Losing my Dignity

Motherhood, what have you done to me?  I wrote this post a little while ago about the things I just never thought I would do as a parent.  There is one more little nugget of information that I thought about just the other day as I was peeing in the bathroom at the Chick-Fil-A with the door open watching my children systematically drench themselves under the guise of “washing their hands.”  I think my turkeys will probably suck the world’s water supply dry before their 5th birthday, but that’s all whole ‘nother blog post.

No, while I was sitting (yes, I was sitting, no worries, I wiped the seat) there doing my bid-ness, the ladies’ room door swings open to a gaggle of young ladies who were probably 14-15 years old.  They were whispering and giggling while talking about a boy, one who apparently worked at the Chick-Fil-A.  One or maybe all of the ladies had a massive crush on this lucky young man as was evidenced by the following exchange of whispering and giggling.

“He is so cute. (giggle, giggle) I think he likes you.  (giggle, giggle) No, I’m sure he likes you.  (giggle, giggle).”

Seriously, there was an obscene amount of giggling going on.  I thought I was going to gag, when the giggling stopped abruptly.  The girls had reached my stall, you know, the one with the open door.  They stood there and gaped at me in horror.  Not one of them said a word as I finished, and tried to discreetly pull my pants up.  I smiled sweetly at them, walked by, tossed my hair back and said, “Just wait.  One day you will have children and this won’t seem so weird.”  I then attempted to wrangle the turkeys, wipe up their mess and leave the ladies room with as much dignity as I could muster, which wasn’t much seeing as though the young ladies had caught me literally with my pants down.

As the turkeys scarfed down their chicken nuggets as fast as they possibly could to join their future best friends in the germ-infested play place, I couldn’t help but shake my head at the situation in the ladies’ room.  I couldn’t help shaking my head at the fact that I felt not even one single twinge of embarrassment at being observed half naked in a public place.  Not even a little.

What on God’s green earth has happened to me?  Where has my dignity gone?  Are pride and self-respect a long lost thing of the past?

Well, for most mothers, the dignity, the pride, and the modesty flew out the door probably around week 35-ish, when you were getting poked and prodded at least every week by your OB.  And forget having any dignity or modestly left when you are trying to push a 7 lb + kid out of a teeny tiny space with about 5 people down there gazing intently at your hoo-ha.  I am totally guessing here as I didn’t quite make it that far.  Mine disappeared the second they wheeled me into labor and delivery while simultaneously shaving my nether regions in preparation for the emergency c-section.  That was almost as mortifying as it gets, especially since that area had been, shall we say, neglected for quite some time.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t the most mortifying thing that happened, maybe it was postpartum when after being bedridden for 4 days, not having showered in probably 6, I required the assistance of a nurse to clean myself, naked, in the shower.  Oh, I should mention that the nurse was a young, gorgeous 24-year-old gal with nary an ounce of fat anywhere on her body.  Yes, any modicum of dignity that might have remained was certainly gone after that experience.  Nothing quite getting your jiggly body washed by a younger version of yourself, let me tell you.

Something happens during our journey of motherhood.  Something that will allow us to have a full-blown discussion with a complete stranger at Chick Fil A, who happens to be a mother as well, about episiotomies, pushing, c-section recovery, nursing, bowel movements, including size, shape and color and all other sorts of topics that prior to pregnancy we never would have dreamed about discussing with our best friend, much less a stranger.

Something happens to us that will allow us to help our son pee in the park with some seriously bad aim, accidentally sprays our hair and we just laugh, because really, what else can you do?

Something happens to you that enables you to laugh upon realizing, at the end of the 3 hour Easter Vigil Mass that your dress was only zipped halfway (as in not even covering the bra strap) because you couldn’t get it all the way up yourself and you forgot to ask your husband to finish the job as you were running out the door, late as usual.

Something happens to us that will allow us to pee in a public bathroom, with the door open and not give a tiny rat’s patootie that a gaggle of teenagers probably just saw all of your bid-ness.

That something is one of the beauties of motherhood and I don’t know about you, but I wear my lack of dignity as a badge of honor.

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