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The New Mom Question I Hate the Most

Photograph by Paramount Pictures

As a stay-at-home mom, I'm usually with my baby, but occasionally I'll leave her with Daddy or a sitter and step out alone. That's when things get weird.

Recently, a stranger offered me her place in the ladies room line. A supermarket checker insisted on helping me out to my car and loading the bags. A waitress beamed at me broadly and asked how I was feeling. At first, I thought people were just really friendly, or maybe there was Prozac in the reservoir.

But then it hit me: these assholes think I'm pregnant.

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At four months postpartum, I have lost about two thirds of the 45 pounds I gained while pregnant. Most of my body looks okay, albeit curvy, and my nursing boobs are really something to write home about. But my midsection is a disaster. My abdomen is so round that I truly look like I'm 20 weeks and there's a growing baby kicking away inside. So if I do venture out without my newborn, it's pretty likely that someone is going to ask me, "When are you due?"

And I hate it.

What am I supposed to reply? How about, "I'm due four months ago." More like, I'm due for a good cry right now.

Everyone has their body issues. I'm lucky that I've always had smooth skin, very little cellulite, and legs that can still rock a mini skirt. But to quote Sir Mix-A-Lot, I've never been "little in the middle." Even as a skinny young person, I was more straight up and down than hourglass, with no natural waistline to speak of. Now add a few decades, two pregnancies, lingering diastasis and baby weight, and you get a new mom who still looks like a mom-to-be. For God knows how long.

So I will never openly gripe about how long it's taking for my body to snap back. It's only when someone asks me that evil question that I die a little inside.

I'm not depressed about my bod on a daily basis. I know how incredibly lucky I am to have a healthy, yummy baby in my arms. And I acknoweldge that part of motherhood is sacrifice—the temporary loss of my figure is the least of it. Hell, I'd rather have a good night's sleep once in the next decade than get back into my old jeans.

Also, I'm conscious of how important it is to model a healthy body image for my older daughter who's four, very impressionable and able to hear a whisper from two rooms away. So I will never openly gripe about how long it's taking for my body to snap back. It's only when someone asks me that evil question that I die a little inside.

Here's what else I do to cope with my in-betweener body:

- Avoid empire waist dresses, because they throw more fuel on the "is she or isn't she" fire.

- Make like a celebrity hiding an early bump and sling a big designer purse over my midsection at all times. (Except mine comes from TJ Maxx.)

- Wear things a pregnant lady wouldn't, like a belt, even if it kind of hurts.

- Do things a pregnant lady wouldn't, like chain smoke and sip whiskey while skiing. (Kidding… though that sounds pretty fun to me.)

And most importantly… always bring my baby with me.

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So if you see me out and about with my bundle of joy, and you think "Oh, what a nice mom, bonding with her baby," know that in fact she is my most important fashion accessory, until such time that I go on a juice fast/hire a trainer/get surgery/stop giving a fuck.

"When are you due?"

Hmmm….I'd say I'm due for a cocktail. Any time now.

Tell me I'm not alone, has anyone ever confused your postpartum bod with a pregnant one?

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