When I was pregnant with Spawn, I carried him all out front. I had what I referred to as a ba-donka-donk belly. It looked like I had a basketball under my shirt. I could set things on it.
I think this happens to some extent for all heavily pregnant women. Near the end, we are just so tired that resting any part of the body is a good thing, and that is why I think you see women resting their arms and hands atop their bellies. Sure, sure, it's to feel the life growing inside you, but for me, it was mostly about resting. I slept very little after my six month in.
Today, as I roamed around the lab and proctored a final exam, I rested my hand on what is left of my belly. I became conscious of what I was doing and wondered how many times I had done that after the pregnancy. I still get out of bed like I'm 9 months pregnant, but a few weeks ago, Fluffy caught me resting my arms on my tummy. Just habit now, I guess.
Anyway, so in the lab...I thought about resting my arm on my belly and how hard it was in those last months of pregnancy. It was too cramped in there, what with an 8 pound person sharing space with with my organs. If something pressed against me, Spawn fought back. If something pressed against me, my skin stung, and my inside felt uncomfortable.
For a while after I gave birth, my entire abdomen was soft and smushy, with reddish-purple lighting bolt-shaped stretch marks covering it like cracks in an egg shell. Now, there is a thick layer of soft and smushy, but under it, I've begun to rebuild muscle. My abs are stronger, tighter. The stretch marks are flesh-colored lighting bolts. When I rested my arms on my belly, they slipped off. When I rested my arms on my belly, my elbow hit my stomach -- my hard stomach -- and I thought, "There I am. Under all that destroyed mess of flesh and fat, there I am."
My body is ruined. It will never be as it was before, but I get these little hints. There I am, under the wreckage. It's bittersweet.