Eager to shed the 50 pounds I gained with the twins, I was heading quickly to Old Navy to get a cheap swimsuit so I could dive back into the pool. I had no more than 45 minutes to find something that fit before my husband would be burdened by crying, hungry babies in need of a nurse. I loaded a dressing room with every style of bikini and one piece they carried in a number of sizes. I wasn't completely unrealistic; I didn't reach for extra small, but I was disturbed to realize the following:
1) It might take more than 45 minutes to find anything at all that I could wear in public.
2) My bikini days were over. For good. (Indeed I was not 19, but nearly double that age...)
3) My breasts couldn't even fit in a small top (despite the fact that they barely filled an extra small pre-pregnancy). They had ballooned to a medium and they hurt.
4) The fluorescent lighting revealed that I had cellulite on the front of my thighs (in addition, of course, to the back) something I had previously thought not possible.
The ride home was quite a bit less celebratory. I did find a suit in a strange white and turquoise pattern that made me look like an out-of-shape pin-up model. And I tried to shrug off the fact that I no longer recognized the body I lived in. I wouldn't be out of my maternity clothes for a while, and to estimate when I might fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes was none other than cruel and unusual punishment.
I pulled into my driveway to the sound of anxious babies crying. My vanity dissolved, and I disappeared back into mommy oblivion.
Have you had a similar experience? How has your self-image and body image changed since becoming a mother?