Mom bodies vs. childless bodies

How is a childless body different?

Having babies does a number on your body. How could it not? Think about all the changes that come with pregnancy, childbirth and nursing. If you have any doubts about the motherly body, read this article from the Telegraph, “Does Having Children Make You Old?” Follow it up with my 2012 blog post detailing the changes pregnancy imposes, including weight gain, back problems, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, incontinence, changes in breast size and shape, and stretch marks. On the good side, women who have given birth have less risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. Also, you get a ticket to the grownup table as a full-fledged member of the Mom Club.

I have written here before about how I feel younger than my peers who have kids. At a funeral for my cousin last week, I found myself gravitating toward the younger cousins because I felt like we had more in common. I’m aware of my age—another birthday coming in three weeks. I know I look like somebody’s grandma, but my life is so different from those of the folks clustered around their children and grandchildren. Lacking husband or children, I found myself hanging out with my father and my brother. “What are you, six?” my sister-in-law scolded me at one point. Maybe I am.

From the outside, I look just like my mom, except with glasses and straight hair. She had two children and that probably changed her body, but I still feel like a clone. It’s hard to imagine what having a baby would have done to me. I can read the list, but I can’t feel it, you know? Besides, I’ve seen lots of moms who look great. I guess those of us who never got pregnant will never know what it’s really like.

What do you think about all this? Read the article and let me know.

Forgive me if this post is a little wonky. Some of those kids at the funeral gave colds to their parents which they generously passed on to “Aunt Sue.” Not having kids around means I hardly ever get sick. One of the benefits.

Visiting the family

Hi. I haven’t posted because I’ve been on the road for the last week. It was time to visit the family in California.

I imagine this sort of visit would have been much different if I had kids. As it was, I traveled alone, stayed with my father and went almost everywhere with him as my companion. The only difference between now and thirty years ago is that we’re both much older.

I left Dad home to have lunch with my stepdaughter. I really enjoyed that lunch. Now that we are both adults and her father is gone, it’s more of a “friend” relationship than any kind of mother-daughter thing. It’s two people with some shared history, memories of the same man, and a lot of affection for each other. We talked about school, work, money, men, food. . . She has two grown children and a granddaughter, but she’s single, and her kids are off on their own. It’s amazing to me that I have this smart, gorgeous woman in my life.

Unfortunately my father doesn’t feel any desire or obligation to connect with her anymore now that Fred is gone.

We visited my brother and his wife, who live about three hours away from Dad. Their daughter, my niece, came for a couple hours, but I spent more time with their dogs. With them, there is no awkwardness, just instant adoration.

Saying goodbye to my father just killed me. He’s very old, and I’m always afraid I won’t see him again.

If I had kids and grandkids, I imagine that would we would be one of those big groups going out to eat together, hanging out at one of their houses, talking, playing games, cooking, doing dishes, looking at old photos . . . Dad would be absorbed into this group.

Instead, we both travel solo. Last night, I got seated in the far corner of a restaurant where nobody else was eating alone. The jolly waitress called me “Hon.” I sipped chardonnay and read a book called “Going Solo.”

I should be home and reunited with my dog today. Talk to you soon.