I have always disliked my belly, except during pregnancies.

I was just going to type the first part of that sentence because it felt true enough but then I remembered the way I felt when I was pregnant, like this part of my body that had always been the ultimate big boss enemy was suddenly my closest most beloved friend. I couldn’t stop touching it, I wore clothes that accentuated it, I loved my big bountiful belly right up until the babies were scooped out. (After that: DeflateGate, physically and mentally.)

Two c-sections and eighteen years later, I do NOT love this belly of mine. I’ve got that Apple Body Shape (boots with the fur) to start with, I’ve put about 20 pounds in the last few years, add in the body fat redistribution that’s going on with my aging/menopause progression and my midsection has really expanded its services, assuming “services” include “erupting Mount Vesuvius-style out of any and all fitted waistbands.”

It’s just so SQUISHY. It’s so…floppy! There’s a whole area that is right above my surgery scars that’s like a fleshy fanny pack that FOLDS OVER. I believe the term for this is “apron belly,” which sounds almost kind of nice, like it might be cute and flowery and come with deep useful pockets but NO.

(Also, the rearview! What’s even going on with my back, it honestly looks like someone superglued a whole dog team of Sharpeis on top of a melted pillar candle back there. It’s so STERN looking somehow?! My front says please and thank you and tips at least 18%, my back wants to see the manager right goddamned now.)

Sometimes I am able to big-picture my way out of spiraling over my midsection, sometimes I seem to exist in a state of feeling actively bad about it nearly every minute of the day, and sometimes I don’t care at all.

These varying mindsets likely have a lot to do with how I’m feeling about myself overall and what sort of problematic clothing I might be actively wrestling with, but it does sort of feel like a familiar rollercoaster ride: Here we go into the long coast of “meh,” but now upside-down into the Loops of Despair!! And then straight into the gravity-defying Viewpoint of Wisdom — my gosh just look at how small those other concerns look now — but wait here comes a hard turn RIGHT BACK INTO THE LOOPS!!!

Anyway. This is an area where I am not feeling graceful about aging. It’s a lot like how I feel about my under-chin area and rapidly-dissolving jawline: like, yes I have gratitude for the gift of being alive to complain about it, but also: I’m gonna complain about it.

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Hilary Achauer
Hilary Achauer
6 months ago

Omg SAME to all of this. Sometimes I can get into the “look at what my body can do” mindset, but mostly it’s “why are all my clothes so ill-fitting??” And I’ve always hated my belly as well, but I’m doing the old person thing where I look back to 15 years ago and wish I looked like that now. It’s rough.

Swistle
6 months ago

Oh god I am right there with you on all points, plus also my rack is deflating.

Jill
Jill
6 months ago

Yep…I totally can relate!! It’s so very frustrating and yet on some days I really don’t care. This stage of life is weird

Annie
Annie
6 months ago

I’m pretty much ready to give up on zippers and buttons on pants. Working from home has reenforced this. I’ve got day pajamas and night pajamas. And gunt is an alternate word for belly apron….

mcw
mcw
6 months ago

I’d love to make a shirt that says something like, Down with the patriarchy and my body is awesome, and actually embody that sentiment. Yet its so hard to block out the non-stop societal yelling about our bodies and feel pretty awesome about my own.

Nine
Nine
6 months ago

Yup. I look MATRONLY now. I have never had a desire to resemble a matron in any way, especially since I’m not married and have never given birth. Such bullshit.

I’m short waisted with linebacker shoulders and used to get away with it because I had a nice rack, now my rack is sinking and the muffin top is muffining upwards and I look like a baked potato no matter what I wear.

I work with people 20 years younger than me and they have body insecurities (difficult not to in an instagram/kardashian world) and i want to tell them to appreciate what they have while it lasts but I know they won’t listen because I look like their mom and I obvs didn’t try hard enough to halt the inevitable passage of time. Shut up, mom! OMG you’re so embarrassing!

I just used some old lady cream cleanser that you are supposed to tissue off (not Pond’s but Pond’s adjacent) and my skin just…. drank it? I tried a couple of layers of that shit and have still not reached a saturation point where there is anything left to tissue off. My skin care routine might need some tweaking is all I’m saying.

Also: FUCK PANTS

sara
sara
6 months ago

oh god yes, all of this

Shannon
Shannon
6 months ago

I am 54 and I hear all of this so hard. My whole life, it was hammered into me that when I got older, I would have to worry about wrinkles and grey hair. NO ONE mentioned the losing battle with gravity in the neck area and around the corners of the mouth! I love my face wrinkles and grey hair. The early onset neck wattle can fuck right off. After extensive panicky internet research, I came across a dermatologist who basically said, Sorry, it’s probably genetic and neck exercises don’t work, but there are two things you can do to help prevent it from getting more pronounced more quickly: always apply sunscreen to your neck (most people stop at the jawline) and stop looking down at your cellphone constantly. I started doing both of those things immediately.

Katie
Katie
6 months ago

Same. Same. Shitty ass same. Apple shaped from
Day 1= matronly midlife feelings. Don’t want to care!! But why do I keep caring? Ugh. Please keep writing. Instead of mommy blogs we need some midlife woman blogs for our generation.

Jenny
6 months ago

Mat Pilates classes have been very healing for my relationship to my bellies (yeah, I got two). I used to be told constantly to suck in my stomach by certain family members, and in tuning that out, I think I kinda tuned out that part of my body. Like I had no awareness it had work to do all the time. I noticed a difference at yoga and during certain tasks too, like sweeping and netting leaves out of the pool.

Sue
Sue
6 months ago

The “apron belly”? Also known as a FUPA. Fat Upper P***y Area. The backpack of Shar Peis? Also known as “back bacon”.
Ask me how I know…

Shawna
Shawna
5 months ago

I wear elastic-waist pants and shorts only, but the under-chin droopage? There is NO clothing to compensate for it!