I did something really out of character the other night when I came out of the bathroom for bed. (You: "You took off your mother-in-law's lingerie?" Shut up.) I waltzed right out, left the light on and told the hubs I felt pretty good about myself today. Bare tummy exposed.
You may have read between the lines when I've posted about lipo and weight loss that I've really struggled with body image after having kids. I feel bad even saying that because I know other people have worse problems. I know some women can't have kids and some women can't even afford to eat. Some people are made of bark! But everyone has problems and these are mine.
Why can't I get past this? Why can't I just be happy with myself? Shouldn't I just be happy with what I do have in my life and "get over" my body issues? As anyone who has ever lived can tell you, that's easier said than done. Humans are built to suffer.
I mentioned on here in June that I had a procedure called Liopsculpture which is basically "lipo lite" in that 500 cc's of fat were removed from my lower abdomen. For a visual, that's about as much tissue as in one C-cup breast. I had it done after the medical assistant who was performing a series of laser treatments on my post-baby belly suggested it. So if you'd like to keep count, I've now had six laser treatments, a Liposculpture, bought about ten body shaper garments, tracked my diet for a total of 14 months on My Fitness Pal, eschewed carbs and/or all animal products depending on the phase, popped pills peddled by Jillian Michaels and worked out countless hours and guess what? My abdomen still is still a saggy sack of baby dust. Short of a full tummy tuck, it always will be. You cannot jog off extra skin. Trust me, I've tried.
Here is my abdomen:
Sucker! I didn't say I'm so confident I'd post my nekked abs on the internet.
I'm a competitive person. I like to win. I don't like to feel sorry for myself. If something is wrong, then I need to change it. That goes for any life situation I've ever been in. I didn't like my town? I moved to Chicago. I didn't like my job? I quit. I didn't like my friends? I made new ones. I'm not a buck-passer. I take responsibility for my situations and I change them. So when it I had trouble bouncing back after having a baby, I knew I could do it because look at so-and-so, she did it. Look at her! She bounced back from having a baby, then so can I!
It seemed like everyone who had a baby was the same little sexy thing they had been before. Except me. Sure, there were other exceptions, but maybe those people didn't care how they looked. The women at the gym, my gorgeous mediterranean sister-in-law and stars who are "just like us" on covers of magazines care and so do I. So why can't I seem to get my stomach under control? I think I missed long chunks of time when my babies were small because I was daydreaming about taking a blowtorch to my midsection.
But you know what? There are more mothers like me than not. I didn't realize it then, but loose skin and stretch marks are part of giving birth for most women. It's just a fact of life - one most people don't talk about. And although I seem to be disproportionally surrounded by gorgeous moms, that's not the American average. We see celebrities hitting the runway six weeks after delivering and we're left feeling disgusted with ourselves. Look, even with medical intervention I'm still a mess! It would take major surgery to restore me to my former "glory" (yeah, back when I ate hunks of cheese for dinner topped off with drinking all night. Dear 2005 me, you are a lucky bitch.)
So what was the change in me? Why did I strut out in broad overhead lighting baring my abs the other day? I saw the short film BirthMarkings. That's what. It is a brief and breathtaking look at real bodies of normal women who have given birth. We usually see each other women with clothes on, but apparently underneath the yoga pants and Spanx, a great deal of us moms are imperfect. It's refreshing to think about that. My body is evidence that I gave birth to two beautiful people. They are what's important. And if I focus on the negatives of my body, they are going to pick up on that and hate their own bodies one day. I can't have that.
And the Liposcuplture I had? It wasn't worth it. All it did was make me obsess even more about my imperfections. Even though my belly looks better than it did six months ago, it actually seems worse to me. That is, until yesterday when I watched BirthMarkings and read a New York Times piece by - get this!- the former US Weekly editor who invented the tabloid culture of "celebrity moms are better than you because they look prepubescent in the hospital parking lot". She invented it! And she just wrote an op-ed piece in the NYT about how her manicurist thought she was pregnant four months after giving birth and yet she's the very same tabloid editor who made $2 million dollars a year selling us the MILF meme at Us Weekly.
You know what? I'm not perfect. My tummy has extra skin. So do most moms, including the grandmama of all mean girl celebrity authority figures, the former US Weekly editor who coined the phrase "baby bump".
If I ever contributed in any small part of making other moms feel like crap about their own bodies, for that I'm sorry. I'm as lumpy and bumpy as anyone. But apparently we all are. We're warrior moms who gave birth to babies.
That's something to strut out of the bathroom for.
Filed under: Mom Body