[This was written in late 2013.]
I am heavier now than I was before I gave birth. That’s a pretty common sense statement to make less than two months after giving birth, right? Don’t judge my hyper-awareness. Kim Kardashian had a baby two weeks ago and is already talking about losing 30 pounds in 30 days. I am not making this up. Not that Kim Kardashian is a role model of mine or anything (not by a long shot), but the fact remains that there’s a lot of pressure to lose baby weight in a ridiculously short, unhealthy amount of time. I’m tempted to say that it’s worse the younger you are, but I don’t have anything to back up that statement. I also feel like maybe there’s a little more pressure on me now because this was my second baby and people are so quick to tell you that the weight falls off after a first baby, but the second child is the one that forever alters your body for the worst, irreversibly and unforgivingly
I do, of course, want to get my body back in shape, but I’m also lucky enough to have a partner who doesn’t mind the extra weight on my frame. (He actually seems to like it quite a bit, which still baffles me.) I feel a bit of pressure because I am twenty-four, so by all accounts, this is the time in my life when I’m going to be in the best shape I’ll ever be in. I have to make every day super hot and sexy because if I don’t know, I may never have the chance to ever again. And yet.. There’s this thing about me that I just can’t help: I love food. Like, I love food.I don’t know if it’s a byproduct of growing up in New Orleans, but I have a serious passion for cooking and eating and trying new dishes and new cuisines. This, of course, is a serious hindrance to losing baby weight.
To be completely honest, I’m not focusing much on trying to lose any weight. I’m really not even all that bothered by the number I see when I step on the scale. I just need to tighten everything back up, naturally. It almost seems silly to talk about weight so soon after giving birth, but I think it’s a real issue these days. To use Kim Kardashian as an example again (Don’t fault me. She was the highest profile pregnancy in quite a while and she beat Princess Kate to the punch), she was mocked so much during her pregnancy because she gained weight like you’re supposed to do when you’re sustaining a human life inside your body. Granted, she made some terrible sartorial choices throughout her pregnancy, but still. I think it’s shameful to call negative attention to a woman’s body when she’s pregnant. Kim Kardashian got famous by having sex on camera. She has maintained fame by letting America play voyeur with the most personal aspects of her life. We know her waxing habits down there and witnessed her laughable, surely-for-profit marriage that lasted all of 72 days. I’ve never even watched the show and even I know what her infamous crying face looks life. It seems, and this is purely my judgmental opinion here, that the cornerstone of her “brand” is staying relevant, and her strategy for achieving that is by using sex appeal, so of course she’s wearing skintight, high waisted leather skirts. I believe it’s something she genuinely enjoys, but I also wholeheartedly believe that it’s a shrewd business decision. I’m sure that doesn’t make it sting any less when she sees these ugly things about her at, arguably, one of her most vulnerable times.
It all plays into the bigger argument about women, though. Women’s rights issues have gotten a lot of media coverage lately, thanks in part to all of the people who want to tell women what they can and can’t do in the work place, the home, and with their bodies. The media’s treatment of Kim Kardashian is just one more way that women are being force-fed a bunch of crap that shames them into being some weird, unrealistic idea of what a woman should be. A magazine cover blasting her weight gain isn’t just anti-woman, it’s dangerous. It’s cruel on a personal level and just plain shitty in the grand scheme of things.
When I was pregnant, John treated me like a goddess. I was creating a life and every pound that I gained was a reflection of that. That’s how it should be. It takes two people to make a baby, but only one of those two people can carry that baby. To do anything to detract from the beauty of that process is just sickening.
And yet, here I am. I don’t like the way my tummy rolls when I sit down. I miss my flat little stomach and long for the days when my biceps were taut and my thighs didn’t jiggle so much. I may be aware of the ridiculousness of people’s expectations when it comes to women’s bodies, before and after pregnancy, but it doesn’t change the fact that I want to have a nice, firm body. At twenty-four, I don’t want to look like I’m a mother of two when I put on a swimsuit. This is what society has done to us. I don’t want to look like a mother of two, which I am, because I’ve been inundated with “perfect post-baby body” slideshows and triumphant tales of celebrities devoting two straight months of their lives to working out for hours a day with trainers who make more money than I probably ever will, while eating restrictive diets prepared by professional chefs working closely with dietitians to restrict the caloric count as much as possible without causing said celebrity to die of malnutrition. The absurdity of it all isn’t lost on me.
I never finished this post, but just came across it in my drafts and decided to post it now.