*For Katrin

Good lord.  I thought the weight of pregnancy would taper off at a steady pace.  Instead, I lost 18 pounds of fluid weight right off the bat, promptly gained back 10 of that eating Crunch n’ Munch (my breast feeding craving), and haven’t moved the needle since.  I’ve since ditched the Crunch n’ Munch, to no avail.  God, I miss Crunch n’ Munch…

I’m back at the gym, cringing in Zumba every time I catch my side view image in the mirror.  Who is that woman in the fat suit?  <cringe>  It doesn’t help that, when I do zumba, I look like Marla Hooch from “A League of Their Own” during poise class…

I’m not exaggerating.

To add insult to injury, my husband is one of those super athletic types that thrives on exercise.  He belongs to a soccer league, plays basketball twice a week, goes to the gym or jogs every day, and is generally an over-achiever that puts most of us to shame.  He claims he gained weight with me during pregnancy, but he still looks like this:

I’m only slightly exaggerating.

WTF.  Seriously?  You may think I’m crazy for complaining – he does look good, and I do like to look at him – but I have to push something the size of a watermelon out of my nether regions AND be fat while my husband gets to look like an Adonis?  What a crock of shit.  “Lights off, honey.  And stop fondling my back fat.  It’s not turning me on.”

It’s no surprise that I’m having trouble keeping up with my fondness for style.  (Since my big toe currently doesn’t fit in the wardrobe I’ve cultivated over time.)  I linger in my closet,  running my hand over the feel of leather or appreciating the intricacy of pattern on a favorite skirt.  Then I sigh, pull on a pair of maternity jeans (yes, still) and grumble about how snug they are.  I avoid mirrors that don’t hit me mid-chest (I’m not going to lie – my boobs have never looked better.  Thank you, milk gods!) and I wonder…will I ever fit into regular clothes again, or will I have to start shopping in the Plus size section?

Now, don’t get me wrong – I know some beautiful plus-size women who carry themselves well.  It looks good on them.  It does not look good on me.  I have limited grace when I’m normal-Jamie-size: I regularly run into walls, trip over the cat and discover bruises in places that make no sense.  (How did I get this bruise in my armpit?!)  Add 25-30 pounds to my frame and you have a walking disaster.  I shout warnings to those in the same aisle at the grocery store.  “Look out!  Here I come!  You’re bound to get side-swiped by my hip or clocked with my dangling arm flab as I reach for the tortillas, so don’t be ugly when it happens!”

I’ve discovered that the sizing some retailers employ – even favorites, like Target – would have me believe that I’m an elephant.  There is no way I’ve jumped 5 dress sizes, Target.  But thanks for the ego boost…

Other retailers go for the “make you feel smaller than you actually are so you’ll buy more” marketing ploy.  Now, I LOVE Anthropologie, but I am not currently an XS.  Yes, even I fall for this initially – my heart beats a little faster when I try on a medium and it engulfs me and I loudly ask the dressing room attendant to bring me a S and XS to compare.  Then my left-brain kicks in and I realize that of course Anthro wants me to thinks I wear an XS.  Then I’ll spend $148 on a t-shirt.

The dilemma is that I’m back at work and am occasionally in front of a client.  I have a total of one non-maternity business outfit that is comfortable (i.e. doesn’t pinch or highlight my fat rolls too much).  While I’m not delusional enough to believe I will ever again be the size I was in college – when I didn’t have any money and, hence, didn’t eat much – I would like to be able to maintain a sense of style and dignity. I don’t want to go invest in a closet-full of oversized clothes because my GOAL is to lose the weight, not succumb to the “this is who I am now” pitfall.

That brings us to today.  Today, Brian is complaining about how his jeans are “too big” and he doesn’t want to look like he’s trying to be Jesse from “Breaking Bad”.

Yo! I sell meth and can smuggle upwards of 45 pounds of it in my pants.

He’s asked me to go to the mall with him so I can watch his svelt self try on smaller jeans until he finds the perfect pair.  Because that sounds like exactly what I want to do with my Sunday – catch glimpses of my double chin in the dressing room trifold mirror while he models and shares motivational gems like “You just need to jog a couple of times a week and it will go away”  or “Most women would prefer to gain weight like you do – in their stomachs instead of their legs and hips”.  (Evidently, he’s taken a survey).

Meanwhile, I eyeball the rack of shapeless mumus and wonder if I could get away with wearing one to a client meeting.  Maybe with a cinch belt to liven it up?  Or a huge pair of dangly earrings that will distract from my outfit?  Why are there so many Hawaiian prints and loud colors?  It’s as if these designs want you to shout to the world “I’m wearing a mumu!  Look at me!”  When, really, doesn’t it make more sense to tone down the mumu?  Design a line in muted colors with nondescript patterns that don’t draw attention to themselves?  (or you?)

I realize that there may be a whole business opportunity staring me in the face: the opportunity to create a mumu with some style, some taste.  (And, no, I don’t mean spelling out “Sexy Mama” in gold sequins across the butt).  My mom is a seamstress.  Maybe I can pick the fabric and the general pattern and she can work day and night sewing a new line of designer mumus for me to sell online.*  (It’s okay.  She’s retired.)

Or, I could launch a reality TV series where the designers fight to create the most blend-in-able mumu that “husky” professional women could legitimately wear to a board meeting – and not get fired.  (That could be part of the judgement criteria).  If the CEO looks at your mumu and says “get out”, you don’t make the cut to the next round.  I’m actually surprised there’s not a reality TV show with this premise already…

Until the mumu line has improved, however, I’ve determined I cannot allow myself to purchase one.  As comfortable as it looks, I could never live with myself.  What kind of role model would I be for my daughter wearing a mumu?  Indeed, probably the same kind of role model that hefts around an extra 25-30 pounds and bellyaches about it.

Time to lose some weight.

*If you want to invest in the designer mumu line, post a comment and we’ll chat.