By Megan Zander
For those of us who haven’t been pregnant in years and aren’t planning on putting a bun in our oven anytime soon, it can be hard to remember the details of what giving birth was actually like. But even if your youngest child is in college, the memories of labor and delivery aren’t actually that far away. In fact, we moms relive the birth experience every year, when we take on the dreaded task of trying to find a decent swimsuit. Here are eight ways shopping for a bathing suit is just like being in labor.
1. Clear your schedule
You can’t rush a baby into the world any more than you can force yourself to hurry through finding a swimsuit that doesn’t make it look like you’re wearing an inner tube around your waist. Things could go quickly, and you’re back home taking selfies with your new pride and joy before you know it. Or you could be stuck in a tiny room for hours with no baby or bathing suit to show for it.
2. Whose body is this?
After a winter of watching Netflix or being so pregnant that you can no longer see your feet, sometimes we slack off on things like shaving above the knee or dealing with our toe fangs. That’s why, when you hear screams coming from a hospital suite or dressing room, it’s not always from a contraction or because there was a loose pin on the floor. It’s often because someone got a glimpse of their naked self in a full length mirror for the first time in forever.
3. Good help is everything.
Just like a good server can make or break a meal out, having a helpful nurse or fitting room attendant is everything. They can keep your mood positive and upbeat, and make you feel that you can—and will—get through this! Or they can act like they’d rather be doing anything else, making you wish you’d never had sex nine months ago or that you lived in Antarctica, where you’ll never need a stupid bathing suit.
4. Kiss modesty goodbye.
Privacy doesn’t exist when you’re in labor. The same goes for when you’re trying on bathing suits. You may think having a flimsy curtain pulled around you is protecting your dignity, but really it’s creating a shadow of your every curve for anyone walking by. When you’re in labor, between doctors, doulas, nurses and the odd intern (or 12!) that always show up at the exact worst moment, your lady bits will see more visitors than Grand Central Station at rush hour. When you’re searching for a swimsuit, there’s a good chance your kid will pull the dressing room door open just as a family of six walks by, or the child in the stall next door will pop under your door right as your bare ass is exposed.
5. There will be swearing.
Contractions hurt. So can string bikinis. Sometimes a well-timed F-bomb is exactly what you need to push through the pain and keep going.
6. Eventually you find a position that works for you.
Whether it’s on a birthing ball, in a tub or on all fours, eventually you’ll find a position that’s comfortable and makes you feel like you might actually survive this having a baby thing. It’s the same with swimsuit shopping. You can be 100% convinced that you’ll never find something you feel great in, but then you pop that hip and push your shoulders back a little bit. Ta-da: Instant beach goddess.
7. You’re going to get cranky.
Having a baby and owning a swimsuit you love is awesome, but the process of getting there isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Odds are good that before the process is through you’ll either kick everyone out of the room or say something you really don’t mean. As a pregnant woman, your partner will probably forgive you, and your OB and nurses have heard it all before. But the fitting room attendant most definitely doesn’t get paid enough to tolerate that, so an apology is probably a good idea.
8. When it’s over all you want is food and sleep.
By the end of your ordeal, your body is exhausted. You’ve been at it for hours and you’re in desperate need of water, comfort food and a nice cozy bed. It’s worth it, though, because in the end you have something new that you’re head over heels in love with to take home: either a brand new baby or a killer swimsuit. Either way, you can’t wait to show it off.
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This piece was originally published by Megan Zander on Mommy Nearest. Megan Zander is a mom to twin three-year-olds who loves running and buttercream frosting in equal measure. Her work has appeared on SheKnows, Yahoo Parenting, Romper, The Stir, Scary Mommy and more.