Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Please, Keep It To Yourself

You know, these women who post their "post-baby" pics days or weeks after giving birth and showing this near-perfect, toned body, really just make me want to scream.  Why, because I'm jealous? Not hardly, my days of flat, toned abs are long gone and I know it.  Then, is it because they're usually half-naked? Well that's not the real reason but yeah it does make me annoyed they think they need to take their clothes off to get attention (thanks pop-culture, you're doing an awesome job there, keep it up, we don't have enough problems yet with sexual exploitation of women and girls).

No, it makes me angry because it's just NOT reality.  Granted, there is a slim (and by slim I mean fraction of a fraction of a half of a percent) number of women who can go through 9 months of pregnancy and 4 days or 3 weeks after giving birth, have what appears to be a completely toned, pre-baby body.  Unless of course, they're professional trainers who take ZERO time to let their body recover naturally and beat themselves up to get back into pre-pregnancy condition.  And those women, are even a smaller fraction of a fraction of women who's post-baby bodies look great.

The reality of it is, pregnancy is quite physically devastating to a woman's body (and I don't mean that in a creepy way, it's merely a medical fact for the vast majority of women).  You gain weight and as a side bonus you get stretch-marks (and contrary to popular claims, no, you cannot get rid of them completely, especially the great big monsters that look like you literally unzipped yourself to crawl out), skin discolorations, back pain, hip pain, abdominal muscle degeneration (and the more babies you have, the worse it gets and nothing short of an abdominoplasty - where they actually sew your abs back together because they cannot go back where they belong on their own, will fix it) and more. (Not all women have all these preggo-related things but all women have at least some of them, and some women have even more than I've mentioned)

By the time that baby comes along, your body needs rest, recuperation and proper nutrition to even begin to think about cooperating with you on squats & such.  Even then, for most normal, human women, it takes quite a while and a LOT of hard work, to get back into shape.  And even then your body doesn't really look the same as it once did.  Your hips are wider, your stretch marks are still there, and so on.

The biggest reason it makes me want to scream, seeing these kinds of pics, is because it sends the most unrealistic message that YOU TOO can look like "this".  Well, unless you're that person, NO YOU CAN'T. Your body is entirely different, your lifestyle, abilities, disabilities, routine, home life, etc. Plus, if you happen to be one of the millions of women with very non-elastic skin, you'll have those stretch-marks forever, no matter how much lotion or how many vitamin e ointments you used.

Women have a hard enough time in our culture trying NOT to feel like they have to conform to this standard or that standard, and dealing with the FAKE standard of beauty or sex-appeal shoved in our faces by the media/entertainment industries.  For those women who's bodies bounced back and look great 4 days after Junior came along: yay for you, that's awesome.  Do the rest of us a favor though and keep your clothes on, and don't show off.  Realize you're the exception to the rule and what you're really doing is making a lot of women have even MORE body-image and self-confidence issues than they already had.  Sure, you may inspire someone here or there, and while that's great, the bigger message you're sending is "if you don't look like this, there is something wrong with you, or you're making excuses".  Yes, I am in fact referring in part to Maria Kang, but she's not the only one doing this now.  Narcissistic post-preggo selfies seem to be on the upswing.

I know I don't speak for all women, and I know some will disagree with me on this. That's fine. But I also know I DO in fact speak for A LOT of women, because it's a topic of discussion among almost all moms/new moms and always has been.  I've had 7 babies and had this discussion with other new moms after each of them.  I'm also a grandma to 3 beautiful people and have had the same discussion with my daughters after the birth of their babies.  I can assure you, new mommies struggling with the shock of what pregnancy did to their bodies do NOT need this kind of added garbage to deal with. They need reality, and to be educated on what it really takes to get back into shape.  And to know that they will never look like "this" because they were never "that" to begin with.  They can however become the most fit THEM, no matter what that looks like on the outside.

Rant over.  You are free to leave now.  Assuming you stuck around for the entire lecture.