For reasons that I do not feel compelled to share, I found myself standing topless in front of a full length mirror at 1.30am last night, observing what the ravages of pregnancy and four years of breastfeeding have left behind. I was expecting to see the layer of pudgy fat around my middle, the unfortunate start of bingo wings — and, oh, I did — and the inevitable downward slide of… well, let’s just say that I no longer do an unintentional sun salutation. Those days are long gone.
What I did not expect to see was that my belly button appeared to be off-centre. I peered closer… pressed on it… tried to smoosh it over a bit… but no, it stayed where it was. I have no idea how that could have come about, nor what particular aspect of pregnancy might have caused it, but the result was undeniable and staring back at me in the mirror… My belly button has migrated ever-so-slightly to the right.
As I stood there, half-naked in the middle of the night, feeling somewhat stripped of my dignity and now, apparently, stripped of my symmetry as well, I contemplated my emotional response to such an unexpected discovery. This could bother me. This really could bother me. Not that it’s important in itself, but coming on top of the pudgy waist, the flappy arms, the wobbly bum, and the face that is starting to look not only ever-weary but decidedly middle-aged as well, this latest bizarre assault on my self-image could be just the thing really puts me over the edge of irritation with the body I now inhabit.
I looked down at the offending indentation — no longer circular but stretched wide in that distinctively post-pregnancy way — and sighed. There is nothing I can do about it… The weight I can lose, the arms can be toned, the breasts can be trussed up with lace and underwires. But this I can’t change. My belly button is off-centre and that is that. I looked up again at my image in the mirror… and chose flattery:
I am Picasso-esque.