Did Wanda give the approval for that picture to be put up? :)
The next day, as I was swimming with my friend Nancy and all of our kids, Nancy said this: “Oh my gosh, your poor sister. Wanda looked AWFUL in that picture. I can’t believe she let you guys put it up!”
I smiled and shrugged. “Wanda says she doesn’t care anymore because she looks like shit in every picture right now.”
Here’s the deal, peeps: My older sister—whom I’m calling Wanda because I’m anonymous and use fake names for everyone, and I try to be as much of an asshole as I can about it (My apologies to any readers named Wanda)—is pregnant. Like, way pregnant. In fact, we’re expecting her to have the baby sometime this week.
And my sisters and I, well, we look terrible when we’re pregnant. A terrible that’s almost indescribable.
I remember when I was in my 7th month of pregnancy. My friends threw me a shower at a local Mexican restaurant. I was suffering from a severe case of reverse body dysmorphia, meaning that up until I saw the pictures that everyone posted on Facebook of the shower that evening, I thought I looked adorable. Like, Angelina-Jolie-pregnant-with-Shiloh adorable. No, make that Jennifer Aniston-pregnant-with-Shiloh adorable. (I’m sure Angelina and Jen will be completely relieved to hear that I don’t take sides, but I still think Jen is the more gorgeous of the two.)
When I logged onto Facebook that night after the shower, however, some pasty bloated douchehole was staring back at me from the computer screen. I quickly got on the horn to one of my girlfriends who had been at the shower.
“Hey, log onto your Facebook. Look at that picture that Jill put up of the shower tonight.”
“Yeah?” my friend asked.
“Well, who the hell is that ugly asshole in the middle, and how did she sneak in to photobomb our picture? Wouldn’t we have noticed her doing that, since she’s sitting in the chair at the middle of the table and she’s the size of a small car? I mean, that’s right where I was sitting…oh, Sweet Jesus…”
My friend waited silently on the other end of the phone, knowing that realization was just now dawning on me but not knowing what to do about it.
“Karen, that’s me, isn’t it?” I asked, mortified, yet still leaning in to peer more closely at the picture. I was holding onto a teensy sliver of hope that Karen would burst into laughter at the thought that I could believe that the Volkswagen that someone had managed to park at the table even resembled me a little bit…but Karen didn’t laugh at all. No, Karen just sat on the other end of the line, breathing quietly.
“It is me…” I whispered, now allowing the silent tears to fall.
“But you look—you look—um…adorable,” Karen finally said, and even though we both knew she was lying, I appreciated the effort.
So I called her a bitch, hung up on her, and finished my doggie bag of chips and cheese dip. Although I would later blame my reaction on hormones, I knew I would have done it whether I’d had a life-sucking parasite in my womb or not. Because that’s just the type of person I am.
Despite being careful with what I ate and stairstepping the shit out of Mt. Kilimanjaro at our local gym until only 4 days before my 2nd son was born (when they finally told me that they didn’t care if I was wearing Depends in case my water broke, they would not allow me to come back another day until the baby was born), I still gained 45 pounds during my pregnancy.
I yelled at my doctor about it during my 9th month. “Why the hell do you assholes tell us 25-35 pounds? You know I’m doing everything I can to keep my weight at bay. What’s up with that?”
He smiled dryly at me. “Twenty-five to 35 pounds is just a good number to strive for. I know you’re doing all you can, Shay, and you’re doing a great job. It’s just the way some women’s bodies are,” he explained, shrugging.
“Oh, yeah, Doc? Suck a ball,” I responded, grimacing and folding my arms over my bulbous stomach. But my outbursts didn’t faze him anymore; he’d been dealing with me for almost a year.
“Alright, see you next week, Shay. It was lovely, as usual,” he said, already on his way out of the room. I grabbed a container of cotton swabs and threw them at the door, but Doc was getting good. He was already most of the way out, the door swinging shut as he held his clipboard up as a protective shield over his face and head. Still, the cotton swabs hit the half-closed door with a satisfying thud and then crashed to the floor.
I allowed myself my first smile of the day.
Strangely, despite my awful and inexcusable behavior, they all loved me at the doctor’s office. One of the nurses once told me it was because I coined the term “Taint Swab” when they told me about a test they had to give me once. She said they used it all the time around the office when the patients weren’t listening. I told her she should start using it in front of the patients, and she said not all patients would let them get away with speaking to them the way I let them speak to me. So, a mutual affection, then?
MY, how you let me go on and on. Anyway, the point is, I looked as awful as I felt during my pregnancy. Physically, it was an easy pregnancy, but emotionally, it sucked. Two balls. Excuse me if I missed my beer, wine, occasional ciggie, and recreational street drugs. (Calm down, judgey readers. It was a joke. I totally still did those while I was pregnant.*)
It just wasn’t fair.
So on the day of my son’s birth, excitement set in—after all of the screaming I did to get the epidural. I was going to be done with this shit once and for all as the hubs and I had already discussed tube tying and vasectomies and bears, oh my!
And that’s when my asshole older sister Wanda sauntered in. One thing about us is that when we’re not pregnant, we’re pretty body confident. I don’t say that to brag, and it’s not like we look like freaking Kate Moss…although who really wants to? The point is, when we’re not banned from the gym because we’re 41 weeks pregnant and they’re afraid we’re going to explode and gush bodily fluids all over the stairstepper, we work out really, really hard, and it makes us feel good about ourselves.
But two years ago, as all 200 pounds of me were lying in that delivery room waiting to cough up the boy, the last damned thing I needed to see was my older sister sashaying into the room, her cute pink booty shorts and half shirt displaying her taught, flat stomach. Whore.
“How’s it going?” she asked, stopping by my bed just long enough to throw a ridiculous-looking party hat on my head and then squat down to snap a self-portrait of us. I grabbed at the camera so I could delete the image, but she wasn’t 9.5 months pregnant or lying in a bed getting ready to have a 9-pounder, so she was fast. I didn’t have to tell her not to post it on Facebook, though, because she lives like the kids on Breaking Amish, pre-breaking part. I’m pretty sure she wears deodorant, though.
I didn’t even answer her because I felt like my pasty-ass, wheezing face and lank, half dyed hair (I gave up around month 6) said enough.
So a few days ago, the day of the awful Wanda pic, I looked at her and gave her my best fake earnest face. “Will they let you have visitors when you have the baby?”
She nodded. “I don’t see why not. Do you think you’ll be able to be there?”
I then gave her my most evil smile. I’ve had 2 years and plenty of time to lose all of my pregnancy weight. “Oh, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Do you remember what you wore to visit me in the hospital when I had the toddler?”
She started laughing. “No, but I love when you tell the story.”
I hiked up my shorts and tucked them into my underwear. I flipped the hem of my shirt up into my bra as I walked around the room. “Just know that I’ll be wearing worse than this and looking damn fine while I’m wearing it. I’m going to head to the costume store and buy the skankiest pair of leather booty shorts I can find. No, even better—I’ll just go to Wal-Mart and get a pack of those flowered granny panties and wear those as shorts. I might even bedazzle Juicy on the back of them and give you a run for your money…”
Wanda and I burst into hysterical laughter because we both knew that no matter how much pregnancy weight I’ve lost or how many hours a day I spend doing Insanity, I’d still look like shit in an outfit like that. I’ve been blessed with a gut that doesn’t fail, no matter how much I work out or how well I eat.
But am I angry with God about this physical setback? Hell, no! Just the opposite, my peeps.
I fall down on my knees and thank Him every single day for this bulging monstrosity that rests gently atop my scrawny grasshopper legs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do one of my favorite things, which is to pull my shirt up halfway and stick only my gut into the frame when we’re at my dad’s house Skyping with my younger brother in Australia. It gets him every.single.time. He recoils in disgust, shouts, and then laughs as he’s puking into the trash can that he’s learned to keep by the computer screen in case I pull my gut trick again…and again…and again…
And then there was the one time when I was a teacher, after all the kids had packed up and left school. A few of my best teacher friends and I were standing in the hall gossiping, and I pulled my shirt up a few inches and stuck my stomach out just to be an asshole. It was back when I was single. (Whyever?)
“Hey, you guys,” I asked them, proudly displaying The Gut. “Do you think I should wear this as a belly shirt when I go out? Like, do you think it’d help me get a boyfriend?”
Two of the teachers’ jaws dropped as they stared at me, unsure of what to say. I could tell they were teetering back and forth from, “Is she fcking serious? She can’t be serious, and I’m sure I don’t really need to answer that question” to “But what if she is? What if she IS serious and I hurt her feelings by telling her that hell, no, she shouldn’t wear that thing as a belly shirt because if it’s making me want to hork right now, won’t it have the same effect on any guys she wants to pick up?”
Then another teacher walked by, pointed at my belly, and burst into hysterical laughter. “Holy shit, Shay, put that thing away!”
Thank God for kindred spirits. Because she got me, my peeps. She just GOT me.
And now it’s my older sister’s turn for The Gut Treatment. I'm so excited to be blessed with yet another opportunity to pull it out.
I only wish I could take pictures and share them with you all.
*Another joke. By the way, if you’re one of the readers for whom I have to clarify, then you might want to find a different blog. I’m not sure our senses of humor quite match up. Thaaaaaaanks.