Friday, December 21, 2007

The vicious circle of life and my belly button

By Karrie McAllister

At this point in my life, I am most obviously pregnant.
With mere days to go, I strictly waddle and tend to groan every time I need to bend down anywhere near the floor. While grocery shopping, I lean on the cart like it is my life support, as if that cart is the only thing letting me stand upright and keep mobile while I toss in the food for the week that I will most likely be too tired to cook at home.
My clothes have all become snug in places they should not. Maternity fashion designers must not be realistic human women, or else the stretchy elastic band would start at the waist and continue down past the hips because those things tend to expand just as much as a belly during these glorious months. The cute wide-cut shirts made to fit over bellies don’t fit over so well anymore, so if I’m not yanking down the shirts, I’m pulling up the pants so that somehow, someway, the belly button that has recently become horribly convex won’t show more than it has to.
It’s a vicious circle, really.
And it’s something that any mother can relate to.
There has always been a special maternal bond among women. A woman may be just another woman, but find a mother and you’ll find someone you can talk to. A kindred spirit in the land of children, where sleep is minimal, hugs are worth more than money, and there are fruit snacks stuck between the seats in your car.
But no matter the age of your children, there is one short phase of a mother’s life that we all remember so well: the pregnancy. And seeing another pregnant woman must trigger some mental chemicals, because just the sight of one gives other mothers the will and the right to do two things: touch the big belly and tell their own harrowing stories of pregnancy.
Trust me. These things happen to me on a daily basis.
I’m not one for people patting my belly, especially with that whole convex belly button thing I’ve got going on. But I accept it because I know there will be a time in my life when I will be tempted to touch other bubble bellies too.
The thing that tickles me, though, is how women just love to tell their own tales of woe from when they were growing that little miracle inside.
“My feet were so big, I could only wear slippers.”
“I had Bell’s palsy and half of my face was paralyzed.”
“We had no air conditioning and I sweat for four months solid.”
And the list continues…
The greatest part about listening to women complain about pregnancies of long ago is asking them how many children they had, because most likely, for as miserable as they were, they had multiple children and went through the aches and pains more than once, even though they knew just what they were in for.
And I’m no different. For as much as I whine about the fact that it takes me a recordable amount of time to put my socks on and I can’t eat a meal without spilling something on my shirt, I know that sometime down the road I will see another woman with the tell-tale maternity muumuu and waddle walk, and if I don’t stop her and ask to pat her belly, I’ll at least tell her how bad it was trying to cover up that belly button of mine.
And I’ll walk away and think to myself, “gee, it really wasn’t so bad. I could probably do it again.”
It’s that viscous circle, but one we as mothers have every right to get wrapped up in. For as much as we complain, we actually enjoy going round and round and reliving what is truly a magnificent time in our lives.
That, and touching other people’s baby bellies.

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