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The other day, I was in the lift, holding a couple of grocery bags in both hands and keeping an eye on the little one who was in his balance bike plotting his next mischief, when a lady who lives in the same block as ours, looked at me and asked, "second baby?". I was quick to tell her that she was mistaken and it was just my tummy. She critically looked at me and pointed out her 'not so flat' flat tummy - "this despite having three caesarean". She asked me if I had a c-section too and although I was way too tempted to lie, I replied in the affirmative. Madam then wanted to know if I wore a belt and gave me a good hearing about how I should take care of the tummy and pointers on reducing it, which included, but not restricted to, drinking lots of ajwain water.
Little boy is three years now. Until the day before I delivered him, my huge tummy was celebrated. It was a baby magnet, with practically everybody passing by wanting to touch it, some even going to the extend of giving the 'tummy baby' a kiss, and all that it received was a 'wow'. Things Everything changed the moment I delivered. Soon just about everyone who came to see the baby was more concerned about why my tummy was still huge. In fact, there were times when I felt my tummy received more attention than the baby. It didn't matter how I felt. My reply, always has been how it took nine months for it to reach this level and hence it will take it's own time to go back. But I've always been tempted to question this notion, or rather, obsession of the post pregnancy tummy and the unwanted attention that it receives.
What if it doesn't go away? What if some clothes don't fit me anywhere? What if I don't look the same as before? What if I have put on weight? So what? People definitely need to stop giving silly, unwarranted advices oh 'how to reduce your tummy' to a new mom (or a relatively new mom or anyone else too for that matter). She knows. If she wants, she will. If she doesn't, so be it. Rather, you need to be empathetic. Be known that it might hurt her, offend her, even depress her. She doesn't need it at the moment. She has a lot more in her hands to take care of.
As for me, I've learnt to graciously accept it as a part of my motherhood, a reminder of that nine months of dreams and eagerness, and the endurance that my body underwent. This is my body. This is how it is. This is as real as it gets. And I will embrace it. Like my cousin sister told me during a light conversation that we had a few months after my delivery, "don't worry about it, Atheetha. It's only the first few months that you'll think about it as awkward. After that, it's going to be very dear to you and then you keep checking on it to see that it's still there". I think I'll hold on to her words than anyone else's because this is exactly what I feel now. My tummy, my body, my life. And I am happy even with it.
Oh, and yes, for those who want to know if there is a second baby on the way, I will definitely let you know, very excitedly, when there is a second baby. Until then, it's just my tummy holding onto me tightly and reminding me constantly that I am a mother to a little boy. 😉