So, when I was in the middle of pregnancy and had finally gotten to the point where I had to put away all of my regular clothes and exist solely in Target and H&M’s approximation of semi-attractive maternity clothes, I convinced myself that a few short weeks after giving birth would find me sliding my skinny jeans back on and wearing all those cute tiny tops and adorable dresses that I lived in before I got knocked up. Never mind that there was an entire month where I ate nothing but candy. Never mind that my only weird pregnancy cravings was the giant soft pretzels covered in butter and salt. Never mind reality.
I was convinced that baby weight was super temporary, and I would be right back to normal. I didn’t count on the fact that breastfeeding would not work out for me, thus negating the magical “I lost everything and MORE through the wonders of breastfeeding!” story that’s been going around. I certainly didn’t count on crippling postpartum depression. I absolutely didn’t count on the fact that I would be so tired that it would be a miracle to brush my teeth with any regular frequency. I went to the gym once, I think, and it was to slowly walk on the treadmill and revel in the golden sounds of shitty rap music and no crying babies. My pre-pregnancy clothes stayed in the box under the bed until we did a huge yard sale. I sorted through and got rid of some stuff, and then stuffed the box back under the bed. The extra thirty pounds I was carrying around stayed put on my ass. I thought I was okay with it.
Fast-forward to now, and those thirty pounds are closer to twenty, but I am definitely no closer to being in those skinny jeans than I was fifteen months ago. I’m disappointed with myself, and I’m disappointed that I’m so disappointed with myself. I know that realistically the only people who care that I’m bigger than I used to be are me, some shitty people I don’t care about, and probably my mom, who is oddly fixated on how much weight I lose and gain. My husband only seems to care whether or not I’m happy. My kid obviously doesn’t care, and my friends are my friends regardless of whether or not I’m skinny or fat, thankfully. The thing is, I can’t seem to stop caring and I hate it.
Even right now, I’m drinking a smoothie made of spinach and fruits and almond milk and whey protein, and when I’m done writing, I will do squats and push-ups and sit-ups and cardio, and lament that change doesn’t come fast enough. Society and the media has taught me that I am a failure if I don’t get this extra weight off in a timely manner. People judge harshly, and I can’t stand the thought of being called lazy. It’s too common to hear “Oh yeah, she used to be cute but then she had kids.” The message is everywhere, from the lyrics to a Frank Turner song, to movies, to tabloid magazines. I don’t want to be affected by it, but I can’t help it. I genuinely feel sorry for people whose sole job is being their body. At least my paycheck isn’t based on the size of my ass. (But if it were, my paycheck would be HUGE… haha???)
I know that my worth is far more than the sum of my looks, and I remind myself every day that I am a kick ass mom no matter what, but that box of skinny jeans is calling its siren song, so it’s back to the salt mines I go.