The woman with the kind eyes and warm smile approached me in the library near the circulation desk. I tilted my head to the side, the universal sign of "I want to be nice but have no earthly clue what you're talking about."
"I'm sorry?" I said.
"The sex? Of the baby. Do you know what it is?"
My head swung to the other side. What a weird question. I mean, babies make your brain a little scattered, but I think I can keep track of Libby's gender. Clearly, I was dealing with an insane person.
"I do," I said, trying to match the woman's warm tone. "She's a girl."
"Oh, how wonderful! And when are you due?"
Due? But I....
The realization that this woman thought I was still pregnant hit me just as the reality of her gaffe passed over her. We both had this little moment of silent panic while we decided how to proceed.
"Oh, I'm not...." I started.
"I'm so sorry!" she interjected.
"It's fine. Really, I..."
"Oh, I'm mortified!"
"Don't be. I have a four-month-old. I guess I just...."
"No! No. You look great. I'm so sorry."
"Really, it's OK. Honest mistake."
But at this point, I was talking to the back of her head as she'd turned to flee from me and the horror of the situation. I felt for her, really I did, but in that moment as the tears started to burn behind my eyes, I knew I needed to get out of public ASAP. I went to the rest room, where I stood in front of the mirror, turning from side to side to assess the situation.
Did I look like my pre-baby self?
Not a chance.
Did I look pregnant?
I mean, not to me. Granted, I was wearing a loose hanging peasant blouse that didn't do my figure any favors, but pregnant? I mean.....
OK. Maybe the tiniest bit.
Clearly, it's time to actually put some effort into losing the baby weight. Time to pack away the maternity clothes, stop avoiding the scale and get myself back into shape and to a size I'm more comfortable with.
True talk: I gained 55 pounds during my pregnancy. I lost 40 in the first few days after delivery, and another three since. So I'm floating around 12 pounds higher than where I was pre-pregnancy. Not the end of the world. But enough to make it so my normal clothes are just a tad too tight for comfort. And I like my normal clothes, so it's time to get to work.
I've dealt with weight gains in the past. The freshman 15 decided to hold off until my mid-twenties and at age 25, I actually weighed close to what I do now. That gain was so gradual, I didn't even really notice it until my brother, in the most loving and straightforward way possible, pointed it out to me. (Eric has this amazing personality trait that I'd kill for: He can say literally anything to anyone and somehow, it's never offensive. I don't know what it is, but I know for sure I do not have it. I can tick people off just by looking at them.)
I digress. Eric simply pointed out that I'd put on a few pounds, and at that point, I decided my best option was to join a gym. I signed up at Bally's, and was shocked to discover that I could barely make it around the 1/8-mile track without getting winded. I took it one day at a time, adding another lap every day, until I could run a full two miles again. I alternated running days with weight-lifting days, and after a few months, I was back to normal. But once I hit my goal weight, going to the gym became more a chore than something I looked forward to. Hundreds of wasted membership dollars later, I terminated my contract.
I stayed the same for a little while until a series of events led to the most extraordinary weight drop I've ever experienced. In the matter of two months, I dropped from a size 10 to a size 6 without ever lifting a weight or running one lap. All it took was being dumped in the most unceremonious manner possible by my then-boyfriend and the subsequent break-up blues that left me utterly uninterested in food. Seeing as how I'm now happily married, I'm not thinking this approach is the best solution for my current problem.
I tackled my weight again in the summer of 2012, in the weeks leading up to my cousin's wedding. I was a bridesmaid and, in an incredibly rare occurrence, the dress was super cute. It also was form-fitting and full-length satin. So that meant, if I wanted to look even somewhat decent in photos, I needed to tone up. I'd been back to running regularly for years at that point, so I didn't feel the need to amp up the exercise. Instead, I changed my diet drastically based on the advice of a celebrity who had recently undergone an amazing transformation. It was really simple: she said for a few weeks, all she ate was grilled chicken, brown rice and veggies for lunch and dinner, no snacking. I did just that, and by the day of the wedding, I needed two-sided tape to keep the dress up and in place.
(Ugh - this is where I have to tell you which celebrity inspired me, don't I? Do I? Blah, I do. It was Snooki, OK? The "Jersey Shore" train wreck chick. Whatever. She looks good! Go 'head, Snooki!)
My God, Insanity. After the first warm up, I thought I was dead. Not going to die - already dead. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see, thanks to the cascade of sweat pouring from my brow. I couldn't move. I couldn't speak. But somehow, I kept going and after a few days, I was obsessed. I was (and still am) so in love with Shaun T. He is the best motivator in the world. I felt so sore, and so happy and so psyched and...God. It's just so awesome. All I need is to hear Shaun scream, "Come on ya'll! Let's Goooooo!" and I'm so pumped, I can't stand it.
So maybe it's time to get back to Insanity. Or maybe bringing back the Snooki diet would be the easier option. Either way, I'm excited to start feeling more like myself again. And ridding my closet of any and all peasant blouses.