The Unbearable Tragedy of Postpartum Jeans

A short time after my first son was born, my scale informed me that the blood pressure diuretics, fistfuls of Colace, and surgical removal of a tiny human from inside my body had all contributed to a satisfying 30-pound weight loss. Hooray! I thought. All my old clothes will fit now! Then I attempted to try them on.

It quickly became apparent that despite having returned to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body had somehow rearranged itself into a thrilling new shape. It was as if someone had taken ahold of my personal fleshy Play-Doh and squished it beyond all recognition. Why was my ass so flat? Why had my feet somehow grown a size? What was this horrifying business happening in my midsection that made my navel resemble a fallen bundt cake?


I chalked it all up to postpartum swelling, and for a while I attempted to get by on maternity pants. While I relished the feeling of something actually being too big for me, pretty soon they just looked ridiculous. Then for a long time I lived in two increasingly ratty pairs of yoga pants until 1) the weather turned wet and cold and windy, and 2) I began worrying they'd become sentient.

Exacerbating my problems was the fact that I had managed to develop a grave medical disorder known as "postpartum cookie-eating," which, I cannot lie, was the only thing that helped me survive those newborn weeks.

I missed having a pair of jeans that didn't threaten to wrap my internal organs around my spinal column if I did anything while wearing them other than take one constant inhale, and nothing in my pre-pregnancy size fit. In desperation I bought a larger size, and wore them exactly once only to realize that while the waist felt okay, there were weird and unflattering things happening to the lower half of my body. The bigger size fit not only my own ass but also possibly a secondary, backup ass. I wasn't necessarily opposed to redundancy, but they also required a near-constant hitch in order to keep the crotch from sliding down and chafing my knees.

I was hoping for some of that magic postpartum toning that celebrities always talk about, but it turns out A-listers LIE about that shit. Because when a star says she lost weight by "running around after her baby," that's code for "had low-carb meals delivered and worked out with a personal trainer eight hours a day." I'm just saying, if you're running after a newborn, it's because you dropped him down a flight of stairs.

It's hard to remember, but I think it was at least four or five months after childbirth that I was finally able to squeeze into a pair of jeans that didn't drive me crazy. I swore it would be different the second time around, but despite embarking on an ambitious fitness program two weeks after my second son was pried out of my belly, I'm pretty sure it took exactly the same amount of time.

Which is all to say, I think someone should launch a postpartum line of clothing. During those intensely awkward months, you need something different from maternity wear because you're no longer shaped like a pregnant woman. You're shaped like a ... well, in MY case I looked sort of like a partially deflated weather balloon, but I'm sure you were lovely. My point is, postpartum ladies need jeans too, and someone should get on that.

Did you also have a hard time finding pants that fit after you gave birth?

Image via Linda Sharps

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