Maternity and Me, How I Embraced My Mom Bod

by Katherine Shaw
Katherine Shaw

An online “article” categorized my specific belly shape as “Mom Bod.” Unfortunately, the phrase Mom Bod doesn’t share the same endearing ring as Dad Bod (not fair). But don’t worry – if you have Mom Bod, there’s plenty of reasons to embrace your shape.

Take a few of my experiences into account:

#1 Clothes That Feel Tailor-Made 

My favorite article of clothing ever was a striped sweater found on the 50%-off rack. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this roomy sweater created the illusion that I had an hourglass figure; the stretchy fabric hid what I can only describe as my lumpy Russet potato waist.

Don’t get me wrong – I love potatoes and I’ve grown to appreciate the bits of my body that flop outside of waistbands (I’m single and don’t have anyone’s hand to hold, so I tenderly hold onto my stomach whenever I need a warm embrace).

But after a few months of wearing this magical sweater, I realized the size tag had a mysterious little word at the bottom: MATERNITY.

Initially, I was ashamed by this discovery. Why? Apparently, clothing size “means” something in our society. A size 4 is “better” than a size 14. And a size 14 regular is better than a size 14 MATERNITY.

Note: I do not wear a size 14, maternity or otherwise. I recall that I fit into a size 14 for three days when I was 14 years-old. Back then I was still hellbent on starving myself into “regular” clothing sizes.

With time, self-compassion, and realizing that dieting puts everyone within 6 feet of me at risk of hanger-induced homicide, I slowly let go of the notion that maternity clothes were shameful.

Do your Mom Bod a favor and flaunt those belly bits in clothes that fit! Who cares if your clothes just so happen to be maternity? Maternity clothes are sexy! How do you think those ladies got pregnant in the first place, hmm??

#2 Guilt-Free Calorie Consumption

In 2015 I gained a substantial amount of weight. It was partly due to depression and mostly due to having a job where my breaks were constantly interrupted by coworkers – I never had time to eat! By the end of the day, I was ravenous and comforted myself with a meal of cheese covered in a layer of melted cheese. It’s not an uncommon story. Coworkers started noticing the cheese weight, then had the audacity to “politely” comment on my body.

I did what any sensible woman would do: I began telling coworkers that I was pregnant.

The pregnancy wasn’t a complete fabrication. I was sort of “with child.” By that, I mean my inner-child that had no concept of portion control (but my coworkers didn’t need to know that).

Pregnancy seemed the best way to escape their fat-shaming. Unlike cheese, there were limits to the amount of unnecessary commentary I was willing to consume. But I was also too wary of conflict to initiate the MY BODY IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS conversation.

My fake pregnancy lasted a long time. At one point I realized I’d been “with child” for 19 months. What I found most insulting about this experience was that no one offered to throw me a baby shower. Yet they had all these “helpful diet tips” when they thought I was just fat. Pfft!!

The more probable explanation – that my perceived unstable mental state made them fearful to broach the subject of my pretend pregnancy – was not taken into consideration until, well, now…

#3 Increased Personal Space

Last October I took a trip to LA and there were simply too many people around me. I understand from Wikipedia that it’s the second largest city in the U.S., but couldn’t these people at least try to adhere to my personal bubble requirements? It’s a modest 6-foot circumference and it serves two purposes: to keep my socially-anxious self safe from people and to spare said people from my sole defense mechanism, resting bitch face.

Reluctant to ruin my friend’s vacation due to my hermit-like nature, I remembered my Mom Bod and all its fringe benefits.

One benefit of the I’ve Got a Bun In the Oven performance (it’s actually a very complex waddle-while-patting-belly choreography) is that folks tend to avoid ramming into you. I’ve missed many “elbow to the tit” moments by transitioning into my alter-preggo-ego.

So, if ever you are cramped for personal space, just start dropping phrases like “my precious little miracle” whilst sticking out your belly.

#4 No Bullshit Dating

Dating is bullshit and I hate it. You can probably sense that by the aforementioned title of this section. One way to cut the bullshit and find out if a prospective lover is serious about you is to appear pregnant. But perhaps not on the first date.

However, by the second date I have a good sense if I’ll procreate with the person in front of me. This may seem hasty to some, but please understand that my INTJ personality makes me especially choosy when it comes to accepting even a first date. Needless to say, second dates are few and far between – and that’s when I get real!

To fast-track the unnerving “Are they down for some harsh monogamy?” stage of dating, I’m a fan of being 100% up front about one’s baggage. And what’s more burdensome than children?

This isn’t to say that children aren’t adorable and precious, and necessary for the continuation of the human line. But children require work and time and commitment. So if your date gets the vibe that your Mom Bod means that you’re literally about to become a mom, LET’S SEE HOW THEY PERFORM UNDER PRESSURE!

Admittedly, I’m not the best person to give pregnancy-forward dating advice. I’ve never had a pregnancy scare. My periods are very long and my relationships are too short to leave any window for my phantom fetus to actualize.

But I stand by my Mom Bod tips, for they’ve been the little miracle I needed in some very uncomfortable situations.

So go forth! Embrace the maternity section! And get yourself some nice threads for that sexy Mod Bod.

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