Why I Chose Not to Lose the Baby Weight
Alright, y’all, let’s put it out there:
I’m a little fat right now.
My stomach’s got handfuls of squish, and my back fat? I can actually feel it touch itself. Back fat on back fat, like a steamy relationship right over my shoulder.
Yep, I’m a little fat right now.
And here’s the thing: I’m starting with the F-word on purpose. The dreaded F-word that gets stuck in my gullet like a chicken bone. FAT. Fat Fat Fatty Fat.
Why? I hate that word. Haaaate that word. I hate that word with as much visceral recoil as I hate the word “tasty.” And I hate the word “tasty.”
Fat Fat Fatty McFat.
That word? I’ve run from it, literally run a marathon from it, all my life. Dear Lord, please make me smart, and please make me pretty, but above all, Heavenly Father, please don’t make me fat.
Yeah, that prayer? I’ve whispered it, I’ve worked it, and I’ve sung it, notes of sweat dripping down my face. The bass line of a stomach gurgle keeping tempo.
I’m embarrassed to say it. I’m shamefaced that I felt this way. And I’ll be frank (you can be Mary), maybe I still feel this way, just a little.
Dear Lord, please don’t make me fat.
And I was good at not being fat, even though I secretly suspect that my body always wanted to be so, just a bit, just a curve here and a dimple there.
Maybe if I lived in another era, my Rubenesque thighs would jiggle with the confident twitch of an artist’s brush. Back and forth, back and forth, thighs painting the world more luscious with their curves and sway.
And this booty? The one that trembles like water in an earthquake? Maybe these flanks would send shockwaves with each stride. Maybe men would hide their little biddy heads under little biddy desks and brace their trembling arms in sturdy doorways as I passed by.
But we’re not then, and there are no artists brush sweeping after this backside. We’re here, instead, in the now of this moment. And I’m gonna admit that I’m fat and I don’t like it.
So how did we get here? Well.
It all started with a new camera. A new camera and a new baby. And like any mama knows, you can take a thousand pictures of that baby, and you still wouldn’t have captured enough.
But sometimes those babies? They feeeeeel you when they’re sleeping. They look peaceful, tucked like angels on their clouds. But the moment a mama comes walking by, they wake up and BAM. It’s on. Mama, I’m done sleeping now. Mama, take your boob out. Mama. Mama. Hey, mama. MAMA!
So anyways, baby girl was sleeping, and I needed someone to photograph. That someone turned out to be me.
And I took the WORST, the WORST, photo of myself I have ever seen. Back fat on back fat, like a steamy relationship over my shoulder.
Needless to say, weeks went by. Weeks of spinach and step counts and egg whites. Weeks of trying to feed my angel while depriving myself. Because dear God, dear Heavenly Father, make me skinny, just a little. Dear God, Heavenly Father, I have a mountain of clothes from 2012, and I want to get those jeans above my knees. Dear God, above all, I don’t want to be fat.
And you know what?
I. AM. EXHAUSTED.
And also, I’m pretty damn sure God has other things to deal with right now.
What I’ve come to understand is this: I love my body in a really conditional kind of way.
I do not unconditionally love this beautiful body, this body that’s carried my compassionate heart and my curious mind for thirty-five long years. I do not unconditionally love my body, this body that’s made magic, grown miracles, and bundled up infinite grace in eight-pound packages. I do not unconditionally love this body that has paid an unrelenting tax with starvation and self-loathing. Always paying a tax, like, “here sir, can I be done now?”
After all that my amazing, glorious, tenacious, miraculous body’s done for me, I still only willing to love it conditionally. Oh, body, how great you’d look in those 2012 jeans. Just picture it, body. Now pay some tax.
And it’s a big but.
But now, I have a daughter. And that is some scary shit.
Dear God, dear Heavenly Father, don’t let her feel this way. Above all, don’t let her feel this way.
So I’m not gonna lose the baby weight. Not now. I don’t know if or when I will, and I refuse to even think about it. Because for the first time in thirty-five years, I’m not looking to upgrade. I don’t want a shinier model car, one with sleek sides, that’s all high-performance kinds of sexy. I don’t want to drive around in 2012 jeans.
For the first time in thirty-five years, I wanna buff and shine what God gave me. I wanna wax my hood and kick my tires and take my comfort cruise out for a spin, my baby in the backseat watching her mama shine.