Tuesday, June 10, 2008

After baby bodies

As the mother of six children, I know a little about how babies change bodies. Parts of me will never be the same again! So, it was not with a little interest that I noticed a story on mothers having plastic surgery to regain their pre-baby bodies. Part of me was curious; just what could be done? Part of me, though, was sad, and a little frustrated with plastic surgeons.

The part of me that was curious got pretty obvious answers pretty quickly; surgeons can augment things that have shrunk and shrink things that have gotten bigger, suck out fat from places no self-respecting woman wants fat and put it back where any self-respecting woman knows it goes.
I didn't get any hints as to a dollar amount such surgery must translate into, but you know it has to be expensive and I'm pretty sure insurance won't pay for it. The dollar amount is also the reason I'm a little frustrated with plastic surgeons. We already have enough problems with airbrushed supermodels setting an impossible standard; we don't need rich surgeons getting richer from our artifically induced insecurities!

The part of me that was sad, though, was sad because of what this new trend says about our culture and how much (or little) we truly value moms. I've had six children, and like I said, parts of me will never be the same. My 5' almost 11" frame won't see the inside of my size 10 wedding dress ever again. I probably won't see the inside of a size 10 period. My hips and my feet both are much wider than they used to be, and no plastic surgeon is going to be able to help that.

Parts of me are much smaller than before I had children. Other parts have folds that haven't gone away in spite of regular daily sit ups. Yet, my husband tells me how beautiful he thinks I am and how much he enjoys the parts that are smaller and the parts that aren't. I've never felt insecure or ugly because of what happened to my body as a result of becoming a mom. Indeed, I consider it a tremendous privilege and know many women who would give almost anything to see what their post-baby body would look like because they can't have children.

Perhaps we need a gentle reminder that life brings change. For any of us who live into old age, gravity will not be thwarted; we will have parts that sag and bag, with or without plastic surgery. We can do some things to help, to be sure, but nothing can stop the march of time. And perhaps such a goal is misdirected. The hand who rocks the cradle, it is said, is the hand who rules the world. Mothers of all sizes rock cradles holding future presidents, priests and kings. Women who mother children are beautiful, not because of what size they wear or how quickly they fit back into their pre-pregnancy clothes, but because of WHO they are and WHAT they are doing!! Perhaps the best thing we can do for post-baby body blues is not to turn to plastic surgeons, but to re-evaluate what we see as beautiful and to remember what a gift being a mother really is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a totally REFRESHING outlook on the post-baby body! I am currently pregnant with our 2nd child and have come to realize just how quickly I've started to show and yet I'm only in the 1st trimester!!! My husband and I were told we could never have children ~ unless we went through the medical field, but God had other plans for us! And here we are, praise the Lord, pregnant with #2. What a positive outlook on the blessing of having children ~ as well as the post-baby body!

In Christ,