I think my favorite part of pregnancy ever is the cute belly. Maybe it's because when I struggled with infertility I was so jealous of that rich, round sign of impending baby. And maybe it's partly because I felt cheated out of showing off my belly when at 17 weeks I was bedbound for the remainder of my last pregnancy, and because I didn't get nearly as big as I would have liked to.
In any event, I love having a belly, and watching my bellybutton shallow out to a faint star in the middle of a heavy mass of mama, and trying to walk like a normal person when there is another person hanging out the front of my abdomen.
So now, finally, I am starting to get that nice, big, third-trimester belly. I'm carrying round. The rest of me is roughly proportional to my pre-pregnancy self (you know, from the two weeks I got back into those size 8 jeans before having to surrender them to the "clothes that won't fit for another year" trunk). Oh, and my second chin has even retreated a bit! But my belly has stretched the front of me from boobs to C-section scar with shocking evenness. And while I'm lucky not to look too chubby from the front, the belly definitely takes up the width of my abdomen too. I am by no means carrying small.
And I thought I'd paid my genetic dues last time, when I stretched from upper thighs to belly button in big, red streaks the cocoa butter was just barely starting to fade into shiny lines. I supposed that the postpartum shrinking had effectively nail polished the ends of the giant runs in my skin, so I could continue wearing it without worry that my runny-stocking skin would tear through the rest of me.
Naturally, I was super, super wrong about that. Now that I'm passing the limits of my prior belly stretch, I'm starting to get growing pains once again, and to top it off last night after my bath I found a new, tiny tear sprouting from the top of one of my old ones. It hit me instantly: I am going to have giant stretch marks from head to toe. By the time I carry this baby to term (and I WILL carry her to term), I will be that old stocking you thought you could wear one more time, but by the end of the night it was only a scrap of barely-held-together nylon gossamer, embarrassing you with its complete decrepitude.
Which brings me to a strange realization. Before that tiny rip appeared in my otherwise good-enough-after-delivering-twins belly, the technology that had most inspired my gratitude for living in this particular time was indoor plumbing. Screw the internet. But now, another holy blessing of invention shares that spot: cosmetic surgery.
Say what you will. Before this decade is over, I am going to see about having these shiny marks tattooed back to my normal skin color, and then having some of them just completely removed. I'm talking tummy tuck. I don't need a bikini body, but hey, I know when it's time to buy new stockings.