So a few days ago I found myself in the Vancouver aquarium, having a dialogue with a complete stranger about our post-pregnancy bodies. This was inspired by a beluga, and I'd like to think a touch of sisterhood.
I was in the underground viewing area for the beluga tank, my four year old had her nose pressed to the glass watching the beluga swim lazy circles. I was sitting on the floor with my three year old in my lap. Sitting on the floor next to me, almost touching knees, was another mom with her daughter about the same age as mine.
I listened to the voices around me. "What's wrong with its tummy?" "Is that all just extra skin?” “What is that?" Aurora went around and around. The people watching her talked about her belly. “it’s so weird looking… why does it look like that?”
Then the daughter of the mom next to me asked the same thing. She turned to look at mom and said "why does he have a funny tummy?" I leaned over towards my neighbours daughter and said, "That's the mummy beluga. She had a baby, and when you have a baby your body changes. Her tummy just looks a different than it used to." My neighbour smiled at me. I had a bright idea and said to her daughter, "my tummy looks like that. I had two babies."
Mama leaned towards me and nearly whispered, "mine too". And that was it. There didn’t need to be anymore.
I just had a very short conversation about a very touchy, vulnerable subject with a stranger, where we admitted to each other that we both kinda looked like a beluga. Amazing.
Aurora swam another gentle circle on her back to show off. Thanks Aurora. I hope dozens of mothers see your belly every year and maybe over time we can make this postpartum body more normalized.
Doula at Sisterhood wellness Collective, Toronto