I have been in seven weddings in my life. I have been pregnant for three of them, and newly postpartum for two. It is almost five years to the day that I was a pregnant bridesmaid for the first time. I didn't know I was pregnant yet at this one. (So let's just pretend I didn't drink any champagne, okurrr?)
I was very pregnant at three bachelorette parties I've been to, was pumping in the bathroom at one, and had to miss out on another because it was just too much. I have rocked the bump on a party bus in NYC and on a sailboat in Newport, RI.
I've walked down the aisle with a small bump and a large bump. I've walked down the aisle holding a preschooler's hand, with a toddler in my arms, and a six day old baby strapped to my chest in a sling. I have given a maid of honor speech when I was seven months pregnant at my best friend's wedding. (Was that a contraction? Cheers!) I've done a reading at a wedding ceremony with said toddler on my hip because she didn't want to stay in the pew.
I've worn a tight sparkly dress with two layers of Spanx on underneath as a bridesmaid in a Vegas wedding at three months postpartum. I've worn a maternity bridesmaid dress at a wedding where I was six days postpartum and still looked quite pregnant (it was my last sister to get married—couldn't miss it!). I have stressed myself to the max worrying what I would look like in a dress with a still-pregnant-looking stomach. I have also allowed myself to feel womanly and beautiful, despite said stomach, with people doing my hair and makeup and working their magic.
Mamas, I get it.
Partying it up at seven months pregnant might not be what you want to be doing at that very moment and getting dolled up and putting on a tight dress might not be the #1 thing on your fourth-trimester to do list. But we do these things for the people we love. Because we want to celebrate them like they've celebrated us. We want to be part of their big moment.
So to the newly pregnant, very pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding bridesmaids of the world—I salute you. You are the real MVP. 🏆
To the mama seriously contemplating wearing a third layer of Spanx under her dress because she's super self-conscious and doesn't feel ready to wear a form-fitting gown in front of hundreds of people three months after giving birth—step away from the Spanx please. (And definitely do not go for that third layer, please. Especially in the summer heat. You know what will happen. I know you know.)
To the mama who is pretending to drink a "vodka soda" (aka plain soda water with a lime 😉) so she doesn't get bombarded with the, "What are you drinking?! Are you pregnant questions?!" when she's not quite ready to let her secret out—I see you.
To the mama who is wondering how in the world she is going to nurse in this dress. The one who is maneuvering all sorts of moves she never even knew she had to Get. Her. Dang. Boob. Out. Of. This. Dress. Right. Now. The one who is getting that baby their food and looking fabulous while doing so—I see you.
To the mama who is experiencing infertility or who recently went through a miscarriage or loss and has to deal with awkward questions and conversations, seemingly at every corner—I see you.
To the mama who is worried that the bride will be mad at her because her floor-length gown is now, well… at her ankles because her bump got really big over the last few weeks and is having nightmares of the scary seamstress from the bridal shop saying, "Should have ordered it with extra length! I told you, young lady!"—I see you.
To the mama who is thinking, Yes, wonderful, thanks for the 'day of' photo timeline, but the real question is—when can I pump???—I see you.
To the mama who feels like she is one dance away from going into labor on that dance floor—I see you. (Also, #hero.)
To the mama who is sure her toddler is going to scream something ridiculous (like, "I just pooped, Mom!") into the microphone while she is doing the reading at her brother's wedding mass because she wouldn't let Mommy go up to the mic without her—I see you.
To the mama who is so pregnant but she's trying to keep energy levels up to stay up late and have a great time or who's pretending the heels aren't bothering her at all ("I'm fine. Seriously. Totally fine. These tears are not those of pain. They are tears of happiness. What a beautiful day. No my feet aren't broken. Yes, let's definitely dance more!") —I see you.
To the mama who is breastfeeding as she gets her makeup done or her hair curled or her dress steamed—I see you. (Also, multitasking FTW!)
To the mama who feels like she is swatting hands off her pregnant belly—I see you. (Also, WHY.)
To the mama whose sister-in-law had to help her get into her dress, then help get-spit up off her whole chest and part of the dress, then help her get zipped up in said dress—I see you.
To the mama who missed out on the wedding because she went into labor or who was so newly postpartum she couldn't make it happen or was too pregnant to fly on a plane to get there and is watching on Facebook live—I see you. (Also, good choice, mama!)
To the mama who had a bit too much fun at her return to the wedding circuit and got carried away by her first postpartum sense of freedom—I see you. (We ain't as young as we used to be, amirite??)
To me, family is everything. My close friends have become my family, too. While weddings aren't the easiest things to do with babies or little kids in tow, and maybe they aren't the most comfortable events to participate in while pregnant, and they probably aren't the most convenient situations for a postpartum mama—your involvement in them and excitement for them is honorable. It's kind, compassionate and plain and simple—it's really, really good of you.
So, I raise my coffee mug to you, mama. This toast is for you.
"May your dress be comfortable,
May your shoes be flat,
And your Spanx be stretchy,
Your sweat a gentle glimmer of shine,
(Instead of pouring buckets like mine)
And until the day is over
May you feel beautiful, cut your involvement short,
take the heels off—or do whatever you need to do to stay comfy.
Because, remember...you're the real MVP."
—Traditional Irish wedding blessing