I know, I know. I said pictures. They’re coming, I promise. Until they arrive, would you care to be amused by a blog post about…my butt?
Ha! Gill and my dad just said, “Katie!” at the same time!
But, seriously, I want to talk to you about my butt. And my stomach, thighs, upper arms and chin. This is, in short, a blog post about my body. Just go with me, people. Have I ever steered you wrong? Except for that one time?
The folks who saw me at nine months’ pregnant know that I did not gain the recommended 20-35 pounds. Well, okay, I did gain that weight plus the recommended weight of two other pregnant women. Somewhere out there merrily dance two bitches who didn’t have to lose anything after they had their babies. Life’s not fair.
Anyway, I gained a bunch of weight. I could get all dark on you about body image and my past struggles with weight, but I’ll spare you and myself the trip down memory lane. The important part is that I lost thirty pounds seven years ago and managed to keep it all off until August 2007, when I got pregnant with Evie. So, for five years. How’d I do it? I’ll tell you: counting and weighing and measuring and obsessing and starving and walking and walking and walking and walking. But I looked good, y’all.
However, when I got pregnant, all that went out the window. For whatever reason, I felt unleashed, unbridled and free to eat whatever the hell I wanted. So I did. I ate a lot. And I gained a lot of weight. But no one at my doctor’s office said anything to me. I gained eight pounds in three weeks and no one said anything. That’s 28,000 extra calories I ate, folks. Not a peep.
So, in the face of their silence, I rubbed my hands together, giggled malicously and secretly thought what any rational person suffering from a slight problem with compulsion and impulse control would secretly think: Holy crap, I’m getting away with it!
I am forever indebted to my favorite midwife, Lucie, for several reasons. The most important of these reasons is that she looked me straight in the eye at my eight-month appointment and said, “Katie, you have gained too much weight. Stop or you’ll regret it.”
And I do regret it. I wish I had taken better care of myself during my pregnancy. I wish I had eaten healthier food, exercised and gained much less poundage. Perhaps there would be more pictures of me pregnant if I had. That is, I would have allowed more pictures to be taken. If I ever find myself pregnant again, I will eat better and exercise. I will gain the weight recommended for one pregnant woman.
As of today, I am down to losing the same thirty pounds I lost in 2002. And they’re coming off, slowly but surely. Actually, after much reflection, I’ve realized that they’re not the same thirty pounds I lost years ago. These thirty pounds are very different. Lemme ‘splain.
I used to hate my body with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. I hated the way it was shaped, its proportions, the way it looked in a bathing suit. I remember looking at it in mirrors and scowling. I remember stepping on scales and crying. I remember watching other women and wanting her chest and her chin and her butt. My body was separate from me — something not to be trusted, to be conquered, to be changed.
I was so silly.
I feel very differently about my body today, after having Evie. I still want to get back to my fightin’ weight, though, because 1) I like the way I look best at that weight and 2) most of the clothes I own fit me at that weight. But I feel much more affection for my reflection these days. I like the shape of it. I like that it shifted and stretched and grew a beautiful baby girl. It feels more like a woman’s body now and less like a girl’s. I look at my, um, ample posterior and cellulite now and don’t get that tight, hateful feeling anymore. I feel patience and fondness and, dare I say it, contentment. Finally, after all these years, I am comfortable in my own skin.
All of this makes me think about my daughter. I fear for Evie and what she’ll be exposed to as she grows up. I can’t protect her from all the television and magazines and scary-skinny actresses and advertisements that sexualize rice, for Pete’s sake.
I’m tasked with teaching my daughter that the scale is not an altar and that a brownie, in and of itself, is not evil. I want her to know that being thin does not make her “good” and being overweight does not make her “bad”. That her worth cannot be measured in numbers. I want her to know that she’s the same smart, funny, strong, beautiful woman whether she’s a size 6 or not.
And so am I.