I couldn’t help but think of the Shape of a Mother website when I read this rather infuriating article in the NY Times about “mommy makeovers” being marketed by a number of (male) plastic surgeons. Thanks for helping to combat the prejudice and hatred of their own bodies that so many women struggle with throughout their lives. We waste so much energy worrying about superficial garbage that could be better spent nurturing ourselves and our children, who I am sure prefer to lay their heads on a little bit of pillowy mama-tummy to rock hard abs anyway.
I had my first baby this summer at age 33. I am old enough now that I am just glad I haven’t had any major injuries or illnesses, and I appreciate my body so much more than I did at 18 or 19, when I thought I was “too fat”. Luckily, I took lots of art history classes, and seeing lots of Rubens paintings and 19th century French academic nudes made me realize that my body is actually pretty normal, and the women in Cosmo (and our society’s obsession with waiflike, androgynous bodies) are more freakish. Plus, I had some groovy female friends who liked to say things like, “It ain’t love without the handles,” and spilled out of their jeans and tops with exuberance and joy in their own bodies.
Here are photos of my pregnant and postpartum body (14 weeks, 25 weeks, term, engorged — yikes! Hello San Fernando Valley!, and 6 weeks postpartum). I am 5’3″ and I’ve been a steady 130-135 lbs my entire adult life. I am 10 weeks out from birth, but I still can’t quite fit into my pre-preg jeans without feeling like I’m in a sausage casing. Thank god for elastic waists! I was lucky enough to bike or walk to work my entire pregnancy, getting 2-4 miles a day with daily dog walks thrown in for good measure, and yoga once a week. I figure that keeping up my walking and breastfeeding will help me drop any extra baby inches I am carrying (I have no idea how much I weigh right now as I don’t own a scale) and fit in my old pants again. A friend of mine warned me not to skimp on meals or lose weight too fast though – she got svelte and ‘back to normal’ in 6 months by doing hardcore yoga 4 days a week, and she paid for her fabulous body by having her milk dry up. So, ladies, it’s good to keep that mama love around as insurance for your milk supply!