I have written posts in the past about what it is like being the mother of three boys: there are cars, trucks, footballs, dinosaurs, monsters, smelly sneakers, baseball practice, girls shyly knocking on the front door etc. What I have never talked about before is what it looks like being the mother of three boys. Let’s start by taking a swan dive into the past, a fourteen year old past:
That is yours truly, celebrating my sweet sixteenth birthday: pre-marriage, pre-babies, pre-responsbilities! I find it amazing that Mother Nature makes girls – all of them – truly beautiful. Young girls have the sweetest smiles and naturally bouncing curls. Teenage girls, then, have a teasing sass that send teenage boys’ heads spinning. Mother Nature can be so nice.
Then comes marriage and a baby carriage.
Baby G was born when I was still very young – just shy of my 21st birthday. My slight frame suddenly expanded to make room for that little being I was creating. After he was born, my body and I had a chat: I said, “Please be a dear, return to your normal size,” but my body replied, “Silly girl, this is your new normal size!” And here I am post Baby G:
By the time Baby G turned two, I had managed to trick my body into returning into a semi-decent shape. After all, I was still merely 23 and Mother Nature sorta-kinda thought I was young girl.
I didn’t wait too long, however, to add to my family: I decided to have another baby. Baby D was born at the end of my 23rd year. He was a great baby because he did not make me turn into a bison during pregnancy, but weighed like a bison himself when he was born (almost 9 lbs!). Within a couple years post-Baby D, once again, my body met me in the middle.
Fast forward a few years, and Baby W is born when I am now 30 years old. Let me tell you, it’s a different experience having a baby at 20 than it is at 30. It seemed that one day, I saw the first ultrasound of that little blueberry growing inside me and the next morning, my hips grew 4 sizes. “Body, this isn’t even possible??” but my body simply replied, “You’re not 20 anymore, Mamma, you’re not 20…” By the time we welcomed little Baby W to this world, my body had expanded like a mini Big Bang. In my heart, deep down, I just knew that when I left the hospital I was going to prance home in my skinny jeans and flaunt my awesome bod. But I lied to myself. I barely fit into my stretchy yoga pants that coincidentally, never saw a yoga mat. My belly was still overpowering the boobs – and we all know that’s a sight for sore eyes. I told myself, “It’s ok! This is your third baby, you’re thirty, give yourself some time!”
Time has passed by. Baby W is now seven and a half months old. He’s all smiles and giggles and – well he’s a boy – so all cars, trucks, footballs, dinosaurs, monsters, and the smelly sneakers, baseball practice, girls shyly knocking on the front door are just around the corner, I can sense it. My body, however, has not done its part: it hasn’t changed much at all since I brought Baby W home. Those yoga pants still fit, but thankfully they slide off easily (mostly because I have worn them 5 million times).
I decided to up my morale and shop for some new clothes that fit this body of a mother of three. One particular dress I bought made me feel like one hot mama – short to accentuate those pretty legs of mine, loose in the top so my still huge boobs were slightly disguised, and paired with my high healed boots, I made it hard for The Man to leave the house without undressing me. Score! But as we were out shopping, the absolute worst thing happened.
A little old woman approached my shopping cart and began cooing and sweet talking Baby W. “Oh he’s so cute, oh he’s so precious, oh the time flies…and when is your next baby due?” What, what, WHAT? Next baby? Oh, her eyes were planted straight on my belly, my not so flat anymore belly. Maybe even on my not so small hips either. I almost thought she was going to reach over and pat that non-existant baby belly. Had she, I might have knocked her sideways. A long trail of thoughts raced through my head: mean comments, how to hold Baby W while I ran the old lady over with my shopping cart, or how my lunch suddenly started regrettably churning in my belly. But mostly, I thought how hurt I felt. After all, she was a woman too, I can assume she had children, likely grandchildren, maybe even great grandchildren. She must have known how her comment was hurtful, insulting, painful. I just smiled, “No – no more babies. This one marks three boys for me and they make me happy.” Her face cringed with embarrassment, she muttered an apology and continued with the Baby W compliments. It was too late. She knew it, I knew it: my feelings had been hurt because someone decided to put a mirror to my face showing me what I already knew: my body at thirty is no longer the body of a 16 year old, or a 21 year old, or a 24 year old. Things are different now.
The entire drive home I contemplated what the woman must have seen to make her ask about the non-existent baby number 4. “I won’t eat anything but salad,” “I won’t drink anything but water,” “Gym every day, twice a day!” But here is the truth: today is Taco Tuesday and my kids love tacos and so do I. The gym is about twenty minutes from my house and I have laundry to do, homework to help with, children to bond with and a husband to entertain.
It might take a few months or years, but eventually things will shrink back to a somewhat acceptable form. Maybe they never will, but even that is acceptable. I will just have to hope that I don’t encounter those people who feel so inclined to assume that mine is a baby and not just an extra curve or two.
So, when you’re out there and you see a woman who you think might be with child, please refrain from making any judgments and comments because you might not be as lucky as the woman was today when she met me. Next time, even I might run you over with a shopping cart.