When I paid $19.95 to sign up for Match.com where I met my now-husband, I got a free subscription to People magazine. And although I canceled my Match.com subscription a month later, Iíve been renewing People for nine years now — which is my guilty secret (okay, not so secret) vice.
I read my People magazine cover to cover, and then I read The Economist so I donít feel like a total dimwit. I donít have a television, so People is my lifeline to pop culture, and for the most part, it brings me great joy to know who Taylor Swift is writing about in her precious bubble gum pop (which I immediately download to my iPod, along with Miley Cyrus and the Glee soundtracks. Donít laugh).
But every time I see a ďBody After BabyĒ article showing off how some celebrity is prancing around in a bikini six weeks postpartum, I want to puke.
Iím an OB/GYN physician and a mother, so I speak from experience when I say, ďNonsense.Ē Real women donít have personal trainers, raw foods chefs, full-time nannies, and plastic surgeons at their beck and call. Body after baby, my ass.
Let me tell you the truth about the bodies I would see in an OB/GYN office. Shapes change. Waistlines disappear. Formerly plump breasts sag like empty Ziploc bags. Stretch marks mar porcelain skin. Muffin tops bulge over those damn low-waisted jeans that donít flatter any figure. Vaginas gape. Stuff falls out.
Yes, it’s true.
This isnít the case for every women, so if you havenít had kids yet, donít freak out the way I did back in my twenties when I watched what happened to women after enduring pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Some women emerge unscathed. Some of those Body-After-Baby celebrities are probably just genetically blessed. They pop back six weeks later after plopping out their sixth kid, and youíd never know they just birthed a ten pound babe.
But the more we popularize the concept in the media, the more self-hatred we all feel when we canít live up to impossible standards.
Next: My Body After Baby Experience