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What will having a baby to do my body?

July 15, 2013
logo by Christine Hepner

There’s one issue that you don’t really need to worry about when you have a baby in your 50s that younger women worry about: What will having a baby do to my body?

When you’re under 40, sadly the only answer is nothing good, except maybe your breasts will get bigger, if that’s a good thing for you.

When you’re over 40, the answer is nothing that age, gravity, and nature haven’t done already. I already had stretch marks, saggy breasts, and flabby abs, i.e, the unholy trinity of aging. Carrying a baby really didn’t do anything that hadn’t been in the works for decades anyway.

My darling sister-in-law Lisa told me that you have two years after childbirth to get the weight off and get back in shape. The little guy was born in June, 2011, so I’ve ridden the “I just had a baby so give me a break” pony as far as the poor overburdened little thing should ever have to carry someone’s fat ass.

Last summer, I made a bold statement: I’d be in a bikini by my 35th class reunion on the last weekend of July, 2013. I’m happy to report to all who might attend that that is NOT going to happen. However, surprisingly for someone who refused to change a single thing about how she ate, drank, or exercised, I haven’t done all that badly.

Alright, I have to admit, I did make one change: I decided that I’d give the Subway® diet a go. I mean, why not? I’m not a fast food person, but Subway™® (who, btw, is not paying me to say any of this, but I would totally be open to being a corporate whore striking a deal to be your next Jared©®….) has a sandwich called the Veggie Delite® that they claim has under 500 calories and provides all the servings of veggies you need in a day if you order it correctly. Also, it’s a big-ass sandwich, just the sort of thing I need to keep me full all day. There are like 6 Subway®™© (oh right, like YOU know which one of those symbols is the right one….) shops within a block of my apartment and one right next to my Mommy and Me group, so it seemed like an omen.

So, everyday I’d order a footlong Veggie Delite‰®♠ and have it cut into 3 sections: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. I ordered mine on whole wheat with cheese to get a tiny bit of protein and lots of spinach. No oil but lots and lots of red vinegar….and it was yummy! For the first 15 or 20 days I ate them. Then, things started to get a little …. ummmm…. boring.

But then the payoff! My clothes started feeling looser and I was actually able to start trying on and zipping up a pair of capri pants that haven’t seen the light of day since before I got pregnant! That was great progress, but still not enough for me to be able to face bathing suit season with any sort of confidence. I thought through my options and even asked my facebook friends if wearing yoga pants on the beach is acceptable (they thought not), and finally settled for the middle-aged lady bikini: long bathing shorts and a blousy, underwire halter top with extra tummy control. Just like swimming in a girdle! Yay!

So, no bikini for the reunion, but maybe I could at least wear those capri pants? I wore them on our way to Nantucket last month on the ferry. Half way out to sea, I had to change the little guy’s diaper. To my shock and disgust, there was no changing station in the restroom! How could that be, on a boat full of families on vacation. I thought about taking F back to our table on deck and changing him there, but he wasn’t just wet….yuck. So, I did what I’d NEVER consider doing for anyone else …. I SAT on the floor of this disgusting bathroom, put F on a changing mat from my diaper bag, and changed his diaper. When I stood up, the back of my capri pants felt soggy. Needless to say, washing them was not going to do it for me, so I threw them out. There is just no amount of detergent or boiling water that could make me forget that soggy feeling or that bathroom floor. And shame on the Nantucket Steam Ship Authority for running ferries with no changing stations!

But in case I don’t make it clear often enough, I’m married to a prince. My first day on the beach in my bathing suit, D told me I looked “hot.” He might have meant that as in “sweaty,” but I choose to think he meant it as in “not as bad as you think you look.” This in stark contrast to years ago, when an ex-boyfriend made the following observation about me. He said, “You know, you really don’t eat a lot. I don’t know why you’re so fat.” Yeah. That really happened. And when they find his body in that shallow grave, I’ll just ask for a jury of middle-aged women (preferably Floridians or Californians) and I’ll get away with murder, too.

Next time: My before and after pictures from my Subway¥©™® diet

© Copyright 2013

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