Remember that gaudy, skirted bathing suit that your mother used to wear? You know, the one that used to make your cringe and make you want to sit miles away from her at the pool or beach, the same one that you swore you would never wear. When she picked it out, she would tell you how the lines or stitching at the bust and blousy middle section made her look thinner. And you thought, “Yeah right, as if.” Funny how now, you are probably wearing something very similar. In fact, if you tour the seashore at any family resort you will notice a few things. The first is that moms are wearing bathing suits aimed at covering up where just a few years ago they were buying ones that would enable them to tan the most square footage on their body legally possible in public. Funny how that works. Saggy boobs and stretch marks…you can thank the kids for that. And while you may want to cry to your own mom about the demise of your body since giving birth, chances are she won’t be very compassionate, after all – what comes around goes around.
It doesn’t matter if you gain 20 pounds or 55 pounds during pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you can slide back into your pre-pregnancy jeans. The truth is that your body changes. Bulging, milk filled boobs and hormones leave behind stretch marks that tank tops can’t hide making it impossible to deny that you are a mother. Your feet grow, which is the stupidest thing ever, especially if you have a closet full of great shoes or boots. Your jeans may fit, but somehow your body has changed and even though you can button them, you will find that you have gained a little muffin top that exercise just can’t seem to eat up. If you had a c-section, you might as well get used to the fact that the doctor succinctly cut your muscles in two – making it virtually impossible to ever recover. In fact, one nice push present may have been a little liposuction once the baby was out. You already had the epidural, so what would it have hurt? Sure would make life a little easier.
Many women also experience changes in their bodies that they don’t speak about. They aren’t exactly visible changes; and present themselves every time you sneeze. Many women experience bladder problems, some needing their internal organs tacked back in place due to carrying a baby or other ‘down there’ problems that can make you feel elderly. Don’t believe it; ask anyone who has ever tried to recover from an episiotomy. And, lets not forget that the hemorrhoids you gained as a gift from being pregnant, might not ever heal properly, causing you to invest in more preparation H than an old man on Metamucil. Yep, you can thank the kids for that too! These are the wicked little changes that no one tells you about- peeing on yourself and hemorrhoids, sore vaginas that seem to never feel normal again and battle scars from incisions and stitches in places that no one should ever be sewn. The worst part is that most men don’t want to know about these things either – and give little to no sympathy. Imagine if it were happening to them?
Probably one of the only things that benefited from pregnancy was your hair and nails. The abundance of vitamins has probably made your hair thick and lush, although graying because your OBGYN wouldn’t let you color it. As fabulous as this feels, the ugly truth is that very soon, within a few weeks of giving birth – your hair will actually start to fall out and thin again. Seems those hormones after birth are raging with a desire to punish you in every way possible, and even the gains are being stripped away like paint. At least now you can color it, maybe even finding a color that complements the spots and patches of brown or red color that have developed on your face, arms or chest. Don’t bother seeing a dermatologist about these either – unless you can afford elective treatments, they too are hear to stay. If you have another baby, you can at least hope the spots will band together making you look even and tan – but chances are they wont. The one thing that will go away is that silly little brown stripe down the center of your stomach. If it has been a few weeks since you gave birth and it isn’t fading, use a little baby oil and it should start to rub off. And yes, you should be grateful for small blessing like that.
Hormones also cause more cellulite. Even thin, pregnant women that seem to shrink back to normal are left with tufts of cellulite on their butts and thighs as a battle scar of pregnancy. And yep, they too are here to stay. In fact, once you have cellulite, you can never get rid of it no matter how hard you try! Crèmes and lotions may mask the appearance of cellulite- but the minute you eat a donut, they will puff back up with fat and cholesterol.
In a perfect world, you could look at your baby and not give a second thought to what that little angel did to your body. But we don’t live in a perfect world. When they are colicky or pre-teen, teasing you about your skirted swimming suit – you will blame them violently for ruining your body for eternity. You will pull out the pictures and tell them how hot you were before you had them, cursing the wickedness of Eve for all the havoc she caused. You will also feel completely revolted by the fact that men carry absolutely no proof of pregnancy or childbirth, walking around this world completely unscathed. Completely unfair! Still, it is these battle scars and bruises that turn women into mothers. If we can handle them, we certainly can handle a back-talking teen who thinks she can sneak out with her boyfriend without you catching on. Perhaps the punishment should be watching the heinous video of the day she was born, capturing every gory detail of what results from sex. Or you could just adorn the bathing suit?