Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The verdict on bathing suit season

**Note to all people who are sensitive, extremely modest or boys: this post discusses aspects of my post-baby body in some detail.  And if you aren't scared off by that then: MENSTRUAL CYCLE!!!!!!!**

Now that all the guys have left this post, I can carry on.

If you've been paying attention to my blog even remotely, it probably hasn't escaped your attention that I have been having a love-hate relationship with my body since L was born.  Sometimes I feel really good about myself (like tonight when I realized I could once again suck in my stomach enough that my under-belly-button pooch goes away somewhat).  Sometimes I feel really bad about myself (like the other day when I pulled out my summer clothes from two summers ago - the last summer that I wasn't pregnant - and realized they are all two sizes smaller than what I'm currently wearing).

Bathing suits have been on my mind, because we can start taking L to the rec to go swimming when he is 6 months old.  I don't have a bathing suit that fits me well, and I'm literally avoiding any and all physical contact with bathing suits in general.  I try not to look at them when I pass them in stores, and when I found my old bathing suit in my old summer clothes, I practically threw it across the room like it was white-hot (half of which I will be when I finally do step out in a bathing suit.  And I'll give you a hint - it's not the "hot" part).  

Until recently, I had mostly been worried about the nasty stretch marks that have ravaged my thighs.  I never liked my thighs before I got pregnant with L, and now they are hands-down one of my very least favorite body parts.  But then I got to thinking.  What about my boobs?  They are probably the body part that has changed the most since having L.  

They used to be nice.  They used to be perky.  They used to sit where they are supposed to sit.  They used to be boobs that belonged to a woman in her 20's.  Now....not so much.  They are deflated.  They are saggy.  They are mushy.  You could hide a pancake under them.  

True story:  I went to the allergist today because Ive been having some really irritating inner-ear itching for a long time (over a year) and realized that if I accidentally stabbed myself in the ear drum when I tried to relieve the itch with a Q-tip one more time I'd probably go deaf.  So I finally called the allergist that my primary care doctor recommended to me.  

The allergist told me that he wanted to do a scratch test.  Side note, if you ever go for a scratch test, know that the name is incredibly misleading.  I thought that they would actually scratch my skin and just take that toothpick or whatever they used and do something with it.  (I don't know, don't ask me what I thought.  I'm not an allergist!)  Yeah, no.  It was so different.  

First of all, let me tell you that I was NOT expecting any sort of tests or pain that day.  I thought the dr. would ask me questions, look in my ears, possibly my nose, and give me a pill or something.  I am the kind of person who needs to prepare if I'm going to get blood drawn or shots or anything.  So I was caught off guard by the fact that they were going to do the scratch test that day.  (Now I'm so far off my point that I'm going to have to work hard to get back on track, but hang in here with me.)

Basically a scratch test is when they prick you eleventy million times to put different common allergens on your skin to see if your body reacts.  So this nurse had to poke me FORTY TIMES in the back with a bunch of different little pins.  It was so unpleasant.  To do this, I had to take off everything above the waist and put on a cropped paper "shirt."

I am not kidding or exaggerating one little bit (cross my heart) when I tell you that I was worried that my boobs would be hanging out from under that gown.  THAT is how low they sag now that I've nursed a child.  All I have to say is, thank God for push-up bras.

ANYWAY, what with the stretchies and the saggies, I have been really concerned about putting on a bathing suit.  But then I realized something.  My body (with the help of the Big Man upstairs) grew another PERSON.  I know it's hard to get the enormity of that because it's so common for women to get pregnant and have babies, but come on.  Think about that for a minute.  How mind-blowing is it that once upon a time, L did not exist and then, poof!  He was growing in my belly.  And my body, without me doing a whole heck of a lot, provided the shelter, protection and nourishment it needed to get L from my belly to my arms. 

So that makes my body kind-of a big deal.  And if people think that the stretchies and saggies make my body less attractive, well...they can go suck an egg.  I am proud of the fact that my body helped bring the sweetest, cutest baby ever into existence.  And though I may not wear S&S with pride, per se, I will not be ashamed of them.  

So no, I won't be flaunting a bikini this summer, or probably ever again.  But I won't be worrying if some of the stretchies are peaking out from under my swim skirt.  And I won't really care if my boobs look like they should be on a grandma instead of a 25-year-old.  If anyone is judging my body, all they have to do is take a look at what my battle wounds resulted in.  And then, as my dad once said, they can take a long walk off a short pier.  


allison said...

i was reading a parenting magazine the other day and there was a photot of the curvature of a woman's back to the curve of the tush with hand resting on it. It was entitled, the 7 steps of acceptance of the post-partum butt!
every step was right on and i found myself laughing in acknowledgement.

Gina said...

nursing doesn't make your breasts sag, pregnancy does. some women's skin is more elastic than others. the bigger your breasts are to begin with the more they can sag too.