When I was 23 I had an ass.
Then I got pregnant, and from that day on, the great migration began.
Today my ass is in my boobs, in my ponch, my thighs and my baby’s face cheeks. Sometimes I miss my ass when I’m at the beach with a baby on my hip, chasing another baby in the water and my one piece bathing suit t I let my kid choose from the $7 Wal-Mart clearance rack is primarily stuffed up my butthole. It is literally another fulltime job to keep that excess out of there.
But lets face it, when your body devotes itself to growing and nourishing full blown humans, it changes. A lot.
Later today when I plan to get a shower, as I’ve been planning and meaning to do for four days, I will wash my hair. This means I will be washing my four-month postpartum hair. My four-month postpartum hair will, for the most part, break off and out of my head when I brush it with my kid’s purple Hello Kitty brush, leaving me with grey six-inch baby hairs that stick straight up out of my skull like small antennas. Luckily for me, my ethical code asked me to go free-range, anyway, and I already bid adieu to cares about hairs. The last time I cut my hair or shaved my legs was within the same week- last June. Last June we got married, and last June was officially the last shit I gave in terms of hair maintenance.
After I shower today, I might just get around to brushing my teeth. Which, I might add, deserve it, but you wouldn’t know it by the way I treat ‘em. This last pregnancy, I had to get my furthest rear molar yanked out of my head because, even though I had other priorities, my dentist told me I probably ought to still brush my teeth, too. The poor friggers, as it turns out, will otherwise get so bacteria-ridden that they literally self-implode. So, at 27, I started losing teeth again.
When you’ve grown bodies in your body, your skin also wants to shrivel up around your ponch. It does so in a circular donut kind of way, with your stretched out belly button in the middle looking like target practice for your stretch mark laden torso.
Last week, I still had that linea nigra, or darkened “pregnancy line,” that some women get straight down their middle bellies, and, to my delight and terror, I realized I could scratch that bad boy right off because it was essentially just dry and flaky skin. Of course, I had intended to moisturize it each and every day after showering with those various belly butters, salves and potions that sit on my bathroom counter, but you all now know my track record for showering. Anywho, my fingernails made that weird line disappear, so we’ll call that a personal victory.
My armpits, which still smell like last Friday’s curry, will delight in the soapy suds of today’s shower. Yet every time I smell my pits, either when I’m sweating in a parent-teacher meeting, flipping a pancake or wiping my butt, I smile because it’s a reminder that Justin and I actually got out of the house together to eat without the big kid. So yeah, maybe I haven’t showered in four days sort of on purpose.
Three years ago the first of my friends got pregnant. I told her to hold on to her ass, literally and figuratively. She didn’t know what I meant then, but I guarantee you when she reads this today, she will. Because through the trials and tribulations of childrearing, we sacrifice bits of ourselves. Yet in the process, we learn so much about this skin and bones shell that carries us around, wearing yesterday’s clothes that I slept in too, and boots covered in baby barf.
My body is haggard for 28. My youthful brown hair has turned grey and my mouth, that my dear parents spent a small fortune on, smells like mothballs. My hips got bigger, my butt got smaller, my face got rounder and my shoulders grew taller.
But you know, today I can tell you, as I pump life-sustaining milk out of my teat, that my body is pretty heroic, too. I used to house makeup in my makeup bag instead of coloured pencils, and I used to wear clothing whose tags boasted words aside from ‘maternity stretch’ on them. But that’s ok, because today my kids are happy and healthy.
And they are totally cool that today, I’m taking this fine ass, and theirs, to the beach.