I remember the moment when it hit me. I was standing in my bedroom wearing granny panties over my c-section stitches with a giant pad - with wings - hanging out the edges and my nursing bra open to air out my chapped and stinging nipples.
Looking like a mom doesn't end with delivery.
You're never prepared. Your body widens and groans with the child but you embrace it, most of it, because this is a beautiful journey of life and development. But after, when you're without the child, somehow you think it'll all go back the way it was.
The fact is, no matter how hard we hit the Pilates and chew the kale, we are forever marked as mamas.
Whether you've birthed or adopted a child, you know that's the truth. We walk around with lines of snot down our sleeves and dirty tissues bulging from the pockets of our skinny jeans. The collar of our shirt has a glob of jelly on it and chances are we’ve sat in play dough more than once.
If you're anything like me, every time my undies hit that c-section scar, I have a fleeting feeling of sensitivity, of nerves severed and a reminder of what I lost and what I gained.
Because we lose these small pieces of ourselves -- the time to fix our own hair when we’re fixing our child’s, the splurge of a pair of new boots when our child’s feet grow so quickly, the way our tiny clutch purse used to hold everything we’d need for an outing. And we gain a front-row spot in the mosh pit of motherhood.
When I was nursing, my teeth turned brown. Not off-white. Browwwn. The dental hygienist had never seen anything like it. It looked like I'd had a baby and picked up a tobacco chewing habit. I lied to myself that it really wasn't that bad, which made me feel better until the day I walked into my husband's office to find him photoshopping my teeth on the family Christmas card.
After I finished nursing and my teeth returned to their regularly scheduled coffee-stained cream, I remember bra shopping. I asked the sales lady at the store what to do about the gap at the top of the bra cup. Did I need a different style? She said, cruelly and with a mwa-ha-ha I'm sure, “It's too big. You need a smaller size.” What.
My baby took my boobs.
After a brief but brutal mental breakdown, I bought the teeny bra then walked directly to the store specializing in teen clothing and bought the halter top I never could wear back when I had boobs. Just whatever. My first A-cup since fourth grade gets the halter top I was never allowed to wear.
Our bodies change and our kids use us as walking Kleenexes and rather than try to stop this or wish I could be all perfectly together and stain-free, I've decided that boogers are the new sexy.
Because you know what? I love looking like a mom. I love that my kids bury their faces in my stomach while simultaneously wiping their milk mustaches on my shirt. I love that my boobs have wandered south and still bear the stretch marks from one aggressive nurser. I love that when I leave the house I have bows and clips stuck in my hair from a session at my daughter’s “beauty parlor.” I love the Legos in my purse and stickers on my face.
Our yoga pants may bear witness to the morning’s mashed banana and our tee shirts may look askew because our baby will only nurse on one freaking side, but we are HAWT, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yesterday I wore pants with a butter stain just crotch-adjacent all over town all day long.
Look out world, I’m sexy as hell.
Written by Melanie Dale