Pregnancy never ends.
I mean, yes, technically once you deliver your baby you are no longer “with child,” but there are parts of your body nowhere near your uterus that somehow don’t get the memo.
It is cruel but still understandable that your entire midsection is going to suffer. You can’t inflate a person like an ever-expanding balloon for nine months and expect things to spring back into shape when you suddenly let the air out. Likewise, you can’t attach a small vacuum to a woman’s breasts every few hours on repeat without eventually creating the appearance of a fallen souffle.
But my issue is with the weird stuff. The feet that permanently change size. The strange webs of spider veins tattooing the legs. The hair and nails that were pretty good before pregnancy, then fantastic during pregnancy, and then just kind of sad and defeated (not helped by the fact that you now neglect them horribly). Each of my mom friends has her random, newly acquired bodily quirks that seem to defy explanation beyond, vaguely, “hormones.”
For me, it’s the whisker. I am fair-skinned and have never been a candidate for hair removal; instead, I spend my money on powerful sunscreens and unflattering mom hats that shade my face. But sometime after my second child was born, I went to scratch an itch or apply moisturizer or I can’t remember what, and my finger brushed against something small and coarse just beneath my chin. It didn’t rub off.
Upon closer examination in a magnifying mirror, my curiosity turned to horror when I spotted a half-blonde, half-dark brown, thick strand about the length of a lower-tier eyelash. The voice in my head went from perplexed to enraged: What in god’s name is that?! Is that a f-ing WHISKER?! (The voice did not say “f-ing.”)
Determined, I immediately plucked the offending growth. And equally determined, it grew back.
Part of me hoped that the hormones accompanying my third pregnancy a couple of years later would “course correct” things under my chin. Also, didn’t the universe owe me a reprieve from this bizarre bodily indignity for having grown three new humans who might someday stop hitting each other and bring about world peace?
But alas, the whisker is apparently destined to appear, be removed and reappear, and on and on. Until I die and am finally no longer pregnant.