Bulge of Honor
A BULGE OF HONOR By Alison van Diggelen If men gave birth, wouldn’t their bellies be status symbols? Imagine the scene this summer. There I was on the beach, basking in the sun while the kids played in the gently lapping water. Seals popped their curious faces out beyond the waves and pelicans soared above me in the cloudless blue sky. I had a feeling of being at one with the world, unwinding from the multi-task mania of family life. As a parent you know it can’t last, don’t you? But this time, it wasn’t my kids who disturbed my reverie; it was a bunch of teenagers and my own guilty conscience. The girls paraded along the beach in their itsy-bitsy teeny-weenie bikinis displaying their super-flat stomachs with nonchalant grace. I looked down at my lumpy post-two-kids stomach, which resembles a doughy pregnant one, perhaps three or four months along. My happy bubble burst to pieces. Sometimes, it’s hard being a mom. It reminded me of a biting scene in the Brazilian film “Bossa Nova”. The hero’s father is a topnotch tailor and while measuring a stout businessman for his suit, the tailor says, “The girth of a man is a measure of his wealth.” Ha! Can you imagine this applying to a woman? Or even someone saying anything complimentary about a woman’s round belly? Not on your life! Arguably, this statement may be a little out-dated, but there is still some truth to it. The basic fact remains. As far as fat tummies go, different rules apply to men and women. But, what if guys were the ones who gave birth? Wouldn’t this achievement be something to be proud of? The leftover bulge from producing two bouncing babies would be a status symbol, instead of something to be hidden under a big old beach towel or baggy oversized T-shirt. Perhaps, despite our modern attitudes to childbirth these days, with dads often being present in an active role, squeamishness still remains. For example, when was the last time you discussed graphic childbirth stories in mixed company? Perhaps part of the reason stomach bulges are an embarrassment is because they remind us of childbirth and the pain? For some mothers, it’s hard to believe that they ever gave birth. Some women I know do 200 stomach crunches before I’m even sipping my first cup of coffee in the morning. It takes a lot of perseverance and energy to achieve those rock hard abs. Not to speak of the juggling involved: children, schedules and sleep patterns. It makes me tired just thinking about how they do it. With all the roles we give ourselves as modern mothers, it’s yet another to add to the list. For me, however, achieving a teenage body is low on my “to do” list for the year. Despite the odd pang of guilt at the beach this summer, I’m not enrolling at the gym yet. Instead, I’m going to put my energy into a campaign to change moms’ and dads’ attitudes. Let’s make the mother’s round belly a “Bulge of honor” which says to the world: “I’m a mom and proud of it!” Can you help spread the word? In the meantime, until this radical idea catches on (and something tells me NOT to hold my breath!) I’m getting one of those tankini swimsuits. They’re almost as good as an over-sized beach umbrella for camouflaging the protruding midriff. Obviously designed by a mother with a great looking bulge of honor, like mine. © siliconmom Alison van Diggelen is the Editor of www.siliconmom.com, an online forum and resource for moms in the high-tech world.