Getting to Davis from Sacramento, even far out east Sacramento where I live, usually takes 15-20 minutes max. Unless you go on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone is coming home from the mountains, so when you hit the causeway, where 80 meets 50, you’re in for the slowdown of a lifetime. 15 minutes became 50. I am not the most patient passenger, and getting cut of by a Ford Explorer who DID NOT signal only prompted comments about the possible size of his anatomy (which is why he had to buy that car). The husband made an annoyed sound. Not at the driver. At me.
We pulled along side a Greyhound bus (and Husband J said, “That’s a Greyhound bus. They still exist?”) and I instinctively put my arm over my belly. Because, you know, they could see down into the car and see that my belly was probably not as streamlined as I hoped it might be. For lack of a better phrase.
In that moment I travelled back in time. Over 10 years approximately, to about 25 minutes before son j was born. I was in the operating room, and after the third try (YES, THIRD!) the lead in anesthesiology yanked the needle away from his student and snarled, “Let me me do it!”. Finally, it worked and my spinal block was complete, and they carefully laid me down, and prepared to transfer me to the operating table. The nurse, whose name I never got, looked down at me, grabbing part of the sheet and lifting me against her belly, said, “That’s what I’ve got this belly for – it’s a cushion.” And she laughed. I laughed. I was fucking terrified out of my mind, but I laughed. And I thanked God for her belly. That belly, and her casual acceptance of it, saved me. She gave me something to cushion me, she gave me something to laugh about, and she showed me absolutely, unequivocally that her body was something she treasured.
As we continued on Hwy 50 I thought that this belly carried son j. It endured insulin shots, and bruises from those shots that didn’t fade for months. And I’d do it all again for him, even though every three days or so I’d break down in tears because I hated needles, so developing gestational diabetes was pretty much awful for me. Yes, I could probably be thinner, but on Friday I had a glass of wine (Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc 2015) sitting outside in the backyard and I saw a lizard! Seeing the lizard had to make up for at least an inch or so, right?
That nurse? She saw her body for what it could do, and she probably had no idea what she was passing on. I’m surrounded by young, beautiful women every day, and it can be hard, being 48 and a bit heavier than I would prefer. But I know what my body is capable of – carrying another human being, making it through the day. I’m appreciative of all that it does. It doesn’t look like the 20 year olds that I work with, and that’s ok. It looks like me, and I love all that it has done for me.
It’s damn time I started showing that.