What do I wish I’d known before having a baby? That spending my days pretty much naked would be the answer to so many dilemmas. Living life, in only my underwear, during the first month post-baby did me good. No shame, no excuses. It was fabulous. So fabulous that I wrote a book about it. (No, I’m not a freak.)
Four-and-a-half years ago (when I was pregnant the first time) I was (stupidly) wishing I wasn't yet becoming a mom. Seeing that pink plus sign just three months after hubby and I tied the knot prompted a slew of unrepeatable F-words to fly outta my mouth while tears of fear streamed down my face. My young independent self ignorantly thought that becoming a "Mom" meant a swift trade of all aspirations and sexy underwear for a bunch of baby junk decked with dorky duck designs. According to random tales, "Moms" never have energy to do anything associated with their former life (especially anything that involves cute underwear). On top of all this shallow thinking about lingerie late in my pregnancy, everyone kept telling me to buy as many granny-panties as I could because: You'll never want to wear skimpy panties again! Motherhood… a real buzz kill.
And then there’s that thing about your body never being the same. Sagging, bloating, tooting, aching…. snipping and scarring in places that should never be snipped or scarred. I. Was. Petrified. New Mom = Boring Underwear = What the Heck Happened to My Young Free Life. (I’ve since grown up and wised up, thank God.)
When my first baby girl was born, I fell for her big time and instantly felt blessed (a feeling that’s intensified since becoming a mom of two). But back then, as first-timer - stuck in my C-section recovery room at the hospital, wearing those how-are-these-even-sanitary-mesh-short-things that the hospital gives you because I was too headstrong to buy the high-waist panties beforehand - I started plotting for how to solve the impending granny-panty prison sentence. My scheming went into overdrive when I saw my reflection in the hospital’s fluorescent-lit bathroom mirror: I looked like a stuffed sausage (and that was just from the waist up). I looked down at my legs: TWO stuffed sausages. Lovely.
And to think I’d been lucky with pregnancy weight gain (hovered around the doc-recommended 30-35 pounds both times). But: No matter how much or little weight you gain during pregnancy, your body will look, feel and act differently after you have that baby. How can I fix and/or reverse this and start feeling good about my post-baby bod? A quick and delirious solution came to me, standing on my two sausages:
IF NEWBORNS COULD SPEND ENTIRE DAYS IN ONESIES, THEN SO COULD I.
It was warm outside when my first girl was born, so why not take care of her in my undies? Between feeding, rocking, changing and wiping my new baby’s little butt, I spent ridiculous efforts resurrecting frilly robes, lace-trimmed camisoles, cropped tanks, push-up bras, boy-short panties (the kind that didn’t bug my C-section stitching)... and even bought some high-waist cotton panties in bold colors and prints. It was my home, my baby, my body… and I was adamant about doing what I pleased. I cleaned my apartment in my undies. I washed bottles in my undies. I ate bagels on the couch while watching bad reality TV as my babe napped in her bassinet… in my undies. For a month. You can imagine the scramble when the UPS guy rang the doorbell.
Just as I’d hoped, I began to feel liberated, comfortable, oddly-inspired and more like my before-baby self every day... which made me a happier parent. Keeping an intimate relationship with that postpartum vertical dark line down the center of my belly, my puffy tummy and thicker-than-before mid-section served to desensitize me. I needed to see my new body and all it’s weird new markings - in full form, every day, all day – so that I could get used to it (instead of just glimpsing a fleeting moment of it here and there when I showered, only to feel out of place in my own skin).
Living, breathing and eating in my scanty 'wardrobe' encouraged me to accept my changed body. I was inspired to not judge myself every time I passed a mirror. As we all know, if you see something surprising over and over again, it doesn’t faze you as much than if you only see it once. Inciting a personal postpartum panty-palooza after having each of my baby girls (twice in two years) made me feel strong, happy and capable... and loved.
Committing to keeping my cute underwear out of my drawers soon led to washing my hair regularly, wearing lipstick like I used to and getting my energy back quicker than a lot of my stay-at-home mom friends at the time. I fully credit my underwear obsession for bouncing me back - mind, body and spirit – in just a few weeks post birth. It worked… it worked!
The more that us women really learn to see ourselves in our underwear - and accept the bits and pieces that look and feel differently after becoming new moms - the faster we can become happy, appreciative, respectful and kind to ourselves concerning how our bodies change post-birth. That's a good thing for any new family.
Here’s to every brand new mom getting (semi) naked every day, all day, for the greater good… And yes, I sometimes still rock the panty raid for old time's sake. But don't come knockin' on my door for a show.
Jill Simonian is a TV/digital Parenting Lifestyle Personality and mom of two young daughters. Her blog, TheFABMom.com, keeps life focused after babies (f-a-b). Jill's debut book, The FAB Mom's Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby (Skyhorse) is a frank, motivating and resilience-building read -- with celebrity stories and expert tips sprinkled between -- to boost any first-time mom's mind, body and spirit.