(I wrote this in Aug 2009, as a response to my first outing post-baby. The piece appeared in my column Chickwit in Hindustan Times)
“I expected you to be fatter,” he said, accosting me at a house party. The chronic smug singleton was visibly shocked at my reappearance in the circuit in what was almost my old form, pre-pregnancy. Funny thing is, he looked disappointed, as though I had proven him wrong, or beaten him at the ‘I bet she will never get back in shape’ game.
I told him I had good genes, but it was clear that I had the will to get my life (and body) back post pregnancy. However, it got me wondering. Shouldn’t he be happy for me if he is a real friend? Shouldn’t there have been delight and not disappointment in his eyes upon sighting me?
What he is actually thinking is, “Hmmm… it’s not all that bad then to get married and have babies. She can still score..”
What he is not saying is, “I love how you can have a baby and not lose yourself.”
What I am thinking is, “Did you actually expect me to be a fat cow, you loser!”
What I am not saying is, “Why is motherhood=loss of sex appeal=out of the game?”
The fact is, I just wanted to ‘get on with it’ and fill my life with other things that also deserved my attention besides the infant. That simple. No glorious motherhood theories there.
People live their lives by extrapolation. What they see around them, they apply to themselves and visualise. If it doesn’t work, they reject it. It’s a great way of not changing the course of one’s life. The thing about the chronic smug singleton is that he/she always finds excuses to feel happy about not being in your shoes.
If you don’t show up at social dos post a change of status to mother, you are a sad sack who has no life, who cannot multi-task, who probably has a low body image, who is probably so emotionally overwrought that she could actually be bad company.
If you do, you are a careless mother.
If you get back into shape, you obviously care more about yourself than a new mother usually does.
If you don’t, you are just another new mom who has lost herself in her baby.
Which brought me to…Am I also guilty of ‘Been there, done that’? Perhaps I am. Like once-upon-a-time, I would look at married couples who barely spoke to each other, let alone laugh, and think, “That’s how relationships decay,” and then feel happy about being single.
Clichés are a double-edged sword. Damned if you fit, and damned if you don’t. This is how it happens.
Scenario one: Girl gets married. Girl has no time for friends. Girl disappears.
They say: “We knew it…”
Scenario two: Girl gets married. Girl still hangs out with old friends, with or without husband.
They say: “Something must be wrong. Why is she hanging out with us? Doesn’t she have a life?”
Either way, you lose. At least they think you do.