“You look as if you’ve never even had a baby.”
Have you ever heard these words before? Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than an un-coaxed compliment (that was not the direct production of my begging, hinting and blatantly bribing my husband to say it), but sometimes (other than wanting to yell “have you seen me naked?”)… I’m not sure why we say this statement so frequently.
I have a really big problem with our obsession with post-partum bodies in our culture. On any given day, we are met with magazine covers of bikini clad, spray tanned celebrities, beneath headlines toting “I Lost All My Baby Weight In 3 Weeks!” or “I’m Back In My Size 2 Jeans And My Baby’s 10 Days Old!” Don’t get me wrong… there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel healthy, be fit and gain energy after having a baby, but since when did our worth as mothers really become measured by the measurement of our hips?
Wouldn’t it be nice to read articles about how a proud new celebrity mother is reading a book to her new baby every night, just mastered the art of washing her hair in the kitchen sink, or is attempting to puree her own baby food? Shouldn’t the headlines be proudly stating that both mother and baby made it through labor and delivery safely? Frankly, who cares about the size of your T&A post-partum, if you have a healthy, happy baby after L&D.
As mothers, we really deserve to feel sexy (when we have time to care), healthy (when we give ourselves credit for all we do), and confidant. But how can the many fragile, sensitive new moms in the world feel good about themselves, when they’re constantly being compared to their supposed Size 2 (Spanx laden, personal trainer using, meal delivery eating) celebrity counterparts?
The latest Hollywood craze of getting a tummy tuck immediately following your C-section is all the more disturbing. I’m not saying that if I lived in an environment where lasers would zap my stretch marks, staples would suck in my lower belly pooch, or silicone would blow up my breasts to mastitis size…it wouldn’t be hard to fall victim to these luxuries. But guess what? Every time I see the linea nigra that still remains on my stomach (yes, that bad boy never went away), I remember what it felt like to carry both my children inside of me. Every time I realize that an A cup bra size is laughably enormous (thanks to my deflated chest after pumping for 2 months), I remember what it was like to (attempt) to provide produce food for my babies.
After nearly ten months of pregnancy (let’s not kid ourselves with the nine months thing), and all of the sickness, discomfort, pain and triumph that comes with…why do I want to forget what my body has been through? Yes, I might fit in my jeans again (if I get a good case of mono a few weeks beforehand) and get generous compliments from a stranger now again (though I’m still wondering if my husband tipped them off)…I am a mother. I have stretch marks, I have tummy pooch, I have cellulite.
But I also have a daughter that is learning to read. A baby that is getting a mouthful of teeth. A family that laughs, and learns, and grows together. So if you want to measure my successes as a mother, please stop staring at my waistline, and look at my family.
Because regardless of the size of my butt, I kick butt at that.
Bailey Vincent Clark is the Editor-in-chief, author and founder of Makeover Momma. She talks about Mealtime Makeovers on Monday, workout concerns on Wednesday, and has a weekly column on Friday: “Getting Friendly With Makeover Momma.” If you would like to ask questions, submit concerns or simply chat: please email firstname.lastname@example.org.