Any short ladies in the house? (You: AMEN) Any 5’2″ ladies on their third pregnancy with twins? (crickets.) Well let me fill you in on this little club. It’s full of people who look like walking fun house mirrors. The boobs are pendulous. The belly looks full term. The arms and shoulders have the rounded slope of a ninja turtle shell working hard to encase canned biscuits.
Pregnancy is a psychological odyssey for someone with food and body image issues anyway – now times two. I’m cringing at a video of me that surfaced this afternoon. It’s of a stand-up set I did at The Laugh Factory Chicago last week as part of a Chicago Now line-up. I’m not even a third of the way through my pregnancy (with twins! Dear GOD can I please get that excuse tattooed on my swollen, angry breasts?) and yet I’ve puffed up like a bee sting. Look at me, even my mannerisms have become super-sized. Tiny fingers jutting from hammy hands! Three chins! Lots of stomping!
Oh, and did I mention a heckler called me a whore? This was not my best night.
If I just wear enough necklaces, no one will notice my side-show breasts.
Look, I’m very happy to be having these babies. I am deeply grateful for my amazing friends, family and husband who came out to support me that night. I have food, I have shelter. After last week, I feel obligated to count the fact I have all my limbs among my blessings. I know nature is a beautiful thing or whatever I’m supposed to say here to not sound like a jerk face, but the truth is, it’s very hard to reconcile my appearance right now. I hate it.
That’s right, I hate my pregnant body.
I don’t hate the babies, I hate me for not being able to control the mushroom cloud that is my weight. I have an average face, but I once heard that getting older is harder for exceptionally beautiful women because they’ve got more to lose. Does the same logic of suffering apply to people with food issues gaining weight with pregnancy? I am normally thin(ish) when I am not massively, hugely, perpetually pregnant. Hi, four kids. This is speculation, but maybe if you’ve never struggled with your weight, it’s not such a big deal on your psyche to gain a few pounds carrying a baby. For women, me, who threw up meals in college, have swallowed diet pills by the bottle, who “cleanse” and “purge” and “fast” in the name of health and pay the mortgage payments of doctors who suck fat out through a tube while they are awake (and are still not that wee!) pregnancy can be a haunted Disney ride on an acid trip.
And whoo boy, is it a ride when I’m pregnant. Willpower? Zero. Food control tendencies which I consider selfish weakness on my part? Gone in the name of healthy baby making. What takes over is massive, jiggling, earth-stomping, cankle-busting hugeness because I can’t seem to control what I eat. The second the pregnancy test turns positive, I’m like when Ursula turns back into the sea witch.
Some women just glide through pregnancy. They’re PhotoShopped. Even the ones who are usually PhotoShopped are all awkward bulges and sausage arms when there’s a baby squatter. (Kim Khardashian). The other exception is tall women. I passed a 5’10” woman in the hallway of labor & delivery and she looked like she was in for indigestion. I’ve never been so jealous of an elongated torso. Also, people with hips. Ladies rue their hips in dressing rooms but let me tell you, wide hips do a great job of stashing babies and organs and pizza within the normal parameters of a pregnant body. Me, I have boy hips. Ain’t no place to hide, folks.
I used to think the silver lining of being pregnant (um, besides the babies, obvs) is getting to eat whatever you want. I noshed on a continuous stream of milkshakes and melted-cheese tortillas for most of 2008. Nearly four kids later, I’m surprised I have any teeth left. You’d think they’d be worn down like brake rotors by now after 43 months (and counting!) destroying buffets while pregnant and nursing. I mean, the sheer number of calories in and out of this production is probably so abstract it’s a color. I pay. I pay dearly. I pay in hugeness and psychological torture. What’s the alternative? Preggorexia? YAY RAH for you well-adjusted individuals out there who don’t have food issues who can just sail on through a pregnancy like, “I’ll have a nibble. Tee hee!” like it’s any old day at the track. Not me. No ma’am. Go big or go home – it’s a large pizza or a sip of Vitamin Water and a Xephedrin.
I may not like what I look like pregnant, but I accept it. I realize I’ve broken that rule about not saying it about yourself if you wouldn’t say it about a friend but I’m pregnant. I get to eat, and bitch. They’re my only vices. I know it’s a whine and some people don’t want to hear it, but you know what? We all have our problems and these are mine.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some macaroni to get back to.
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