Fifteen months ago I thought I would have the luxury of mentally preparing myself for pregnancy. Instead I had simultaneous anxiety and heart attacks with a side of massive coronary after urinating on a half-dozen pregnancy tests at the behest of my husband, then boyfriend. He had brought to my attention a few days prior, over a round of Jager shots, that he hadn’t heard the trite “I’m going to cut you” (just one of the many signs that I was PMSing) in what seemed like longer than usual. I’m pretty sure my response was “don’t be silly. Barkeep, another shot, one for me and one for my unborn child.” I would toast us all night long. 48 hours later I was in a state of panic and incessantly apologizing to my gestating fetus “I’m sorry little guy, mommy was only kidding. Fuck, that was bad. Shit, I really shouldn’t swear at you. Damn it I said shit. Fuck, this is hard. Oh my god we’re doomed.”
We went public soon after. There were only so many excuses I could give as to why I was no longer going out. “Sorry not tonight, on antibiotics.” “Oooh bad timing, I just started a cleanse and I can’t have alcohol till phase two.” “I found Jesus.” People have a funny way of jumping straight to the end result when you announce you’re with child, skipping all together the 38 or so weeks it takes to cook the bun in the oven. “Do you have names picked out?” “Do you want an epidural?” “When can I babysit?” The whole time I’m thinking “please, if there is a God, do not let me get fat.”
I might need a lesson in prayer because that one went completely unanswered and I gained 52 pounds. I exercised pretty consistently, taught ballet classes until my 36th week and only gave into my craving for root beer (of which I opted for diet.) My lone blunder was in the final days before my due date and involved two dozen doughnuts. I’m not proud and I don’t want to talk about it.
Prior to pregnancy my body survived solely on cigarettes, Red Bull, vodka, Red Bull and vodkas, and the occasional meal, usually Taco Bell or ramen noodles. Alcohol and I broke up in one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” scenarios and I quit smoking the moment I took my first test, not even partaking in a final “this is it” smoke break. I started taking prenatal vitamins (ok so they were Flintstone chewables but my stomach is not that of an alligator and the real ones made me want to die) and my meals started to resemble real food. I have to assume that my legendary weight gain was a consequence of my body struggling to digest real sustenance. Add 24 glazed breakfast pastries, and boom, disaster.
Whatever, this is why the designers at Victoria’s Secret created foldover leggings in a size fat. Bless their souls.
I suppose it’s no big secret that I ballooned during my pregnancy, but a woman’s weight (especially the gain) isn’t something you openly discuss; quite literally I was the elephant in the room. Unless of course you’re an asshole, then you might say something like “your ass is getting fat” to a girl in her 34th week. And if you’re feeling particularly uncouth then you’ll say “your ass is getting fat” to a girl in her 34th week WHILE AT HER BABY SHOWER. No more invites for her and frankly, I hope that one day she finds herself with a double chin and cankles. I’m not bitter, I swear but excuse me for a moment while I take a few deep breaths and meditate in my place of zen (read: walk-in closet.)
Moving on. I bring this all up because they were discussing the idea of “momshells” on Good Morning America. A momshell being a mother and a bombshell more so defined as someone who bounces back and loses their baby-weight in “no-time flat.” The woman who claims responsibility for this phenomenon, and who I’d like to punch in the mouth, is an editor of US Weekly and after almost six-years of pushing this “Frankenmom” ideal, suddenly feels that that the everyday woman is under an “unhealthy [amount of] pressure” to immediately slim down postpartum. Well kudos lady, you do have a soul. I would like to think we all realize that these so-called celeb momshells are cheats and have an epic force working behind them; personal trainer, holistic chef, stylist, shaman, even that weird infomercial guy with the ponytail if they so choose. All luxuries we mere mortals are not privy to, all luxuries that greatly enhance the speed of shedding pounds.
I’ll be honest and admit that I was both shocked and discouraged when I stepped on the scale roughly three weeks after Rinn was born and it reflected that I would have a lot more work to do. Thank you Victoria Beckham for giving me unrealistic hope; first, as a Spice Girl when I thought making it big in my own all-girl group would actually happen and again, when you had not one, but FOUR babies and it still takes you all of 48 minutes to shrink back into your prebaby pants and monstrous platforms. I’m just going to go cry into my chocolate fudge Pop-Tart.
I’m more on track with Jessica Simpson or Hilary Duff. You know, a real woman with a real body and real weight gain. I ended up losing all my weight but it took me almost five months and still, things jiggle that didn’t jiggle before and my boobs are totally sad; which I’m told is permanent unless I go under the knife (I haven’t totally ruled that out as an option yet.) So J. Simp, girl, if you’re listening, hang in there. Get yourself a BabyJogger and keep on keepin’ on.
My workout buddy in what I have deemed to be the BEST jogging stroller on the market. You grab a handle in the seat area and the thing folds up like a frickin' handbag. Just make sure to remove your baby first (seriously, it's in the instruction manual as an imperative step.)