Tag Archives: what’s your excuse

Here’s my excuse for my post-baby body

Here’s a fun fact you may not know. When you are in the hospital after having a C-section, you are issued several pairs of giant disposable netted hospital underwear. If you’re having trouble picturing that, let me help you out: They are incredibly unattractive. I mean, these things are hideous. And completely see-through, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. (And trust me, immediately after having a baby, you want most, if not all, things left to the imagination).

body after baby 1

Now, I’m assuming these things have something to do with the giant gash you recently received on your lower abdomen. And since you did just undergo major surgery and infections are nothing to sneeze at (heh), you are in no position to argue when the doctor says you have to wear the giant netted hospital underwear.

Never being one to defy authority (or at least not the authority that is steadily supplying me with amazing weapons-grade pain-killers) I obediently followed my doctor’s orders. Although I can guarantee he probably wished that I hadn’t taken his words quite so literally.

I was in the hospital for four days. And for four days I wore those see-through granny panties. And only those see-through granny panties.

body after baby 2

It didn’t matter who was in the room, if the door was open or closed, or what I was doing, I was, for all practical purposes, buck naked. All. The. Time. With my body looking arguably the worst it ever had, I had it on display for all to see. Every stretch mark, every wobbly bit, every “hmm, that used to be much higher” body part.

It wasn’t that I had suddenly turned into an exhibitionist. Or that…pffft…I was actually happy with how my body looked. I just had a million other things that required my attention other than clothes, such as:

  1. The amazing human I just created.
  2. Getting up from the bed to go pee, which was a Herculean task that required six nurses, a crane and three, sometimes four, horse tranquilizers shot directly into me by an orderly standing a safe distance away.
  3. Debating what would hurt more, cutting my boobs off with a dull ax or continuing to breastfeed.
  4. Deciding continuing to breastfeed would probably hurt slightly less and then attempting to feed him again while 17 lactation specialists roughly squished together my boobs and his head.
  5. Trying to sleep during the 47 seconds I had in-between feedings, comforting my crying baby, nurses checking my vitals and eating an unhealthy amount of cheeseburgers from the hospital cafeteria.

So, being naked all the time just made everything so much easier. I was exhausted and sore and overwhelmed and screw wearing pants! Burn in hell, stupid bra! Even the hospital gown seemed too complicated, what with its TWO whole ties in the back.

Now, a woman choosing to be naked in the comfort of her own hospital room may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me, this was not only uncharacteristic, but downright unheard of.

Yes, I was one of those women who, like any good white girl raised in the Midwest, hated her body. I was never thin enough. Or hairless enough. Or shaped enough like a 12-year-old boy. So to hide my perfectly healthy and normal weight body, I mastered the art of changing clothes without flashing any actual skin. I wore overpriced bikini cover-ups to the beach, only taking them off once I was deep enough in the water to not let anything south of my chin show (and then flinging the cover-up back onto the beach). After a shower, I would race to my room while clinging to my towel for dear life (because God forbid I flash someone in my family my offensive upper thighs).

But now? Shoot. You’re lucky if you actually catch me with clothes on. I’m always walking around with my shirt hoisted up above my chest because I couldn’t be bothered to pull it back down after feeding Riker. After a shower, I walk around in my birthday suit because a towel is too rough on my chewed up nipples. And I’m still too exhausted and sore and overwhelmed to care about pants.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I am now completely comfortable with my body. I don’t know if that day will ever happen. But it does mean that I have a new appreciation for it. Because now it has a purpose other than looking good for other people. My breasts being perky matter less than the fact they are a food source for my son. My arms being toned matter less than them being strong enough to lift him and carry him around for hours on end. My hips being narrow matter less than me having a convenient perch to rest him on.

And let me tell you, it is completely freeing.

Because, quite frankly, my dear, I no longer give a damn.

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A baby by any other name

I’ll never forget the first time I got the “Look.” In fact, I was still in the hospital, recovering from having a human being cut out of my abdomen, when it happened. The nursing shift was changing and the new night nurse came in to give me some more of those magical pain pills (that I’m pretty sure are made from unicorn manes and the sneezes of a baby panda).

Nurse: “Aw, he’s adorable. What’s his name?”

Me: “Riker.”

Nurse: “…Wow, that’s…unique.”

baby name 1

Yeah. That “Look.”

If you currently have a child whose name would never be found in a 90’s movie about white cheerleaders and football players, you know which look I’m talking about. It’s a look that says “I am 100 percent judging you right now.” It’s a look that says “You are not fit to be a parent.” It’s a look that says “I also write letters to the corporate headquarters of Olive Garden when my meal takes more than eleven minutes to prepare.”

Yes, as the number of unique or unusual baby names has risen, so have attacks of Judgy McJudgerson face.

breastfeeding 2

Not sure you’ve gotten the “Look?” I made this handy chart to help you out:

baby name 2

In my case, the “Look” is usually followed by one of the following two questions:

  1. You named him after a “Star Trek” character?
  2. So, I take it you’re a big fan of prisons then?

To which I usually respond with:

  1. Named after? Pffft. No. Inspired by? Maybe. I like beards. And the way he sits down is really cool.* I don’t know. Shut up.
  2. I’m about to find out (whips out hatchet).

*Seriously, he does sitting down better than anyone else. Someone even made a montage of it:

In my opinion, it’s none of your business what I name my kid. And vice versa. (Unless, of course, you’re the jag-off trying to name your kid Hitler…don’t be the jag-off who names your kid Hitler). But the Judgmental Name Game is actually a good thing, believe it or not. And that’s because it prepares you for what the next 18 years are going to be like. And by that, I mean every decision you make from here on out will be judged relentlessly by everyone.

If aliens landed and the very first thing they did was walk directly into a Starbucks and log onto the Internet, they would immediately come to the following two conclusions about our culture:

  1. We worship cats…but only in, like, a totally ironic way.
  2. Mothers are the worst thing on the planet.

The Internet is practically drowning in “news” articles and blogs about how much we, as a society, loath mothers. You can’t throw a mouse or swipe a finger these days without encountering a headline like:

Top 10 Moms We Hate

Top 10 Most Annoying Mothers

Top 10 Worst Moms At Your Playdate

Top 10 Reasons We Should Make Every Mom Feel Like Crap, Regardless Of What She Does

Top 10 Reasons We Should Burn All Moms At The Stake

There are so many “moms” that we aren’t supposed to be and we have narrowed the confines of what constitutes appropriate mom behavior so drastically that there is exactly only one mom in the universe that fits the bills anymore.

And we all write articles about how much we hate her.

And I’m over it.

Because some days I am the mom in the yoga pants (who has no intention of doing yoga) sitting at Starbucks. And you know why? Because I’m tired and have been up since 4 a.m. and don’t want to wear real pants because none of my real pants fit yet and my kid has been screaming for an hour and I thought a change of location might calm him down and then I might, just MIGHT get 15 minutes to sit down and try to get my newspaper column done so for once I actually get it in on deadline.

And some days I’m that mom who does have her makeup perfectly done and a nice outfit on because my baby actually gave me an extra seven minutes where he was happy in his crib and I just wanted to feel like a woman for once, instead of a puke-covered, crazy witch hair, milking cow.

And you might catch me being that mom who is looking at her phone instead of her kid for a few minutes. Or the mom annoying you by talking baby talk with my infant. And occasionally I’m that mom who cusses. And sometimes I’m the mom rolling her eyes because you are cussing in front of my kid. And sometimes I’m the mom posting way too many photos of my baby on social media. And sometimes I’m the mom who writes about drinking too much on social media.

Stop telling me I’m losing the baby weight too fast. Or asking me what my excuse is for not having six-pack abs yet.

And stop telling me I absolutely have to breastfeed, but just, God forbid, not in public. Or that I’m not properly sleep training my two-month-old. Or that I should be enjoying every. single. moment. of this time because it goes so fast.

And for the love of all that is holy, stop telling me the 44 things I should teach my son.

Just.

Stop.

Being a mom is hard. Really, really hard.

So just get off our backs for a bit.

And go bug some dads or something.