Oh that joyous moment when a blue plus sign appeared! I remember it so well. And so does my husband, only his memory is of being abruptly woken at 6am on a Saturday with a “pee stick” waving in his face. Needless to say, it was difficult for him to dredge up excitement through the grogginess and flood of financial worries. It was my first day of confirmed motherhood, and I was smack dab in unfamiliar territory. Only weeks pregnant, and I was already tired by 3 o’clock in the afternoon and peeing throughout the night. The most bitter pill to swallow, however, was that my breasts started growing, IMMEDIATELY. For those of you who loved being pregnant for the single fact that you became the voluptuous woman you always wanted to be, put yourself in my shoes for a minute. Imagine you are a woman who already hates her chest size, often researches breast reduction surgery, and you are watching your C-cup creep upwards to a D, and then to your mortification, a DD. Many tears were shed in front of a Victoria’s Secret mirror. “I look like Pamela Anderson,” I mournfully wept in front of my onlooking husband. To his credit, he did a great job hiding his emotions on the subject and played the part of sympathetic husband. He held my hand and walked me to Soma Intimates and enlisted a matronly saleswoman to outfit me with something that I felt comfortable wearing. It was a successful venture, although I was far from performing any strip teases in my no frills, full cover, “mommy bras”. Shortly after I relented and moved up a panty size and had a full on “mommy ensemble”. Pregnancy is wonderful and humbling all at the same time.
By this time, I was barely squeezing into my jeans, even with the rubberband trick. My slender figure put on 14 lbs. in my first trimester! Can you imagine my devastation when my doctor advised me to “slow down” and watch what I ate? (Aaron and I blame the rapid weight gain on my addiction to Subway veggie subs.) I survived the summer by swapping most of my wardrobe for garbage bags full of thrift store clothes. Summer tops that graciously hid my new buxom figure and bottoms that slung low enough to fit under my thickening waistline. By August, Aaron talked me into splurging on nice maternity skinny jeans. I balked at the $100.00 price tag, but considering that I wore them everyday for the last 3 months of my pregnancy and then 2 months post-pregnancy, I’d say they were worth their weight in gold. I guess my husband understands that the occasional splurge can salvage his wife’s sense of self-worth. Nothing prepared me for the post pregnancy blues when it comes to dressing yourself after giving birth. Those jeans you blissfully think you can wear again don’t budge past your mid-thigh, you’re still wearing your granny panties, and those cute tops do a great job accentuating your now deflated stomach bubble and love-handles. God bless my husband the day before our friends’ wedding when he walked in on me, tears streaming down my cheeks, eyes puffy and bloodshot, as I stood over a pile of discarded outfits. He wrapped his arms around me and promised that first thing in the morning we would take a shopping trip to buy a new dress. You know its real love when a man who hates shopping is willing to spend 3 hours patiently watching his wife try on dresses, shawls and shoes. I didn’t even care that my dress was a size-Large, I felt like the most cherished woman in Nashville that day.
Ladies, let’s be honest. Pregnancy is a journey through conflicting emotions and battles with self-worth, no matter who you are. I recommend having a sense of humor and a supportive spouse. I attribute coming away unscarred to my husband. He enjoyed every soft and fleshy inch of my pregnant self and constantly begged me not to exercise too much after having the baby. As much as I scoffed at 10 months of his beseeching request, secretly I loved him more because of it. So if your spouse isn’t already your safety net, train him up to be one – you’re gonna need it.