Three-odd months* after BabyThree, I’m back in the “healthy and normal” weight range for my height. But not in the “happy and sane” weight range for my mind.
Many days, I feel fine. I feel healthy. I can even believe that I look exactly as I should for a woman who is nursing her infant. I thank the Lord for health, and I pass the Evil Scale with nary a second thought. Then…what? What happens to that sensible version of myself, to cause a sudden plunge into near-despair over a matter of what’s really a (relatively) small number of pounds?
What’s the deal? Why do I obsess? Is obsessing over my weight, or my looks in general, really such a great way to use my time and my oh-so-finite mental powers? Is my temporary exercise in full-bodiedness worth all the mental anguish? But—but—but—whispers the wicked little voice--what if it’s not temporary this time?
Well, what if it’s not temporary? Would anyone love me more if my skinny jeans weren’t so… well, skinny…right now? Would I be a more productive member of church and society, a better wife and mother, without these extra “lactationally enabling” pounds? And how narcissistic is it to think that anyone else really cares, or even notices? Another great Andree Seu quote: “Don’t worry about what other people think of you. They don’t think of you.” Self, get over yourself already.
My husband, a man of his word, and the person that should be my only mirror, avers that to him I look just as I should. And I believe him—in the sense that I think he thinks it’s true, and that it’s true for him. Which is fine for him, but not for me, if you know what I mean. Which is frustrating to him because he thinks I’m somehow disbelieving his sincerity, which I’m not. [By now I’m guessing that any brave males who might have persevered in reading this post thus far are despairing utterly of finding any sense here.] Wherefore a moratorium on the topic is imposed for reasons of marital accord, and yet I fret.
Do I really believe, as I often catch myself thinking, that I would be happier if I just could lose the last few “baby pounds” overnight? And if that’s true, then how shallow am I? And if it’s not, then why am I thinking it?
Would I really trade those ridiculous-but-profound preschooler insights, those tight toddler hugs, and that sweet infant breath for a figure that wasn’t spectacular to begin with and realistically couldn’t have been maintained for much longer anyway? Would I rather have had a few more years of feeding my destructive pride, at the cost of fewer names in the Book of Life?
So many questions. I know the right answers. Really, I do. It's just a hard truth to accept, as Rebekah has noted, that sometimes the best way to mortify the flesh is to feed it.
*Note the vanity even here: We're closer now to the 4-month mark than to the 3, but it's better to have a 3-month old than a 4-month old when you're talking about still having extra weight.