Mommy Chronicles

A funny look at motherhood and the mayhem it causes.

September 16, 2002

The true, elusive and tattoo-free secret to happiness

There’s something I am never going to understand, and that is how Pamela Anderson managed to get her flat stomach back after childbirth.

In less time that it took her to realize that Tommy Lee was a freak, she regained the waistline of a praying mantis.

Seeing this on TV is the kind of thing that led me to hope that my body would snap right back after childbirth, as well. Not that I ever had the waist of a praying mantis, mind you. But I wasn’t a kangaroo before I had Lucy. I never had a pouch of skin that I could shape into a giant pair of stomach lips.

And that’s not all. I have two smaller pouches riding side by side along my spine. This seems to be a near-universal affliction of motherhood. I was complaining about this to my pal Toddy when she exclaimed, “Back fat! I have it too!”

You’d think, with all this extra skin and flab going around, that I would find my figure enhanced elsewhere. And, of course, I have.

The empty space under my chin is now equipped with a generous tuft of blubber. I suppose this will come in handy should I doze off while sitting. I can use it as a pillow. And, unlike the couch pillows I sewed, this one ought to last. I was working on a column about food for Encarta last week when a nutritionist told me how it would be.

“Fat is tucked under your chin for theoretically later use, but often remains there forever,” he explained.

Forever! That’s quite a bit longer than I was hoping to carry the chin chub. Forget later use. I’d like to use it up now.

But I can’t seem to convince my body to behave. If I could, I’d send it a few inches south, to an area that has been seriously depleted since I stopped nursing Lucy.

I never had much extra to begin with, but it looks like Lucy drank the cups along with all that milk. She performed liposuction, and in all the wrong places. If I could sing, I’d write a Country-Western song about it. It’s that sad.

If I had known this was going to happen, I would have made her nurse through my navel. Why doesn’t someone invent a nipple for that?

In one of those frank conversations good friends have about such things, a woman I know who is about to be married said the very thought of a shrinking chest was enough to make her skip nursing her future children altogether.

Before I could restrain myself, for this really is none of my business, I said, “But you HAVE to breast feed. It’s cheaper, easier and way better for the baby.”

And this made me realize something. While it’s true that becoming a mother has put the nail in the coffin of my bikini days, I’d rather have Lucy than the world’s most perfect body. There’s something about looking at a small person who came from inside of you that makes you realize that satisfaction and joy doesn’t come from being able to run down a sandy beach in slow motion, jiggling in all the right places.

That just makes you tired and sweaty, and all too frequently it seems, married to a rock star with tattoos in scary places.

On the contrary, true happiness is in watching your child grow — and in the best of worlds, faster than your kangaroo pouch.


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