“Pregnancy Keepsake”

I enjoy the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzles.  Have for years.  Tuesday’s puzzles are rarely a problem.  The grid fills quickly and easily. 

Such was not the case last Tuesday.  The 35-Across clue, “Pregnancy Keepsake,” totally threw me.  It was nine letters long so obvious answers like “baby,” “infant,” “child,” or “newborn” didn’t do the trick.

“Umbilical chord” came to mind, but it was too long and surely, surely, would never be considered a keepsake.

“Stretch marks” and “varicose veins” also didn’t fit.  And while I wouldn’t call them keepsakes , they do, by virtue of their everlasting and unwanted presence, serve as reminders.

Clearly, the only path to the answer was through the letters surrounding the curious clue.

The AHA moment came as the answer slowly emerged: “belly cast.”   Seriously?  That was the answer?  Belly cast?  

That’s the answer, all right.  I checked and doublechecked. And yes, it’s a real thing. Furthermore, a good one can set you back a pretty penny….$2,500.00 or more. Sure, you can cheap it for around forty bucks, but if you’re gonna do it (questionable at best), I suppose you might as well go all out.

So, thrilled as I am to have a new word in my vocabulary, I’m struggling to think how I might use it in a conversation. And perhaps it’s my age, but the answer to that befuddles me just as deeply as the mere thought of anyone, for any reason, wanting a memento of a stretched-to-the max, super-extended belly. But again, that’s just me. Times, they are a-changin’.