Holidays away in July and August might give you a nice tan, but that assumes you’ve managed to find a swimsuit to cover the worst bits of your anatomy whilst still retaining some semblance of style. Sometimes you just have to compromise. The garish monstrosity I bought after my second pregnancy does nothing to diminish my child-bearing hips, but boasts a reinforced stomach panel which stops me frightening the fishes. No, far better to take a holiday in November, when a fortnight trekking in Austria permits extra pounds to be passed off as insulating ski-wear and nobody can tell if you’re not breathing in.
Even my feet have never quite recovered from the spread of pregnancy, straining at my flip flops and appearing visibly more relaxed at the prospect of being encased in winter boots. The cooler seasons are just so much simpler to dress for. Invited to a posh do recently, I made the mistake of wearing my trusty fat pants under a cocktail dress to streamline the lumpy after-effect of too many children and even more chocolate. Encased in reinforced spandex from knee to nipple, I sweated my way through a three course meal and passed out before the band struck up. Summer is not a time for synthetics. Unfortunately I fear fat pants are a necessary weapon in my fight against the baby body-snatchers, who four years ago stole my toned torso and replaced it with something more gelatinous.
It seems it’s all the rage to ‘embrace the way you look’ nowadays, and to celebrate the miraculous achievements of your body in creating and feeding a child. Well that’s all very commendable, but could I not still acknowledge how clever my body is whilst retaining super pert knockers and a stomach you could bounce peas off? It seems not. “Why don’t you have a belly button, Mummy?” three year old Evie wanted to know yesterday. “I do have a belly button,” I insisted, “it just doesn’t look like yours.” She wasn’t convinced and I can understand her confusion. Stretched beyond all reasonable proportions to accommodate her and her seven pound twin sister, my post-pregnancy stomach is creped and puckered two years on, sucked into my tummy-button like quick-sand down a sink-hole. This is not the stomach I signed up for. It’s certainly not the stomach to be sandwiched between low-slung summer shorts and a bikini top, or stretched out on a St Tropez sun lounger. It’s a stomach to be gently coerced into a forgiving waistband and wedged into a sofa at soft-play. Ideally with biscuits and a milky coffee.
So I’ll be breathing a sigh of relief when summer’s over and I can once again dig out my comfortable, forgiving, all-encompassing winter clothes. I might not have good genes, but you can hide a multitude of sins under a decent pair of jeans.