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Aug 23 2013

Single Mother By Choice: Dating When You Still Look Pregnant

By at 9:29 am
baby jeans

My daughter has jeans that fit… but I don’t.

We’ve been following along with Emily on her path to becoming a single mother by choice. Her daughter is now 6 weeks old.  

Today I went shopping at Destination Maternity–again.

No, you didn’t read that wrong. Yes, I had my wonderful little baby girl six weeks ago. We’re having a great time getting to know one another. She is smiley, wiggly, and wonderful. She even sleeps for long chunks of time at night–knock on wood! But, she left me with a very stretched out uterus. In fact, my OB recently told me that I still have a 10 week sized uterus.

Big deal, so does Kate Middleton and she’s being photographed by paparazzi every day. Still, there is one thing that Kate and I don’t have in common. OK, fine, more than one thing! But, there is one difference that makes my experience of this still-pregnant-looking-body a more serious matter. I’m single.

I’ve tried to imagine dating and still looking pregnant. When I actually was pregnant, this notion was charming. I thought it would be fascinating to date while pregnant. I even wrote about it! But, now that my lovely little baby is out in the world and out of my body, I’d like to have my old dating body back. I actually feel awkward about the way I look. I find myself mentioning it to people, as if I’m trying to point out that I know I still look like I’m expecting. I’m self conscious about it, which also makes me feel guilty. I hate to think that a man would judge me for the current shape of my body and it makes me feel somewhat shallow to expect to be viewed this way.

To my unexpected glee, a few days ago my doctor told me that I could start exercising again. I was thrilled! I don’t think I have ever been so happy to know I could work out. I immediately contacted my yoga teacher to set up a few private lessons to get back in shape a bit before going to a group class. I also resumed lifting things (I had a C-section, which made lifting and bending virtually impossible for more than five weeks). Almost immediately, I felt more like myself. Just knowing I could have an impact on my recovery made me feel empowered. I started standing straighter and taking longer strides. I was owning this body.

So, yes, I went to Destination Maternity again. I needed a few new things and we are in a different season now from when I was 10 weeks pregnant. My uterus will take its time to get smaller, and I’ll do what I can to help nature. But, in the meantime, I’m going to make myself comfortable with the way my body looks and feels today. After all, it’s all part of the journey that made my little baby. Do I feel like I have my ideal dating body? No. Does it bother me a little bit that my 6-week-old daughter has jeans that fit her and I don’t? Yes. But, I am hoping that if I meet a man now, he’ll be able to see that my body has served me well and will continue to do so.

In any case, I fully intend to do the work required to be strong, fit, and healthy again soon. Not only for my hunt for a man, but, more importantly, to chase my little future toddler around!

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