By SHANKARI CHANDRAN
Dear Kate Middleton,
Thank you for being a friend. I’ve had four children in seven years, and an untold number of family size Kit Kat packs. The Kit Kats were for medicinal reasons, prescribed by… myself. My youngest child, now aged three, frequently pulls up my top and buries his face in what can only be described as a post-post-partum muffin top. Recently, at swimming class, I asked the three-year-old not to do this any more.
He asked me, “Why?”
As I struggled to reword “because it’s embarrassing for mummy”, my other son (aged four) leaned over and said, “Because it’s lumpy.”
Yes, it is lumpy. At night my two youngest boys take turns in rubbing my tummy. It’s just this thing they do. I don’t recommend it as a sleep cue but it’s all we’ve got at the moment. And, as you can tell, sometimes they rub my tummy during the day. In public.
I should exercise more but beyond running after pre-schoolers, there’s just not a lot of time for it in my life. I will get around to it, I swear. It’s on my list. As I stand in the checkout at Coles, clenching my pelvic floor and visualising my core (no, not really – I’m trying to remember what vital food item I’ve forgotten), headlines glare at me: How Kim Kardashian lost 10kg in a week, Kim says “I love my post-baby body”.
Although I’ve never thought of Kim Kardashian as a role model (please God, let her never be a role model), the post-baby photos are annoying, unrealistic, unfair and some of them are airbrushed and carefully staged. I don’t need to see it – and I feel sad that so many of those celebrity women who have just had babies, feel the need to do it.
After each of my babies, I have left the hospital looking pregnant. My mother-in-law tells me it’s trapped wind. I love my mother-in-law so I just nod. She may be right. She makes me eat buckets of cooked garlic which she swears is the remedy back in her village in Sri Lanka. Sure enough, it makes me pass the most garlicky gas you can imagine. Actually, don’t try to imagine it, it’s noxious. After a few weeks of alienating loved ones, my tummy has “deflated” a little and then my body and I step onto a path familiar for many women. My tummy’s not awesome, it doesn’t look like Miranda Kerr’s did post-baby, but then neither do I.
So when I saw you leave the hospital with the baby, William and your baby-bump, I just wanted to fly over to London, push through your security entourage, risk arrest and high five you.
Thank you for wearing your bump, not hiding it. If the weeks and months ahead are hard, feel free to take a break, and have a Kit Kat.
Much love and all the best with the baby,
Shankari Chandran is a former social justice lawyer who has finally finished writing her first novel. In her free time she is obsessed with researching how many times her favourite writers were rejected before they were first published. She has four children and a husband whose lives she chronicles on her blog, duckformation.