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One thing that will never be the same after kids

Erin Zammett Ruddy

You guys know I don’t do the whole kids-change-everything song and dance. I still do all the stuff I did pre-kids, much of it better now. And I absolutely hate ever saying never, particularly about parenting. But there is something my children took away from me that truthfully will never come back…

 

My stomach. It didn’t seem possible after what went down in the delivery room but all of my body parts went back to normal. Except one. For me, the issue is twofold. 1. My stomach is jubbly. Or, as Alex likes to say, “your belly feels like jelly, mom—hey, that rhymes!” I actually weigh 10 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant with each kid. But my belly is, well, not what it used to be. And it never used to be anything that great. Basically, it’s a little bulgy and a little loose (gross, I know). And if I forget to suck it in, I could easily pass for someone entering her second trimester (with twins if I've had a big meal). Sometimes when I’m still lying in bed flat on my back in the morning I look down and think, Oh, wow, not so bad. And then I stand up.

 

I know plenty of moms who went back to having rock-hard abs (and rocking bikinis) after kids so this is not universal at all. Their ability to bounce back probably had something to do with them having good abs to begin with. Which is something I just wasn’t blessed with. As a girl, I always had spindly arms and legs and an expandable, muscle-less belly. Even when I was at my thinnest, you would not describe my stomach as hard. Flat, yes. Hard, no. I suppose this issue could be resolved with situps or Pilates or whatever stretching core-strengthening routine is currently en vogue, but I have never been a fan. Cardio, yes. Situps, no. I am happy to coast on the fact that my arms and legs are thin and (somewhat) toned. And there is still a chance we might have a third kid, so why would I bother? (At this point one of the only reasons I want a third is so that I can delay dealing with my belly bulge. Which is why we will probably not have a third.)

 

The other part of the issue, which is frankly far worse and not exactly fixable: stretch marks. I was blessed with super-fare, sensitive skin and regardless of all the creams and cocoa butter and “please-don’t-let-me-get-stretch marks” prayers I applied, those horrific looking red lines popped up daily while I was pregnant and are now here to stay. Seriously, I don’t know anyone who got worse stretch marks than me. They have faded quite a bit and are now just flesh-colored but my bikini days are definitely over. Which is actually fine since this lets me off the situp hook too. And will allow me to eat and drink this summer, something I couldn't do much of if I'd want to rock a bikini (see expandable belly, above). So I suppose it’s not totally the end of the world that my children have ruined me.

 

How about you guys? What does your stomach look like these days? I promise not to hate you if it’s tanned and toned and stretch mark free. 

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