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Sophie's Choice: The best muffin top

June 12, 2012

A column about maternity? From the lady that ovulates gravel? Yep. Maybe it’s because my uterus starts singing America the Beautiful every time I hear of a friend or acquaintance that has decided to enhance their family unit through adoption (kudos to the traditional fallopian pathway, but there are plenty of children all over the world that need a family to love).
No, what inspired this shout out to motherhood was a conversation I couldn’t help but overhear when I was browsing the goods at a local clothing store recently. In fact, I feel as if I have come across this subject several times over the last few months and it always perplexes me.
An attractive, young woman was lamenting the amount of weight she had put on during pregnancy as she looked through a rack of jeans that probably would have fit Barbie’s thigh. The tone of her voice seemed laced with shame that she hadn’t yet made the extra weight slough right off as soon as junior had come wailing out of the womb. Her face showed worry that she wouldn’t bounce back to the slim, trim thing she supposedly was before the process of pregnancy and giving birth had put its mark upon her.
“I used to be a size 4,” she said to a lady who was with her.
“What are you now?” her friend inquired.
“A size 10,” was the reply.
Thar she blows! Man the torpedoes and give pursuit, me hearties! This she-beast of the sea won’t escape us this time, har, har.
Excuse me, just a breath of Ahab there. Seriously though, I felt both sympathy and frustration for this young lady. Sympathy in that she thought she had to fit a certain ideal and aggravation because she, like so many other women I know, aren’t cutting themselves the proverbial slack when it comes to body issues and babies. I don’t mean to sound condemnatory. After all, I am not a first, second or third time mother, or even a candidate for the running. But for the love of Pampers, of course your body isn’t what it was YOU JUST HAD A BABY!
If some dunderhead walked up to you and proceeded to hassle you about your body just because you didn’t start on the dirt and water diet after having a kid, they would deserve a swift kick in their effusive jowls.
Is it our cultural expectations? On one hand, it seems like we support and celebrate motherhood, while on the other, front page space on magazines is dedicated to rich starlets trumpeting the amount of poundage they’ve lost like it was the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series all over again. Even pages on the in¬side are dedicated to scrutinizing the bodies of actresses and singers who have recently given birth, with sidebars on how said celebrity, “fought off the baby fat.”
According to www.mayoclinic.com, it takes an average of three months for women to work off the weight put on during pregnancy. The website www.webmd.com says a woman of average weight before pregnancy should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy (of course, check with your health care provider to see what’s right for you).
In other words, new mamas, be respectful of you. Even when all goes well during delivery, and you don’t need a C-section, you just got done pushing something the size of a watermelon out a hole the size of a lime. You don’t need me to remind you, you were there.
Anyone who is judging you on your jean size has their focus askew anyway.
*To those who have taken the time to read through this, I dig comments, criticism, or any excuse that allows me to check my email. So if you would like to vent or share, please send questions and whatnot to Sophia@statesmanexaminer.com.

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