Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nice Work if You Can Get It: Celebrity Motherhood vs. The Real Deal

There's nothing more beautiful that an expectant mother and nothing more galling than moms who "effortlessly" lose their baby weight soon afterwards, is there? 

I came across this article today and just had to post about it:

The feature highlights pregnant celebrities and their post-baby bodies, shown a few months after birth. What is the purpose of an article like this?

Most of us struggle with our weight and body image at the best of times, and pregnancy, however inspiring, is one time where many women's personal sense of self is particularly fragile. Yes, we may be told how we're "glowing" and that we look beautiful with the extra weight, but it's a difficult transition over the nine months, isn't it?

Following the birth, there is the reality of being wholly responsible for another life (or two, or three) - a daunting task in and of itself. The last thing we should be worrying about is our weight, and yet we do. Why is this?

Could it perhaps be the imagery that surrounds us on a daily basis? One doesn't have to go far to see female celebrity moms who seem to easily slip into their post-pregnancy jeans after giving birth. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

Image courtesy of www.instyle.com
Gwyneth Paltrow, Heidi Klum, Angelina Jolie - the list goes on and on. Do these women have superhuman genes that make them freaks of nature as well as the envy of us regular folks who struggle to hide our "muffin tops?"

The reality is that these women do not live "regular lives" like the rest of us. If they're tired, they get sleep: someone else will take care of the baby. If they want to work out, then have a massage, leisurely manicure and pedicure, then a healthy, low-calorie but delicious meal cooked by their own personal chef, they can. If they want to employ the services of one of the top trainers and fitness experts in the country who will be at their beck and call, motivate, inspire and help them reach their goals, they can. After all, money and time are no object.

Image courtesy of www.instyle.com
That is perhaps the difference between them and us. They have money which buys them not only anything and everything they want, but it also buys them time. Time to sleep. Time to exercise. Time to enjoy life and do things on their own schedules. Child care and housekeeping worries? They don't exist, as a fleet of nannies, cleaners, maids and personal assistants are at their beck and call. Is it any wonder that they're rested and in great shape?

It's easy to beat ourselves up because we haven't lost the baby weight, or have put on some extra poundage since having kids. While we  strive to achieve our own personal goals in terms of redefining our image, let's not compare ourselves to these unrealistic icons of beauty who do not undertake even a portion of the work and stress that accompanies the lives of most moms post childbirth. 

What is your body image like, as a mom? Do you compare yourself to celebrity moms in terms of appearance? How do articles like the one referenced make you feel about your body image?

VIDEO: Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee: Nice Work If You Can Get It

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16 comments:

  1. I think that I have a better body image since becoming a mom, but only because I see my body differently now. It may be jiggly, droopy, and lined with stretch marks but when my daughter looks at me and says "Momma you are beautiful" while I am sitting on the couch, in jammies, unshowered for at least 2 days (I refuse to admit to more), with my belly and a boob hanging out(that has a half interested baby latched on), it kinda puts it in perspective.

    My kids deserve someone who isn't constantly down on herself all the time. I would rather have my kids see me eat healthy (most of the time), be active as much as our life allows, and be happy then to starve myself, be obsessive about exercise, and still be unhappy with the mirror.
    Would I LOVE to have Angelina Jolies body?? HELL YES! However, I didn't have it before I had 4 kids, so if I choose to be realistic, I am not going to have it after the kids either! HA!
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  2. @Kerri So well said, Kerri. Sounds like you have it completely in perspective. The kids love us no matter what - in spite of our personal insecurities. They don't seem to see them - they just see "mommy" who is perfect, and who they love. We should all try to see past the what's on the surface like so many kids do.
    Thanks for commenting!
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  3. @Samantha
    Mine's never gone back to its slim figure after giving birth to my 2 sons. I do not have the "money" that could help me hire a trainer or a nanny t go to the gym. However, I do not think that hiring a nanny to take care of your newborn child could make you closer to him and that what differs us to these celebrities who kept on working even after giving birth. For us, no matter how tired we can be, we still make sure that we stay beside our children and take care of them..
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  4. @Carina FettverbrennungCarina - That's the truth, for sure. After having twins, my body isn't what it was and never will be and as much as I would love to be firmer and less flabby, I wouldn't trade in any of my kids for the world. It's all about perspective, really.
    Thanks for your comment.
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  5. Did you know that many celebrities hire surrogates to carry their babies. Some are even rumored to "fake" the baby bump. There has been a buzz that Beyonce had done this:)
    Google "beyonce surrogate" :)
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  6. @Dede Dede- yes, I have heard the rumors. Pretty hard to believe, but I guess nothing surprises me really at this point. It's a whole other world in Hollywood and the land of celebrities where money and image trump parenthood, motherhood and in some case, ethics. I guess that's why some people are saying that Beyonce is pretending. I guess we'll see...

    Thanks for commenting!
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  7. I prefer to think along the lines of looking "healthy"..which doesn't necessarily mean thin/skinny. I definitely need to lose all the baby weight still, but I don't beat myself up about it. I have 3 kids and I house to care for too.
    But, I don't care for my body right now because I don't feel it demonstrates a healthy image to my children. I would like to feel healthier, not simply be thinner.

    Regarding the celebs: I think we also have to keep in mind that the majority of these ladies probably didn't weigh much over 105 pounds before they even got pregnant. so say they put on 30 pounds while preggers - they still weigh under 140 lbs, which is an average weight for most (non-pregnant) woman. Not too hard to bounce back from.
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  8. @RoryBore True, but if you think about it, 30lbs on a 100lb woman is almost a third of their body weight. Think about it in terms of a 150lb woman having to lose 50lbs - it's quite a bit and challenging to say the least. That said, they have more supports from trainers, nannies, etc. than most so I guess it's not as difficult for them than it would be for others.

    Re: the baby weight - I agree - it's much more important to convey interest in one's health more than what a person looks like, especially for kids. If they see mom obsessing about her weight, they will learn a lesson about body image that is far from healthy.
    Thanks for your comment.
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  9. I don't think you need to compare yourself to celebrities to feel self conscious about your baby weight. As a man I can't relate to being pregnant, but watching your own body change so much must be alarming for a woman. And then wondering what it will be like afterwards must also be a worry. Then, you have the baby and there is no time to address anything else but the baby. I think if a woman wants to get back to her "pre-baby" body, she must be reasonable about her expectations and take it easy. You can be healthy and still be carrying extra weight. You don't need to be bone thin, a look which I personally have never liked.
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  10. @Rick True, a woman has to be reasonable in her expectations; it's just more difficult when media perpetuate articles like the one referenced that highlight how wonderful these new moms look weeks after birth. They may look great but their situation is far from typical; that fact is not always conveyed, leaving the rest of us regular moms feeling less than up to par, at best.
    Thanks for commenting
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  11. As a woman who hasn't had any kids yet, I appreciate everyone's candid responses. I would be lying though if I didn't admit that tm terrified over what pregnancy could do to my body. Maybe I'm just too vain but I really want to go back to what I was before (if I ever have kids). Is that an impossible dream?
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  12. @Melanie
    Hi Mel,
    It's not an impossible dream and it's a reality for some women just not all. The problem lies in the perspective that moms have to look like they did pre-birth - which, for most of us, isn't really realistic. My issue is with these types of articles that subtly infer that if you don't fit right back into your jeans after birth, there's something wrong with you. Totally unrealistic but this is the message that is out there nonetheless.

    Thanks for commenting.
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  13. Good points, all!

    I guess if your body is your business it's easier to devote the resources of all kinds (time, money, effort) to reclaiming your pre-baby shape.

    In my case it took all of my kids being teenagers before I finally put my body high enough on the list of priorities! I don't advise waiting that long. Don't get me wrong, I gave it sporadic efforts over the years and always THOUGHT I was staying healthy. Yet two decades of stress, hormonal changes, and too much else to do finally took a toll. I woke up one day and realized I didn't recognize the woman in the mirror.

    This past spring I FINALLY put me at the top of the investment list. I enlisted my nurse practitioner's help, balanced my hormones, worked with a nutritionist, and took up serious training.

    The yield of a size 6 for the first time in ten years was all it took for me to commit to keep it up no matter what!

    Being a mom is the world's hardest job. We don't have to be super models to invest in ourselves!

    Be well!
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  14. @Allison Peacock Allison - so well said and so common a sentiment, I think.
    Most of us moms put our families first, running after kids, keeping the house, etc., that we often don't devote enough time to ourselves. It often does take the kids getting older to think again about our own personal health. You've made a good point and hopefully will make all of us - myself included - think about doing what's healthy for us NOW, not later when it may be more difficult.
    Thanks for your comment!
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  15. LOVE the points you raise here, esp about the fleet of help that celebs have so that they can actually find the time to work on themselves. I mean, who wouldn't look great if there was someone else to do all the drudgery and let moms participate in only the good parts? Heck, I'd have a dozen more kids if that's the way stuff went down in the real world.

    Thanks for raising these issues here... and just in case anyone is interested in my thoughts on these matters, I blogged about them for the San Francisco-based body image org called About Face here: http://www.about-face.org/raising-the-bar-on-bouncing-back-after-baby/
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    Replies
    1. Agree, Audrey! How many more moms wouldn't have more children if they didn't have to deal with all of the other attendant stuff surrounding being a parent, including cleaning, cooking, chores, finances, etc. It's easy to get back into shape and look fabulous when that's all you have to worry about! Thanks for your comment and I will head on over to check out your post now as well!
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