I always have had some body issues. For some of you it’s something that came with motherhood. For that I’m sorry. It sucks. But, for gals like me it’s old hat. While you were worrying about (gasp) the possibility of a C-Section scar showing in your bikini post-baby I was just praying that leggings would still be cool after my baby was born.
The truth is that I’ve been so busy chasing an 18-month-old I haven’t had nearly as much time to think about myself. Time spent in front of the mirror deciding if I look fat in that? Mostly I just check for spit up spots (or now it’s food thrown at me from the high chair), throw it on and roll. In short, I haven’t thought a lot about looks in the way I once did because I’m short on time. That being said, I’m a Style Editor and thinking about looks kind of comes with the territory. I can’t really avoid the pages of Vogue (nor do I want to, although I can throw the Victoria’s Secret catalogue in the trash before it gives me a total complex). And I love fashion too much for appearances to mean little in my life.
And so, as we were perusing the wares at Festival International this weekend I had this weird moment where a little statue struck me in an unexpected way. It is a mother with two babies, sagging breasts and a little paunch belly. My first thought was ‘O, hey girl, I know you.’ She looked like a kindred spirit. She was a reflection of so many of us. And yet I couldn’t help but get a good laugh at her expense thinking how odd she looked. Mothers, we’re told, don’t look like that.
Mothers who work hard look like Gwyneth Paltrow, right? They walk on Victoria’s Secret runways with less jiggle than I had pre-pregnancy just two weeks after giving birth. They look like Jessica Alba and Gisele Bundchen.
There are a lot of things people tell you before you have a baby. Some say these little people destroy your body (“but, they are so worth it!,” they exclaim — lest you should think a regretful bundle of stretch marks not worth the existence of their precious child) and others seem to bounce back so quickly and completely it seems a feat of magic. And most of us in the beginning are too tired to really think about it at all.
I think it’s all a matter of perspective. It’s where you allow your mind to live and settle. In parts of the world that little statue wouldn’t garner a snicker at all. It is what it is. It is #motherhood #truth. But, around these parts we’ve seen too much Bundchen. We’ve seen the exception more than the rule. And for many of us the exception has become the rule.
I don’t know what the answer is. It’s a big thing — tackling this world we live in that glorifies the smoothest thighs and leanest hips and gravity defying breasts above most other virtues. I think it starts in our own minds. In a belief that it’s okay. That being healthy is what matters. That taking care of ourselves and our families is what matters. That feeling strong may or may not mean looking like a Barbie — and if it doesn’t it’s more than okay. It’s #motherhood. It’s #truth. And that we don’t have to apologize for being devastated at stretch marks and C-Section scars and say “but, my baby was worth it!” That we put it all in perspective that real life leaves most of us scarred. And stronger for it.
Besides, when they ask you to do the cover of SI Swimsuit Issue, they’ll spring for the full Photoshop package — those scars will never see the light of day.