Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The whole truth and nothing but the truth

The hot daily dish these days seems to be about pregnant and post-pregnant celebrities. The paparazzi are hounding Britney Spears in hopes of getting a closeup of her three chins, eating a jelly roll in a mumu. But to their surprise, she was seen out and about recently, 1 month after having given birth, in a belly shirt, looking good. Then there's Jennifer Garner, Heidi Klum, Gwyneth Paltrow (who is rumored to be pregnant again), Kate Hudson, Courtney Cox, Madonna, Debra Messing, Julia Roberts, Jenny McCarthy, (I could go on and on). Everyone wants to see if and when the pregnancy weight will come off and how these women are holding up after having a kid or two.

(In the photo above, I'm 6 months pregnant on our babymoon in Fiji.)

Pamela Anderson was back on the set of Baywatch in that signature red bathing suit one month after having given birth to her first child. Kate Hudson lost 60 pounds in the three months after giving birth to her son for her role in The Skeleton Key. Does this give all new moms hope or does it set up unrealistic expectations?

Here's an actual conversation I had last month with a friend's wife:

Me: Uwe and I are thinking about going to Raging Waters (a water slide park).
FW: Oh I can't go there.
Me: Why not?
FW: I'm not ready.
Me: What do you mean?
FW: I'm not ready to be seen in a bathing suit.
Me. What? I've seen you in a bathing suit! You look great!
(We rented a beach house for Uwe's birthday, back in May and FW was in a bikini and looked hot. It was one month after having given birth to Astrid and I was still in my pregnancy bathing suit and just happy to be in the jacuzzi...after 9 months of luke warm showers and baths, so that I wouldn't cook the baby in the womb..and the sight of FW 'back in shape 3 yrs after having had a baby' gave me hope.)
FW: Well, I'm still not where I want to be.
Me: Well, I just figure that there are a lot of people out there that look A LOT worse than me. Besides, the only ones who have 'perfect' bodies are teenagers.
FW: Yeah and we can tell them, (pointing to her body), "This is what's going to happen to you too."
(((insert laughter)))

I think it's healthy to be motivated to get back into shape and have a goal (I don't think of myself as the old gray mare yet!), but I don't think it does any good to be neurotic about it (i.e., I'll only be happy if I can count the bones in my sternum). Especially since new moms are neurotic enough with the lack of sleep and caring for a new baby.Here is a conversation with my masseuse after my massage:
M: Can I ask you a question?
Me: Sure.
M: How did you lose the baby weight?
Me: (Obviously flattered AND shocked!) Oh thank you, but I still have a ways to go.
M: You don't look like you had a baby 5 months ago.

Okay so maybe it's closer to 6 months ago (and I have yet to fit into my jeans), and she does get tip, but I'll take the compliment!

I had a dream recently that Jenny McCarthy was my personal trainer and she was whipping me into shape. I wish! Astrid will be 6 months old on 10/19/05 and I still feel like I'm just getting my strength back (mentally and physically). Having a baby is a humbling experience.

I wanted to share an excerpt from the book, "The Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood" for all mothers out there (new and old). It really spoke to me and helped me put the whole experience in perspective.

"Motherhood is marked by a series of milestones or achievements, both yours and the baby's. We look forward to when the baby smiles, when she sleeps through the night, when she sits up, when we go back to work, when we actually want sex again, and when the baby walks. But one of the most universal finish lines that we mothers stretch toward is 'when we turn into our former selves.' After nine years of motherhood, what I can say, at least for myself, is that we are never going to be our former selves. You can buy a sports car, get as thin as a fashion model or become the CEO of your company, but you are not who you used to be. If you secretly believe that the sooner you get control of your weight, the sooner you will get control of your life, you are headed for a big disappointment. You have changed in the most profound way; you have discovered a love and devotion that places the happiness and well-being of your baby at the front and center of your life's focus. If you will take this one bit of advice, it could make this entire year a little calmer for you: THIS NEW YOU IS A DIFFERENT BUT BETTER YOU.

Who would trade your compassion, your vulnerability, your strength, your commitment for the person you used to be? Relax and surrender to the evolution that has become your life. You were once a human being and now you are a mother. We all know which one is better."

5 comments:

Trailhead said...

I have bones in my sternum?

I never knew.

Rose said...

Ah come on. You hike all the time (hence the nick Trailhead) so I'm sure you're in great shape.

Trailhead said...

That would be a faulty assumption. I do hike a lot, but I eat a lot more. I struggle mightily with my weight, and mostly, weight wins. It's odd, though, last winter I was in pretty good shape -- I was running a couple miles a day, biking 5-6 miles and then swimming 800 or 1,000 yards right after doing both. I felt capable of almost anything. But I was still 30 pounds heavier than I should have been. Weird. You can be overweight and still be in decent shape.

But your post does a good job of addressing some really interesting issues. Sometimes it seems like there is no tragedy in this culture greater than a fleshy woman.

Your attitude is pretty balanced and healthy, I think.

Rose said...

Thanks TH. I think it's better to be healthy than skinny. Muscle weighs more than fat right?

Trailhead said...

That's what I keep telling myself. :)