Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Me, My Body, & My Wardrobe

If you are one of those women who has popped out a baby and within five days have reverted to the exact svelte shape you were before you conceived, you are abnormal, unnatural, and I hate you. Kindly go stick a bag over your head and lock yourself away in a dark room so the rest of us accursedly “normal” women don't have to look at you.

Admittedly, I'm not doing too badly as far as the whole body shape thing is concerned. The lack of stomach muscles is unsettling, particularly how gelatinous it all looks when I'm in the bath. However, a mere two and a half weeks after having given birth to a pretty large baby and after lugging around a bloody huge bump I can wear a handful of my tighter fitting black t-shirts, although none of the out-and-out girly ones yet which include my two favourite Darkthrone ones. Well. If ever there was incentive...

I still need a few extra bullets in my bullet belt, though. And none of my jeans or trousers fit yet due to what I shall call the “abundance” of flesh on my rump. In some circles this is a good thing. Personally? I like my jeans. I spent many months wearing them to a level of almost velvety comfort and would like to get back into them thank you so very much, not to mention my leather trousers. I'm confident that I can manage this, but first I'm just waiting for this sodding episiotomy to heal up. As it is a brisk half-hour walk with AJ causes unspeakable chafing and what the general public will probably consider some kind of initiation rite in order to become a fully fledged member of the Ministry of Silly Walks. So. A few more weeks and I should be back in kickboxing class and maybe if I'm lucky I'll be back in my leather trousers this December in time for Carpathian Forest.

The one upshot is that suddenly I've got the right kind of cleavage to wear things with plunging necklines, having gone up two to three cup sizes (depending on whose brand of underwear I'm purchasing) in the last nine months. Not so great on my wallet, but immensely satisfying in other ways. Plus the Impending Husband seems happy enough, as does AJ though for decidedly different reasons.

As someone who's had, shall we say, “issues” about food and body shape growing up this is probably a pretty healthy outlook on things. Or at least it is until I start looking for clothes.

Type in a search for breastfeeding clothes and you'll see why. Suddenly you're bombarded by images of smiling vapidity in the form of models who've probably never even held a baby, never mind had one. Yes, I'm sure the purveyors of these goods would whine and gripe about how they need to show their products off in the best possible light or they'd never sell. Bollocks. You don't buy a nursing bra because it's chic. You buy one because you need something that gives your suddenly bountiful mammaries much needed support while at the same time easy access to whip them out as and when meal time is dictated by your adorable little human.

A quick gander at images on Google for the search term “nursing bra” reveals hundreds of pictures. Out of a selection of forty, there are about four women who are pregnant. Any stretch marks appear to be conveniently airbrushed away and never mind the fact that you really don't need to breastfeed anything when you're pregnant, aside from other children. So those shouldn't even be in the bloody search. The rest of the images include a serious lack of stretch marks, and bodies that are disgustingly in proportion, evenly tanned, no linea negra or other pigment issues, a distinct lack of baby spit on their persons and worst of all – they ALL look well-rested.


Looking at nursing clothes is even more depressing. You have the same miserable issue of glammed up models gurning like vacant mannequins at you. The positive is that they're not flaunting their chiselled physiques. The negative is that THIS is what they're expecting you as a breastfeeding mother to wear – bland, mundane pastel tops which are the least offensive all the way down through to things with FRILLS. Seriously. Fucking frills. And smocked tops. Things I've despised since I was five or six and decided that what I really wanted was to wear big leather combat boots and boys clothes so I wouldn't get screamed at when I came home covered in mud. I am not a “girly” girl, though I can scrub up with the best of them when the occasion requires it or I bloody well feel like it.

At least there's some effort to make maternity clothes that cater to the likes of me. That, however, ends once the baby's here. I could probably customize a few outfits with some artful cuts, some carefully applied safety pins, and maybe a few band patches here and there but be realistic. I've got a newborn who needs feeding at odd hours of the day and night, as well as keeping on top of the laundry that builds up, fending off nappy rash, making sure the Impending Husband gets a few good nights of sleep in between the ones where he's gallantly helping me deal with everything, and trying to catch up with sleep myself. Time to customize clothes? Sod that!

My solution is probably going to be a jaunt down to the nearest military surplus shop to pick up a few army shirts from different countries that button up the front. Aside from the comfort and the fact that maybe the camouflage pattern will also help camouflage the baby vomit, they're a hell of a lot cheaper than most nursing tops and I'll probably be happy to wear them when AJ gets a bit older and is no longer dependent on the nourishment by mammary. The nursing bras... well. Some things are kind of essential. The outer layers, though – I'll just make it up as I go along. I'm good at doing that. So to hell with you overpriced breastfeeding products and your legion of vacant-skulled models. Go scam hard-earned cash off someone else. 

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