half deflated football.
This was my pouch and to my surprise I fell in love with it!It was round and squidgy and hairy due to a combination of frantically energised hormones and a cessation of hair removal-I was in enough pain and discomfort in the later stages of pregnancy quite without adding the yanking of hair follicles off my sensitive skin to the equation thank you very much!-and would have no doubt repelled a teenage me concerned with super flat abs and squeezing into her size 8 jeans. But I loved everything about it. It had been home to my baby for the last 9(and then some!) months.It was testament to her creation and successful transfer into this world. I was so proud of all the hard work my body had gone through to get both my babies here.
Now however,the pouch is long gone and in its place is just a rotund midriff.It is lumpy and bumpy and is home now only to bread babies and carb overindulgences. Since I have stopped breastfeeding,it seems it has swelled even more. It has been over six months since baby was born so I no longer associate this lumpy form with a glowing sense of pride and achievement.
I wish I could show you a picture of my pouch but I have a serious dearth of post birth photos.I just about have one of myself and Mini and don’t even have one of myself and Mini Mini together.This is because I hate myself in photos,hate getting my picture taken.It’s also I think because I wanted the Frenchman to be the first to hold Mini Mini when she came out for reasons only known to myself at the time,now long forgotten.Perhaps I was feeling a tiny twinge of guilt for denying his one tiny delivery suite request-that he could have a go off the gas and air.Nobody but nobody was coming between me and my gas and air however, especially after the fecking epidural failed to work.
Try as I might I can’t love this squidgy abdomen a fraction of how much I loved my pouch.These imperfections are just too imperfect and it saddens me that what I loved before and saw as evidence of a body working exactly as it should is now a cause of distress for me. And the worst thing is,I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.