Over the last eight months I have gained 40 pounds. Not four, not fourteen, but 40. Obviously, this is to be expected, as I am currently gestating a human being. However, trying on clothing when one is eight months pregnant and 40 pounds heavier than normal is a truly humbling experience. I’m one of those annoying women who have always been super skinny. I’ve never had to starve myself in order to achieve Hollywood’s famine survivor look; I’ve pretty much always appeared as though the only thing I’ve eaten in the past two days was a leaf of lettuce. In fact, for most of my life I’ve wanted, and tried, to put on weight. So when I got pregnant and began to shovel anything that even remotely resembled food into my gaping maw, I was excited to finally, finally, have the chance for life as a normal-sized woman. What I somehow failed to realize is that I wouldn’t be getting hot, sexy Marilyn Monroe-esque curves. I would be getting a giant round belly, ridiculously over-sized boobs and the attendant back pain and flatulence that accompanies both of these things.
Last week I dragged my pregnant self all the way to Beverly Hills to purchase a dress for my baby shower. I hate to shop under the best of circumstances, so imagine, if you will, just how fun shopping seemed when eight months pregnant, gasping for breath, and having to pee every seven minutes or so. Up until last week I’d avoided the supreme torture of bad lighting and dressing room mirrors by shopping for all my maternity clothes either online or in my no-longer-pregnant friends’ closets. But I couldn’t very well show up to a party thrown in my honor looking, as I do most days, like a homeless, drug addicted Mother-to-be. So I set aside my usual hatred of clothes shopping and I gave it the old college try. Thankfully, the store had a nice selection of cute, hip clothing designed to flatter my pumpkin sized belly and camouflage my three rows of love handles. I flipped through rack after rack after rack, avoiding anything with horizontal stripes (really? Horizontal stripes on maternity clothes? I certainly don’t need any help looking wider through the ass and the middle than I already am, thank you) or patterns that reminded me of the housedresses my Jewish Grandmother used to wear. After picking out a large stack of dresses, I somehow managed to wedge the clothes, my giant purse, and myself into a dressing room that seemed more suitable for a child than a large and clumsy pregnant woman.
After at least an hour of trying, and rejecting, everything I’d selected, I was in danger of having yet another pregnancy melt down on the level of the epic Buy Buy Baby event. Dresses that were designed to be loose and flowing made me look like a drawing of a pregnant stick figure; skinny arms and legs with a big bump covered in a triangle of printed material. Items that were supposed to be sexy and form fitting showed more than I really wanted to share about how wide and lumpy my hips have gotten. Over the course of eight months I’d turned into the skinny fat woman, and it was ugly. Finally, just as I was on the verge of attempting to slit my wrists with a garment hanger, I found the perfect dress. It was the maternity version of the Little Black Dress: simple, chic, flattering and, most importantly, comfortable. Suicide averted, I threw that dress at the saleswoman, handed her my credit card, and screamed, “I’ll take it!” As I left the store, I glowed with happiness. Not only had I survived shopping and found something I actually liked, but I’d survived shopping while eight months pregnant. After that experience, giving birth should be a cakewalk!
Honestly, I never expected that pregnancy would give me a new appreciation for my pre-baby figure. In fact, I’m really looking forward to getting some semblance of it back after the baby makes his appearance, and I’ve made a pact with myself that I will no longer complain about my body. Although it would be nice if I could keep the porno-size boobs indefinitely.