As we stand in the checkout line of the grocery store, my 2-year-old daughter reaches up and smacks my chest. “Mom,” she yells, “what
does things?” She hits my boobs again. I grab her hands and whisper in her ear
that hitting isn’t nice.
“But mom, how dey work?”
The old couple behind me is laughing audibly now, and the
18-year-old male cashier is blushing. I don’t know what’s worse, my daughter
calling out my large pregnancy boobs or the previous week when I actually
farted as I bent down to pick a Goldfish off the floor of the restaurant where
I was having lunch with a friend.
I am 39 weeks pregnant, and I’ve long since given up on
maintaining my dignity.
I fart. I sweat. I chafe. I have to squat to bend over. My
feet look like they should be attached to a Hobbit. I sneeze-pee and laugh-pee.
I drool in my sleep and have blemishes on my chin, which my toddler also
draws attention to, shouting, “Mom, you got wots of buggy bites on you face!”
With my first pregnancy, I was so ready for this time to
end. I couldn’t wait to have the baby out of me so I could regain my dignity
and humanity. Little did I know, that this period now in the end of pregnancy
is just a small piece of the inhumanity that awaits on the other side of
Now, before I leave the house, I grab a mirror and check under my belly for food stains that may have made their way onto my shirt.
You thought uncontrollable farting was bad—wait until you
meet bloody nipples, boobs that leak in public, eviscerating and painful bowel
movements; forget the sneeze-pee—after I gave birth I peed myself for no good
reason. There was also the time I forgot to shut the blinds and the mailman
saw me pumping. He never met my eyes again. The only good thing about the
indignities of the postpartum life is that you’re too tired to care. Now, before
I leave the house, I grab a mirror and check under my belly for food stains
that may have made their way onto my shirt. But I know that after I have a
baby, I probably won’t care if I have a little pee on my pants or spit-up on my
shirt—to Target we go!
The first six weeks of a child’s life reduce you to your
elemental self. Stripped of sleep, stripped of privacy and stripped of your
ability to rely on your bodily functions for anything, you become a crazy. Four
weeks after my daughter was born, I actually sobbed at a restaurant because
the waitress cleared my plate, taking with her the buttery roll that I was dying
to eat. I actually believed that my breast pump was saying, “Bob Hope, Boooob
Hoooope,” to me in the middle of the night, and I told people I thought this, in
public. I even gave a speech at six weeks postpartum and forgot to comb the
back of my hair.
Somehow, I survived. I got my dignity back, my baby learned
to sleep and now I’m on the cusp of losing it all again. This time, though,
I’m a little better prepared. I know that the window of time where I will
inadvertently flash a stranger my leaky breasts is short. One day, I will
remember that I should change my shirt if it reeks of regurgitated milk and
that crying in public over bread is socially awkward. But, for now, I’m
embracing my quickly deteriorating state, if only because it means that I will
get to meet this little one who is currently head-butting my vagina.