I peeked around the change room corner, took a deep breath and sprinted to the communal showers hoping no one would notice that my bathing suit didn't fit.
No such luck.
"Oh!" one of Hudson's teachers said, nearly colliding with my wiggly boobs and stomach, both spilling out of my suit. She smiled nervously as if trying to conceal her alarm.
Her lips were saying "you just had a baby," but her eyes were begging to understand why a mother would come to a nursery school swim class looking like a porn star decades passed her prime.
"I'm so sorry," I muttered. "I'm nursing and I don't have another bathing suit right now that will, um, fit this well... I've got a lot of weight to lose."
I fumbled to cover myself with one of Ted's t-shirts but that plan fizzled quickly in the shower (again, nursery school is not the place for a wet t-shirt).
Every Friday Hudson's class goes swimming. Parents are strongly encouraged to come and help out in the pool. I'm on mat leave, how could I NOT go?
The thought of Hudson, stuffed up to his neck in a life jacket and bobbing alone in a pool of giggling parents and tots because I'm too vain to bare my thighs and (enormous) boobs in public, became too much. So, last Thursday night, hours before the morning class, I summoned years of therapy, wrestled down my insecurities a bit and decided to, um, take the plunge.
I made a three part plan:
1) encourage myself to be an adult: this resulted in several Stuart Smalley moments, standing in front of mirrors talking to myself:
"I'm good enough, I'm "thin" enough (lying to yourself is OK if it's for your children) and gosh darnit, no one will look sideways at me anyways!"
Besides, I reasoned, the brown line beneath my belly button looks, um, not THAT bad, and seeing my pancake butt and rippled thighs in the bright white lights of the pool deck will encourage me to hasten my weight loss efforts.
2) Do not try on the swimsuit or think about the class until seconds before it starts (so I can't rethink my brave decision).
3) Do not look in the mirror once swim suit is on and avoid eye contact with everyone
That's the part of the plan that didn't work so well.
I smiled pleasantly at Hudson's teacher while nudging my reluctant son into the shower for a pre swim rinse, then wrapped us both in towels. And, unfortunately I caught sight of myself in the mirror.
A week later I'm still exorcising those demons...
What a parent won't do for her kid!
I'm bracing myself, because I have to go through this all again tomorrow...