1. Ignoring your body doesn’t mean it’s not there. My pregnancy-and-nursing years are finally over, so this weekend I went bra shopping for the first time since 2009. It was like putting lingerie on a soup chicken. So yeah, a somewhat disheartening experience. But the act of trying on 37 different bras in various sizes—because the landscape is totally different now, kind of like how Dresden’s landscape was different after World War II—is a reminder that self-care is as important now as it was pre-kids. I’ve ignored my body too long and in too many ways. Time to turn over a new (fig) leaf.
2. Pretty lingerie symbolizes your physical emancipation from your kids. Your old nursing bra was basically a flap of fabric that allowed small piranhas unfettered access to your tender parts. You are no longer the host creature, giving strength to little aliens that gain in size and intelligence as you gradually dwindle to a carcass with ratty hair. You are free now! Free to regain your own strength, and hopefully your intelligence and sense of humor, though that may be gone forever, who knows. This new uniform is for a fresh start and a new stage of life. Yippee!
3. Good undergarments mean you stand up straighter. A gaping bra, worn to shreds, means you will slump, embarrassed that the fabric is too thin and not giving you enough support and coverage. Slumping indicates you’re not confident, which will probably affect your career and make it hard to bandy the bon mots on social media. Basically, a bad bra is going to cost you Twitter followers. Buy a good bra.
4. A good bra really can’t be worn as pajamas. I know that you’ve been sleeping in a ratty nursing tank, all the quicker to silence the crying tot who wakes up every single day at 4:53 a.m. on the dot. But she’s finally agreed to stop nursing and stay in bed until a more humane 5:30 a.m., and you can afford to buy a pretty bra and underwear set to celebrate. The wee-hours stage of parenting—I call this stage “Antietam”—is over! You are not a labor-camp prisoner, collapsing onto your pallet fully dressed at the end of the day. (You also deserve a set of dedicated pajamas or a nightgown, and five minutes to wash your pretty face at the end of the day.)
5. Because nothing is fair anymore. Many articles on motherhood discuss how we change after becoming mothers. They’re usually something like, “you used to work on your dissertation on comp lit, but now you spend your days figuring out how to get scum out of bath toys! You go, mama! It’s all worth it when you gaze at your adorable kids, right?” Well, no, it’s not all worth it. When you have kids, you suddenly realize what all those older women were talking about—about division of labor and the mommy penalty and the difficulty of carving out your own intellectual, artistic, financial, emotional, and social life apart from your kids. You may notice that the male partners don’t seem to be having quite the same trouble, and in fact might even be thriving. None of that is fair, and the biological exigencies of pregnancy and nursing are really, really not fair, and there’s no way around that.
But you know what is fair? Putting $120 on a credit card for something constructed from three centimeters of lace and a grommet. You go, mama.