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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Well, apparently, it's all downhill from here. I knew bad things happened to women in their 30s, but I've made it to 34 and only seen a couple fine lines around my eyes, three grey hairs, and a teensy hint of a dimple in my rear. Yesterday, though, was a big day for me in the "getting old" department. I did two monumental things, the significance of which I think no woman younger than 30 and/or not a mother would understand, and certainly nothing a man would understand. First, I gave up all hope that my boobs were going to get bigger. I am under no delusion that I was ever "big chested" - don't get me wrong. However, for  almost the past 6 straight years, I've been either pregnant or breastfeeding (and sometimes both), and "the girls" had reached a comfortable status in life. But just like Cumby's Free Coffee Fridays and the social acceptance of going to class in your pajamas, I guess all good things must come to an end eventually. After weaning my youngest daughter last fall, I was amazed at how quickly my melons shrunk. And when I say shrunk, I don't just mean returned to their pre-pregnancy/pre-lactating size. Oh no - I couldn't be that lucky. My modest melons turned into little lemons. They went right past pre-motherhood size and kept on going. They didn't stop to collect $200 - they skipped Go and returned right to their me-as-an-awkward-and-late-developing-14-year-old-girl size. Seriously. At first, I was hopeful that this was just a temporary deflation caused by my milk drying up and that eventually, all that ice cream and cheese I eat would find its way to the appropriate spots and make my boobs a little fuller (and, if it worked out, my butt a little rounder while I was at it). Alas, though, this was not the case. Oh, I certainly tried - diligently eating bowl after bowl of full fat ice cream, but to no avail. The ladies are small - there's no doubt about it. In fact, they honestly aren't much bigger than the man boobs I noticed on that slightly overweight middle aged man I saw jogging on my way to work this morning who I almost hit because I was trying to get closer to tell if he really was a man or a woman. At least I can wear a push up bra, though, and take advantage of the modern marvels of wire digging into my rib cage, foam that is so dense it's actually heavy and uncomfortable, and lace that does more in skin irritation than it does sex appeal. So - I put on my big girl panties (on my no-thanks-to-ice-cream-less-than-shapely-rear) and kicking and screaming my way out of denial, dragged myself to the lingerie department.

I have to admit, I was insulted by the "Barely B" sizes. Really? Is that supposed to make me feel better about myself? Why don't they just call it the "Not Quite Big Enough" or "Itsy Bitsy" or "You'll Never Amount to Much" size? I'd rather have the letter A in my size and qualify it with something promising and glamorous like "A and Then Some" or "Bigger and Better Than Your Average A" than have a "barely" in the description of anything that refers to my boobs. Oh, well. No one at Maidenform or Bali asked me about marketing ideas, so I ended up just having to go with the options available. I cut off the tags as quickly as possible and spent countless minutes trying to smudge that strangely rubberized and quite durable print they use on the insides to remind you just how small you really are. I'm not the type for plastic surgery, but I just wish God would be a little more appreciative of all the good I used these former sippy cups for and throw me a bone here! Until then, though, I guess me, my shiny new albeit labelless bras, and my mom-of-three-well-fed-kids-sized knockers will just wait patiently and hope that someday, the world will right itself and all these bowls of ice cream will catch up!

The second very grown up thing I did yesterday was see a dermatologist about my not-so-glowing skin. Again, great in pregnancy, not so great now. I had mostly decent skin growing up, and fortunately seemed to pass through the awkward teenage years with only a few potential-date-chances-ruining, school-picture-retake-requiring zits. In fact, for most of my young adulthood, people have frequently complimented me on my skin. It wasn't until pregnancy, though, that that changed. While I did, fortunately, enjoy that getting-fatter-and-more-bloated-by-the-minute prenatal glow for most of the time, I did have scary break outs in the first trimester with all three pregnancies. In fact, it was so obvious the first time around that with my second and third pregnancies, that was one of the first signs I was pregnant. No peeing on a stick necessary - just take note of the pimply break outs (along with the Yoo Hoo and fried eggs cravings), and it was a dead giveaway. After my third first trimester passed, though, I assumed that was it. No more pregnancies, so no more gross skin, right? Well, somehow, my pores haven't gotten that memo. It was so bad one recent week that I even peed on a stick! For various reasons that I really don't need to go into and it would be really awkward and uncomfortable for both of us if I did, I was fairly certain that I was not pregnant. However, my skin was so bad that I figured that was the only possible explanation. Turns out, I got a BFN, but nonetheless, the zits decided to make themselves quite comfortable and invite a few friends, too. In one particularly painful episode, one pimple was so large that a coworker (who is, admittedly, not exactly known for his tact) cornered me and asked if I had a bug bite on my forehead. It was then that, for the first time since 7th grade, I contemplated cutting bangs. Fortunately I talked myself out of such a drastic measure, but the pimple was quite obnoxious and embarrassing. It stuck around so long, though, that it got to the point where I just had to embrace it. I named it Leroy, and when making plans for a ladies night with some friends, I asked them if it would be okay if he tagged along. What else could I do? All the hating I could muster and Noxema pads I could find certainly weren't having much of an effect on him. In fact, he just laughed in my face (well, on my face, I guess) and invited his twin brother Larry to come visit. Ugh!

It was after Leroy and Larry's seemingly endless visit that I decided I needed to take measures into my own hands. I threw out my basic Oil of Olay moisturizer and shelled out a week's paycheck for the Olay Regenerist serum. I also stopped being quite so lazy that my previously cooperative skin had encouraged and started washing my face every night before bed. It didn't matter, though - they still kept coming. That's when I knew it was time - I had to seek professional advice.

So - yesterday, I saw my dermatologist. He was not surprised at all to hear about my uninvited guest woes, and in fact, assured me that this condition was quite common for "women my age." (I'm not sure if that was meant to be insulting or not, but he's a nice guy so I think probably not. And really, I'm only 34... There's not much to be insulted about yet!) Anywho, I've decided to start a medication for it. He says it's hormonal (gee, what isn't hormonal about being a woman???) and this medicine should do the trick. I sure hope so because I'm ready to break up with Leroy and all his self-centered, attention-seeking friends. i guess we'll see how it works...

Well, even though Free Coffee Fridays, almost-respectable sized boobs, and clear skin seem to be days of the past, there is a silver lining in this cloud. As I was reading the patient information insert that came with my new "women your age" acne medication, I saw that due to its testosterone-blocking properties, one potential side effect is an increase in breast tissue. Needless to say, I've got my fingers crossed!

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