Giving up your body for baby

I squeezed into a bridesmaid dress yesterday that I’ll be wearing for my little sister’s wedding this weekend. I was pretty upset by the fact that this dress is several sizes larger than I’m used to wearing, yet it was still tight on my hips and prominently displayed the belly pooch left from the baby I had two weeks ago.

And that is exactly why I’m still wearing my maternity clothes and have been experimenting with a variety of compression girdles and Spanx.

The truth is, my body has been on loan to motherhood since I started my family four years ago. One day when I’m done, I will get back a much saggier, more used and more worn version of my former self.

It all starts when you get pregnant. Your body starts changing in weird and ridiculous ways. Sure, women expect the stretch marks and the weight gain, but you also learn that pregnancy can make your face splotchy, your nose bleed and your hair fall out.

Also during pregnancy, you realize that your body is no longer private property. A pregnant belly (and its owner) suddenly becomes public domain. Random women in grocery stores feel the need — and the right — to rub your belly like they’re going to get three wishes.

Others are compelled to ask how dilated you are as if that’s a completely normal question to ask in a crowded elevator.

Of course, this only prepares us for the delivery room, wherein anyone with a name badge in a three-mile radius is allowed to come in and check our progress. Oh, your badge says Starbucks? No big deal. Come on in and take a peek!

After the birth, we get to take home a nursing infant who uses our body as an all-you-can-eat buffet with meal times on a punctual two-hour schedule. It’s no wonder that husbands are often met with a cold stare when they subtly hint at intimacy.

Nice try, buddy.

Now don’t get me wrong — I love being pregnant. I wouldn’t trade this little 7-pound newborn for my former physique or sense of modesty. But I will be happy to get my body back someday — used, worn and saggy as it may be.

What changes did your body go through while having babies? What do you do to get back in shape after baby comes or to reclaim a sense of your former self?

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