Last year for Christmas, either my sister or her husband had me in the “immediate family” Secret Santa gift exchange. Whichever one of them it was got me a gift certificate for a pair of jeans from a custom-fit jeans company based in the Bay Area, good for one year from date of purchase. At the time, I was really excited about the idea of having a pair of jeans that was made specifically to my body type and shape, since finding jeans that a) fit, and b) look good on me (specifically my giant ass), and c) don’t cost ONE MEELYON DOLLARS is a dicey proposition at best. My very, very muscular legs and butt and odd torso-to-leg-length ratio have never been easy to fit, even when I was at my thinnest adult size (probably right around the time Dan and I met, although I might have been smaller during the post-college-boyfriend breakup time because I didn’t eat anything for about a month). It seems as though while I keep getting older and getting larger, I’m getting larger proportionately, so I have the same issues in finding good jeans no matter what size the label says I am.
It was a great Christmas present. But I was also 5 cycles in to trying to get pregnant and so I decided to put off ordering the jeans, thinking for SURE I’d be pregnant within a month or two and wouldn’t be able to wear them for a long, long time, so maybe I should wait and see what my body would turn out to be like post-pregnancy? I put the folded up printout of the groupon in the book Dan gave me for Christmas (Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants) and pointedly didn’t think about it. Or if I didn’t get pregnant right away, I’d for sure be losing some weight soon (something I intended to do before getting knocked up so seeing the numbers go up on the scale wouldn’t be quite so horrifying), so I should wait to order the jeans until I was at my newer, more svelte size. I didn’t think about it some more as the months went on, and I still didn’t get pregnant, and even though I was spending an average of eight hours in the gym a week, I wasn’t getting any smaller.
I had my body fat tested at my gym in early July, before we went on our long cross-country road trip, and the calipers said I was at a low-normal 18.6%. I knew that I wasn’t going to be getting any smaller unless I stopped lifting weights or stopped eating altogether, so I gave up on the idea of shrinking and tried to make peace with my Williams-sister-esque body. At the time, we were about to make the decision to start the testing process to see why, precisely, I wasn’t getting knocked up, and if it was due to low body fat or overexercising there was no way I wanted to make things worse by trying to lose weight or stepping up the exercise. (It wasn’t, obviously, because that would be easy to solve.) In the back of my head, I knew there was a pair of custom-made jeans just waiting for me to order them, but I thought once we had the testing done and we knew better about what was going on that we’d be able to fix it and I’d get pregnant and that would be that.
Once we had the test results in, it was clear that there was no easy fix. And then we moved to California, and all of our books got packed up in boxes, trucked to California, and have been living in the garage ever since, just waiting for their next journey to wherever we settle once one of us (or both! please let it be both, soon!) gets a job. Of course, all of our books included Odd and the Frost Giants – stashed somewhere in the 20-some boxes of books we moved from Colorado.
Since we’ve been here in California, Dan and I have done our best to stay physically active and to eat as healthily as we always have. I will admit that I’ve eaten more bread in the last two months than I ever did in a full year in Denver, but that’s only because bread here tastes SO GOOD. But other than that, our diets haven’t really changed – we eat mostly fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and good fats, with some chocolate every day because what is life without chocolate? We’ve been going on long bike rides at least once and sometimes twice a week, and on the days we don’t ride our bikes we’re doing yard work, house projects, and several days a week do 15 minutes of dedicated exercise in the house, him with his sledgehammer and me doing crunches, leg lifts, lunges with free weights, jumping jacks, and pushups. It’s not an hour or two in the gym every day like I used to do, but it’s better than nothing. I thought maybe if I wasn’t doing a lot of weight lifting for a while, some of that muscle I had would atrophy a bit and I’d shrink again, and on Thanksgiving I wore a pair of pants I hadn’t put on since last spring, and they fit quite comfortably, so I don’t think I’m getting any bigger.
This morning, I stepped out of the shower and looked at myself in the full-length mirrored doors of the master bedroom. What I saw made me feel horrible. I had a big body image freakout, and had to spend a few minutes talking myself down from the dysmorphia demons that seem to lurk around every corner. Then, I looked at the calendar and realized I needed to use that custom jeans groupon soon, or I’d never be able to use it. Luckily, Dan thought he remembered which box held the book with the printout and was able to find it pretty quickly – “It was right on top!” he said. I began the ordering process with a sinking heart, because I knew I’d have to put in some actual body measurements.
My waist may be larger than it was when we got married, but it isn’t with additional fat, just additional muscle. Nevertheless, it made me want to punish myself for being bigger than I’ve ever measured myself in my life – one of the main reasons why I almost never measure myself and never weigh myself, because the numbers make everything worse, even worse than looking at myself naked in a full-length mirror.
Jeans successfully ordered, I started to think about why it had taken me so long to get around to doing it. I knew that I wasn’t getting any smaller, and I certainly wasn’t getting pregnant like I thought. I guess it was just the last vestige of hope, that one bit of magical thinking that if I ordered the jeans, it was truly admitting that I wasn’t going to get pregnant at all without that serious medical intervention. I was admitting that my body wasn’t the ideal shape and size I’ve been fighting since childhood to have, and it really isn’t ever going to be that way again unless I contract a wasting disease or fall back into those old horrible disordered eating patterns. I just hope that the custom jeans make my ass look good enough that I won’t care it’s so many sizes larger than the jerk in my brain tells me it should be.
Maybe, with the right amount of luck and hard work, I will get pregnant someday. And I guess post-child(ren) my goal will be to get back into those custom jeans I ordered on December 2, 2010, when my body was at a healthy shape and size, I was strong enough to ride 33 miles on my bike, or go on a 12 mile ride and feel like it was easy. But if I never do? If I’m only able to wear those custom jeans for six months, and I’m never able to wear them again after the hypothetical babies come? It will still be worth it, because I’ll have a physical record of what I looked like, what my body shape and size were, right at this moment in time.