Thursday, June 24, 2010

Baby Weight Cringe

It was a perfect storm of season, grief, and good baby. In November 2003, I would climb into my bed on cold afternoons while my newborn napped. I dreamed that my younger brother had not died two months earlier, and that he might show up at my door with a baby gift tucked under his arm, probably a Yankees onesie. I would rise to the stirs of the tiny man in his bassinet, feed him a bottle, and help myself to a sleeve of Ritz crackers. Ca-coosh, the sound of my diet pepsi can cracks open. The phone rings and I chat about how many bottles and how many poops there have been that day, all while curled up in the crook of a comfy couch.

Thanksgiving comes. Gravy, stuffing, pecan pie. Then Christmas. Cookies! These events add to the fat cell explosion party occurring in my postpartum body. A year or so later, I decide whether or not to buy clothes in a size that would have made my teenaged self dart in front of a moving train. I buy the size, figuring I will have another pregnancy sometime soon, so why try to lose now? And, yes, please give me a double scoop of the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Thank you.

Another pregnancy—another baby boy. I was finally ready to reclaim my former size. I signed up at Weight Watchers and tried to digest the hard numbers that popped up on their fancy scale. I carefully counted points, and six months later I was down twenty-five pounds. Phew.

I pranced out on my front lawn one summer morning to water my flowers. I am on the way to the beach, so I am wearing a bathing suit. It’s going to be a scorcher-- the garden needs a good soaking. The neighbor lady across the street waves and moves towards me. This is odd; she has never talked to me before and I’ve lived on this block for more than a year. She has talked to my husband, though. He knows her whole life story. While he mows the lawn on Saturday mornings, “Judy” chats him up. I’m sure she tells him how great he is at weed wacking. She is pretty and flirty, and is excellent at talking to men. She’s that “it” girl who always had it. She’s the girl who sighs, “I’ve just always gotten along better with guys than girls…I just don’t know why.” Marty says she is very nice, and laughs when I snarl.

Judy flashes me her winning debutante smile.

“Congratulations!” she calls. “I see you’re expecting again!”

I release the clamp on my garden wand, and look down at my non-pregnant belly, covered in my new bathing suit that I just bought for my twenty-five pound lighter figure. CRINGE.

I want to turn the hose on her and spray her across the street.

“No,” I say flatly. “I’m just fat.”

She cringes a little bit. Not as much as she should. She sputters an apology and tries to change the subject. She retreats back home and I think, what kind of woman says that to another woman?

And I know the answer. The kind of woman who “just always gets along better with men.”


  1. I am sorry I said that to you!


  2. You should have sprayed her!

  3. i completely understand.

    i also gained weight after my wife had a baby.

  4. Only you could take the ULTIMATE FEMALE CRINGE and make it laugh out loud funny! :o)

  5. To are the perfect man for understanding! I believe there is an official name for the syndrome of men gaining during baby time. I'll have to look that up.

    Yes, I should have sprayed her.

    And Valery, as always, thanks for being my cheerleader., the real Judy did not apologize to me up above!

  6. Dear Tracy,

    Sorry I am a complete and utter a-hole who doesn't have 5 brain cells to create enough intelligence to know that one NEVER assumes a woman is pregnant merely by her appearance and/or without a confirmation from said woman. I am a complete jackass.

    Love, Fake Judy #2

  7. I'm not sure what you all are talking about..."Judy" is so nice and very friendly. And for the record, I am a talented weed wacker...

  8. Dear talented weed wacker,

    I am certain Judy is just jealous that I have such an awesome husband!