Yesterday, I was taking my normal lunchtime stroll. As I entered a small park, it began to rain a bit. I was wearing a long maxi dress with a black cardigan. I bought the dress last summer. I saw it and loved it and it was on sale. It was the end of the summer. I got it home and it didn't fit great, so I wore it with spanx and only when I was feeling a bit more slender. I haven't worn it since September, but yesterday I pulled it out to try it.
It fit great. I was excited. When you're trying to loose weight and the scale is not moving as fast as you'd like, it's always nice to feel good in something. And I felt really good as I left the house yesterday.
But back to the park. It was starting to rain, so instead of continuing my walk, I turned and headed back towards my office. An old man sat on a bench and as I approached he spoke to me. I didn't quite hear him, and for some reason I made eye contact. So he repeated himself as I walked past.
"Is that a boy or a girl in there?" He asked. I didn't respond. I felt the shame swell up inside of me and just quickened my pace. Did I really look pregnant? I spent the next three blocks trying to catch a glimpse of my profile in glass buildings and doors. Sucking in my stomach as much as I could.
Then as I stood on the corner waiting for the crosswalk sign, I saw a man stumble across the street. He was almost naked, except for the ripped up daisy duke shorts he was wearing. No shoes, no shirt. His white/blond hair was in dreads. I think he may have been intoxicated. And he had a huge protruding belly. My initial thought was "Maybe the dude on the bench should ask him what he's having." And then I just started laughing. By myself, on the street corner, laughing. Because how ridiculous would it be to ask a man if he were pregnant? And how ridiculous am I for obsessing over something some dude said to me in passing? And how ridiculous was that man for asking a complete stranger such a personal question?
Six months ago, a year ago, most of my lifetime, a comment like that would have sent me into a spiral. I probably would have stopped at the vending machine on the way back to my office and then devoured a couple bags of peanut M n M's and maybe also a Coke for good measure. If everyone was going to think I was pregnant, I might as well just be fat.
Instead, I filled my water bottle, went to my desk and ate my strawberries that were waiting for me. And I texted my husband and told him the funny story, because let's face it...this is my body, pseudo pregnant belly and all.
The fact is, I've never had a nice abdomen. It's always been my trouble spot. It's the first place I put on weight, and the last place it comes off. Even before kids. Throw in three pregnancies and three c-sections...six pack abs are probably not in the cards for me. I know there are women out there who don't have this issue. They have stomachs that snap right back into place. I'm not one of those women. And I think I'm finally okay with that.
I will keep exercising, keep doing my crunches, keep eating right...but I'm probably always going to have this belly. And instead of hating it and wishing it away and crunching it into submission, maybe I should appreciate what it's done for me. It's made three humans. My stomach has cradled and loved and warmed three little eggs until they were big enough and strong enough to make it in the world. That's not nothing. Maybe I should give my poor belly a break and not curse it every time I pass a mirror.
So next time I'm walking through that park, if that man is sitting on that bench, I will go up to him and say "It's actually a girl and two boys. Don't I look amazing?!?!?!"