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Sitting here slumping downward but held upright by my muffin top, belly pooch, and bra-squeezing back fat I completely resonate with Melissa Stanton's The Mom Job. The radical solution that I crave is not going under the knife, however, but a complete change of race. I am not tired of my fat--I am tired of being a poochy, saggy, scrawny white lady. I want to be brown.Recently I stood next to a Jamaican woman in an elevator. She was round, brown, and strong. If we were edibles in the bakery section of my grocery store I'd be the pasty white Brown-N-Serve dinner rolls with their plastic wrap stuck damply to their top. She'd be the double chocolate bundt cake gleaming with shiny chocolate sauce and cherries on top. If I can't be brown then at least I'd like to be a lumberjack woman. You know those tall, large-limbed Amazon women who part the crowds as they move? I'd love to experience that just once in my life. At 5' 2" and chubby I make my way through crowds by bouncing off people and obstacles.I'm not tired of my fat--I'm tired of my entire frame. I just don't want to be a scrawny, weak, white woman anymore.
My mom had twins and was similarly just over 5 feet tall and slim. After the twins were born I remember how upset she was with her stomach and how she's always wished she just got the tummy tuck. Unlike the author, I grew up seeing what a multiple pregnancy can do to a body. Now, as my husband and I contemplate starting a family, and with a family history of 3 sets of fraternal twins in 2 generations (we often joke that my dad and I are the only non-twins in the family) I'm terrified of what I'll look like afterward. Thanks for this article and your discussion of the social and feminist issues that lie below the esthetic surface.
I am very sad when I read about women who make the choice to get a tummy tuck or a "Mom Job". We are beautiful even if our boobs sag and our tummies wrinkle. What makes us beautiful is the sheer fact that we are able to carry a baby inside us for nine months and give the world generations to come. Hopefully we stop looking at the side effects pregnancy had on us, and look at the wonderful side effects it has on the world.
You know, I have always poked fun at celebrities who appear to have gone under the knife on some part of their body.Recently however, I took a look at myself in the mirror not long after having my second child and thought,"Oh yeah, if money were no option and surgery carried no risk, it sure would be tempting to hoist up these girls, skim that down that tummy, and--while we're at it--take a bit off both thighs."From now on perhaps I'll only giggle at the movie stars who do, and then say they didn't. As for me, I'll lose the weight I can and accept by slightly-more-bouyant body hiding under my well-placed clothing.
I respect the right of the author to "fix" her belly. But, I was disappointed that she couldn't find anyone out there who has "twin belly" (that's how my doctor describes the damage to my own stomach) who is NOT going to get surgery to fix it. Really? None of her friends? No other women out there like me? Well, I guess I'll take a moment to be that voice and say, "My stomach looks terrible. But, so what? Is it really that important?" And, no, I don't think it really is that important. I wish that view could have been expressed in the article.
After nursing my two boys for a total of about 40 months, I was devestated by what it did to the look and feel of my breasts. I have to admit that my breasts were one of the few parts of my body I liked. They also provided me with a lot of pleasure in bed. Well, once my left breast was completely deflated and my right one was left with a sagging nipple, I didn't think I'd ever feel sexy again. That made me very sad. Sure, I could say that this was my proud sacrifice for feeding my children, but I want to have my cake and eat it, too. I think it is okay for a woman to feel sad about losing a part of herself. Why isn't that sad? Why do we have to be okay with seeing our body changed to sometimes horrific proportions? Anyway, I am lucky. Somehow my breasts went back to "normal", or close enough anyway - no knives involved. The only thing I would advise a new mother is to wait a year or two and see how her body settles into itself. Then you can decide what is best.
What I want most for my five children is to nurture in them a sense of their own self-worth and self-esteem that is completely unswayed by society and especially the media. In order to do that, I have to come to that place myself -the place where I feel that nobody is going to decide for me what is beautiful and what is acceptable, and nobody is going to cut me up with a knife so that I can be more "beautiful" in others' eyes. If my limbs were severed in a freak accident or I lost my sight, I would still have my intelligence, and this, above all, is where I glean my sense of self-worth. I gave birth to full-term twins (both 7 pounds) about ten years ago. My body was admittedly a wreck. I have grabbled with wanting plastic surgery but have decided, in the end, that I am in control of my self-image, and I will not give anyone else the power to decide whether or not I am beautiful.I've had four pregnancies - your belly never goes back to its pre-pregnant shape, but the flabbiness DOES improve with time and moderate exercise; you have to be very patient (but by then you've already gone under someone's knife).
I'm grateful to have an honest, candid discussion on this topic from a woman who states that she is a feminist. I've been grappeling with this issue for 8 years now. Giving birth at 20 and losing any chance of having a toned stomach or wearing a bikini ever again really has affected my confidence. I struggle with my feminist understanding and disdain of unattainable beauty images in the media and hope so much that my daughter never has the same image of herself as I have of myself but I also struggle with intimacy in my relationship because I am unwilling to show my stomach to my partner. HE doesn't have anything but love for me AND my "baby belly" but I still can't stand the sight and feel of that part of my body. Like the author, I have spent years trying to accept and love my body as it is and felt guilty for feeling the shame and embarrassment about something that is the product of the most beautiful experience of my life. I don't know if I will ever have a tummy tuck but this discussion has lessened the "feminist guilt" associated with making the decision. We are products of our society, no matter how much we try to separate ourselves from its awful expectations. I know my power does not solely come from my sex-appeal but I miss that confidence and I miss skin-to-skin contact!
I don't see ages of the women who've posted comments so far, but I'm assuming most are younger than I am, because I am past the bikini wanna-be phase, past the I want to look like someone else phase, etc. Come on, ladies! I had twin boys eight years ago. I went through a lot to have them, and my body has changed because of it. I have struggled with my my self image all my life because I don't have the perfect body, and now that I'm technically middle- aged, I'm coming to terms with the things I can't/can't afford/shouldn't change. I excercise and usually make healthy food choices. I feel good. I like to have fun. I have a loving family and great friends.MOM JOB? Give me a break!
Laurie said... Thank you for the article and the discussion. If I'd read it 17 years ago, I would have known there was such a surgery and had it. As it is, I am almost 50, and my twins are graduating from high school, and despite ten years in between when I was ultra-fit except for this stomach, today my body reflects the capacity (skin, muscular displacements, and who knows what ) created during my edema plagued prenancy. At at about 37 weeks, the doctor measured 40" from my brestbone (at the bottom of my bra between breasts) to the top of the pubic area. The nurse was nice when I asked if I would ever be normal again and said "a new normal." BUT, when a friend who was a retired female doctor in Denmark later saw my stomach (I was then 39 and very fit) she told me that in Denmark, the repair would have been considered part of post-partum care. They would have done the surgery... and for free. How I wish!
Recently I was in a dressing room with some friends, making the usual women's locker room talk. I was admiring the small boobs and flat belly of my friend who is in her early 40's and has the body of an 18 year old. I told her I wish I looked like that. She pointed at my flabby, mottled pooch and said, I wish I looked like that! (She has been struggling for many years with infertility). That made me think twice about what's really important.
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