When I was pregnant, I went through much stress about the amount of weight I gained. Not for the usual vain reasons but because the doctors and nurses were concerned and got me concerned and then stressed because I was hungry all the time and trying not to eat. The fear was I might develop gestational diabetes (which I didn’t) or that the baby might grow too big.

I was expecting a ginormous baby but he turned out to be on the small side. So then I figured all that fat was just me.

Strangely in two weeks, I lost 15 kg without trying. Then I started to cut out dairy and most yummy things from my diet and I lost another three. Having gained 20 kg during pregnancy, I’m only three kilos heavier than I was pre-pregnancy (of course, I wasn’t satisfied with my pre-pregnancy weight either).

Those three extra kilos, however, seem to have settled on my hips. Well, let’s say 2 on the hips and 1 on the boobs. I like that distribution better.

Last week, having realised that I had pretty much nothing to wear to work, I decided to go shopping. I needed tops that buttoned down the front and a decent pair of black trousers.

For the entire year leading up to my delivery, I barely shopped. I scrimped on maternity clothes because I figured I wouldn’t remain that size for too long. I didn’t buy a single pair of shoes (haw!). The non-shopping became a habit and I even eschewed buying bags, my general obsession. I didn’t even buy many baby clothes, instead appealing to family and friends to send along secondhand clothes and anticipating gifts (which turned out to be a good thing because it seems impossible to get the right size for the Benj. I am forever buying and returning things).

The result – when I delivered, I realised I had no pjs with button-down fronts. Faced with removing my entire top while breastfeeding – not an option in the freezing winter – I had to send my mum and V down to buy some for me.

Starting around two weeks ago, I began to pop into shops looking for semi-formal tops that buttoned down. Hong Kong has a shocking lack of winter wear that opens in the front. I went through entire shops without finding one thing in any size, leave alone a size that fit me.

But if finding upperwear was a problem, the quest for trousers was horrendous. I was faced with the entirely novel experience of not being able to pull even the largest available size of trousers up my hips in G2000. I suddenly began to realize what life was like for any woman with a smidgeon of hips in Hong Kong. I found myself in the pool of those consigned to shopping in the expat stores – Marks and Spenser, H&M, and Zara. Even there, sizing was a challenge. I must have run through at least a dozen trousers in M&S before settling on one that I wasn’t perfectly happy with. Though I have to say that the M&S trousers are in nice styles and well cut. Then on Saturday, I speed-tried at least another dozen in total at H&M (cheap, sort of snug, not very formal), G2000 (hope abides), Esprit (found two that fit somewhat, hallelujah), Uniqlo (cheap, very nicelooking, didn’t fit sob!) and Mango (ridiculous cut, fit but looked terrible). I finally kept the M&S trousers and bought two from Esprit in a large size that I’ll wear with a belt and have the bottom altered.

A less annoying but equally novel experience was finding tops in regular sizes. It has become almost impossible to find a shirt that buttons up without peekaboo happening through the buttons. It’s a completely strange feeling to have boobs that actually make a difference to one’s clothing. Cause for celebration, methinks!

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