Nine months ago, I looked like this:
No, that’s not last years Halloween costume, where I stuck a beach ball under an assless hospital gown and pretending to be incubating quintuplets. That’s what I looked like when I was admitted to the hospital for induction, 41 and a half weeks pregnant, right before fifty hours of labor.
I gained about 60 pounds during my pregnancy, much to the horror of the medical professionals around me. A sonogram technician once told me based on my appearance alone that she was sure I had gestational diabetes (I didn’t). In my third trimester, my midwives advised me to stop eating carbs (which I responded to with hearty laughter and then ate a pizza). I was a giant pregnant lady and I gave birth to a giant baby.
Mostly, the weight has slowly come off, and without rigorous effort on my part. I find formal exercise remarkably unfun, and am also not going to not eat three donuts last Saturday when someone brings donuts to your house. I do eat a pretty healthy vegetarian diet, and I do take walks with Lucy because it puts her to sleep. I’m grateful to be back in a place where I can fit into my old clothes and not have to buy a bunch of new ones.
The thing about losing weight postpartum is that it’s not like things just go back to where they were before. After a couple months of breastfeeding, my triple F boobs that could have served as flotation devices in a turbulent river completely deflated, morphing into a pair of 3 day old flapjacks. My butt got bigger (which actually, I’m fine with).
My stomach, never my crowning physical glory, droops sadly around the sides of my pants like a ziplock bag full of vanilla pudding. A fold of skin dangles above my bellybutton, presumably protecting it from linty intruders.
Despite not being a contender for this years’ Victoria Secret catalogue, I’ve come to appreciate my postpartum body, and feel more comfortable in my skin than I did even pre-pregnancy. This weird, lumpy body grew a tiny, autonomous person, someone who laughs, eats pieces of leaves off the floor, and squats when she farts. That’s a hell of a miracle.
Here’s why you should embrace your new, postpartum skin, too:
1. Winter is coming. And if you believe the not-at-all sensationalist media, it’s going to be a cold one. Save money on outerwear by wearing your layers underneath your skin!
2. Unconventional Storage. Use the folds to your advantage, by tucking away treats and toys for later. You never know when your baby will scream inexplicably and need to be bribed with food (it’s when you’re driving, working, or sleeping).
3. Your baby needs something to hold on to during airplane turbulence. Or breastfeeding, screaming jags, or when you become your baby’s personal climbing gym. Who knew the term “love handles” was literally a thing?
4. The 90’s are in. Just in case you still consider yourself to be above sweatsuits (I’m not), try on this fantastic current trend. Adopting a 90’s trend will grant you plenty of coverage for your midsection, and has the added bonus of making you look like an insane person who should not be approached. I once wore a side ponytail to Trader Joe’s and noticed a 67% decline in other customers asking my daughter “how old he was.”
5. You can’t be more The Best than you already are. Seriously. You made someone. And now you feed it, dress it, love it, and change it’s horrific diapers. There is nothing beyond “The Best,” which is what you already are.