I have accepted that I will never get back the body I had before children. (Since I haven’t got it back in the first nine years after my youngest child was born, it seems reasonable to assume I won’t get it back in the next nine either.) But I have absolutely not accepted the body I actually have.
I have adopted a sort of passive-aggressive resistance by buying clothes that are between my two sizes – too big for the size I was before children, but too small for the size I am now. As a result, my wardrobe is full of clothes that can only be worn on very specific occasions – trousers that aren’t suitable for sitting down; dresses that can’t be worn if I want to eat; not to mention several outfits that work much better if I try not to breathe.
I blame cake. Lovely delicious cake. If there’s cake in the house, I’m going to eat it for every meal. Who says that a cup of tea and a slice of Victoria sponge isn’t a healthy and nutritious breakfast? And carrot cake has got to be at least one of your five-a-day, right? In the matter of cake, I am like Oscar Wilde – I can resist anything except temptation.
Only I may have let things go too far. Now even things that used to fit are troublingly tight. ‘Breathe in, mummy,’ said my daughter the other day as she battled valiantly to zip me into a dress that was patently too small. Unfortunately I had been holding my breath for some time and was already puce from lack of oxygen. The only way that dress was zipping up was if I cracked a rib or two.
And now a dear friend is getting married and I’ve been wondering what to wear. There’s bound to be food, and dancing, and sitting down. I don’t think anything in my wardrobe will accommodate all three activities. If I buy something that’s a sensible size, it could see me through all sorts of Christmas razzmatazz; but it will also mean accepting that I am not, and never will be, Kate Moss. And I’m just not sure that’s something I’m ready to give up on quite yet.
I want to look young, and sexy and cool. I want to dance like everyone is watching (I’ve never been a shrinking violet) and feast like a lion gorging on baby antelope. And all I need is the perfect dress to do it in.
So now I’m trawling the internet for something sparkly that’s just the right side of asphyxiating. Something that says ‘I see you Christmas, and I’m ready. Bring it on!’ Oh, and it will need to have a sturdy zip. Wish me luck!