About a month ago I tricked Z into admitting that going through pregnancy and giving birth has noticeably aged me. I know. I am an enormous jerk.
My self-loathing issues have been so toxic that for years Z wouldn’t comment on my appearance at all. He learned to hate and fear giving me compliments because I would accuse him of lying. Yeah, I was really unwell. So it was a huge deal that he engaged me at all when I brought up the issue. He’s been giving me tons of compliments since I got pregnant and I’ve been trying really hard to just take them. I only mutter denials under my breath about half the time and I rarely accuse him of lying anymore. Big big progress.
I’d been thinking about the aging after pregnancy thing for months. I think part of it is because lots of women (like me) are waiting to have kids later. The body really doesn’t bounce back the same way when you are 32 as it would when you were 22. And going through pregnancy and childbirth is a real trauma even if nothing goes wrong. Bottom line, you have a kid and you instantly look older. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less but it is always there.
So I told him that was my theory. He thought about it for a bit and said he agreed. I said I thought I definitely looked older. He very kindly said “Yeah, but you still look younger than you are.”
Ah ha! I got him! I quickly asked what specifically looked older. He looked like a deer in headlights as he realized what happened. He told me he would no longer be participating in the conversation. And that was the end of that.
So two things.
First of all I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Z is to be pitied and he puts up with a lot. To those of you who know him please remember this story and be really nice to him the next time you see him. Buy him a beer or something.
Second there should be a petition titled “Damn it! Why aren’t you telling us this stuff?” which lists all the crap that happens during pregnancy that no one tells you about and it should be submitted to companies that publish pregnancy books. The whole aging issue should be at the top of the list.
Looking older certainly isn’t the end of the world, but come on. I would have like to know so I could have been more emotionally prepared. And I’m sure there are lots of shallow gals just like me out there.