Recently, I was throwing myself a lovely pity party after a particularly unfortunate swimsuit shopping experience. Prior to having a child, I never even had to try anything on because I was always a small. Clearly that is not the case anymore. These days you can find me, nary a drop of confidence, clutching an assortment of sizes outside the dressing room, sweating like I’m trying to smuggle drugs across the border.
This tummy transformation didn’t take place overnight, though. It took my body nine months to grow a tiny human, so why did I think that it would immediately go back to normal after popping out a tiny human? I have a sneaking suspicion that magazine covers with fit celeb moms might have had something to do with it. In reality, it’s long and unpleasant road to get back to a vaguely healthy body state. It’s taken a considerable amount of time, but there are moments when I don’t actively hate my stomach. That’s a milestone for me!
As an American, I can’t help but to try and put the blame for my bitterness on someone else. I blame society. I mean, isn’t it a little odd that the only time women tend to be encouraged to embrace their curves is when they’re pregnant? Once I was past the “it’s a human baby, not a food baby” stage of my pregnancy, I was elated to wear form-fitting clothes without needing to tug or compensate. Now the only way you can catch me wearing something remotely tight is if it’s laundry day and necessity has caused me to leave the house. Seriously, though, I’ve been known to hide from the UPS man when I’m rocking the sweatpants and regret look.
With summer quickly approaching, and my unwillingness to be a social pariah, I knew I needed to summon the strength of my ancestors and try round two of swimsuit shopping. Though I haven’t quite resigned myself to the stereotypical black one-piece, I’m definitely not in the marketing demographic for Target’s neon, tribal print bikinis either. So I’m left wandering the aisles of swimsuits trying to find something in between sensible and fashionable. Once I selected a few options, I made my way to the fitting room, where I was confronted by a fun house mirror. It was a fun house mirror, right? Because I don’t remember having cellulite there.
Just when I thought the most embarrassing moment of my life was snarting (sneezing + farting) in the face of my OB-GYN, the universe decided to prove otherwise. I couldn’t even pull the bathing suit bottoms past my thighs without losing circulation. My pride doesn’t care about circulation, of course, so I shimmied and jumped until they were on. I kid you not when I say that the fabric of the swimsuit cut into me like twine on a Christmas roast. This moment would require at least a pint of Haagen Dazs. At. Least.
The one I ended up picking out was the swimsuit equivalent of a beige loafer complete with Dr. Scholl’s inserts—it did the job, but wasn’t big on the cute factor. The fact that I went with a two-piece made me feel like an adventurous feminist, so not all was lost. I had accomplished my goal of not wearing a muu muu to any swim-related functions, and that was good enough for me. Maybe next year I’ll work up the courage to not crop myself out of family beach photos.