Back in high school, I worked at my town’s country club in the pool snack bar. I spent two summers flipping burgers and mixing milk shakes for members’ kids (most of whom were wonderful, excluding one brat who ended an order with, “And make it snappy.” Wish I could’ve served him a slap upside the head alongside his fries.).
From the deep fryer-scented cubby of the snack bar, I had a great view of the pool deck. Even though at that time in my life I swore I’d never have kids (the thought of childbirth completely freaked me out), I admired the pregnant moms who lounged in the sun or chased after sunscreen-streaked little ones. I especially admired the mothers who bared their bumps in itsy bitsy bikinis.
For some reason, that image of beauty stuck with me. A big ol’ belly sticking out for the entire world to see says, I am confident. It says, I am growing a whole new life inside me, and I don’t mind who notices. It adds, I may have stretch marks and a new outie, but I don’t care.
So when I was pregnant with Peeper and outgrew my suits, I bought a new, bigger bikini. I loved wearing it in my prenatal water aerobics classes and to the river in the sweltering days before my July baby was born.
I’ve loved wearing it on vacation this last week, too. I’ve alternated with a more modest tankini suit, too, but whenever the little stripey number isn’t too sandy or wet, I pull that on to play at the beach or pool.
This is not to say that every pregnant woman should wear a bikini; I’ve already written about where I stand on telling women what to wear. But we mamas should throw on whatever the hell makes us feel good.
The other day, my mom stayed in my hotel room while Peeper napped, and I went down to the beach. I lay on a lounge chair, watched the waves and read a meh book I borrowed from the hotel’s lost and found.
While I relaxed in the sun, Kiwi squirmed inside me. It felt as if she were giving me fist bumps from the inside. And then I saw her. Not as in I imagined what she’ll look like when she joins us this summer; for the first time, I saw her wiggle under my skin.
My book forgotten, I beamed. I first felt Kiwi move around 14 weeks, but having spent the last few months covered up in layers, I hadn’t yet seen that telltale undulation.
With my belly basking in the sun, though, I got the perfect view.