I almost beat up a plastic surgeon the other day.
Okay, not really. I mean, can you imagine me trying to throw a punch? The only thing I would damage is my own hand.
I was driving in the car, listening to the radio, and a commercial advertising a “mommy makeover” came through the airwaves. At first I thought maybe it was going to offer a massage for women who are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, or pedicures for women who are having trouble touching their toes without pain after a difficult c-section.
Cool, I thought. Moms deserve to be pampered and cared for.
But nope, nope, nope. The words that came on next advertised tummy tucks and breast lifts and a variety of other procedures aimed at “getting your figure back” after having a baby.
And I wanted to cry.
It was probably because I had just spent the day hanging out with my three precious nephews and their wonderful, amazing, incredible mother. (For the record, both my sisters are amazing, I will tell you about the younger one another time). My older sister is one of the most beautiful and intelligent women I know. And watching her parent her three kids is so neat! Who knew so much strength and love and wisdom and talent could be wrapped up into one person?
So when this announcer came on the air and started suggesting that there was something wrong with moms, with women like my sister, I kind of wanted to punch the doctor in the face.
I know there are times when plastic surgery is needed for health reasons. But that’s not what this advertisement was talking about.
It was attempting to paint another thick layer of shame over women who probably are already having enough doubts about their body.
If you think about it, the female body is incredible. It is able to both produce life, and sustain it. And I think that’s something that should be celebrated.
But it often isn’t. We celebrate pregnant bodies. We talk about how women are glowing and beautiful while they carry a life. Shouldn’t we also celebrate these women afterwards as well?
Consider the way celebrities are treated. Praised on the red carpet for their baby bumps, but once the kid is outa there, it’s an all out race to get rid of the “baby weight,” stretch marks, and any other sign that she was once pregnant at all. She who loses the weight in record time reigns as a super-impressive queen on the cover of the checkout lane magazines.
If a woman is beautiful and glowing because of the life she carries, should we not also see her as beautiful afterwards? Shouldn’t stretch marks and saggy breasts and wider hips be seen as beautiful? Because not only are they normal, but they are a reminder of just what the female body is capable of. Stretch marks and saggy breasts and everything else that happens to a woman’s body are not shameful. Rather, they are an incredible mark of strength, and a physical reminder of what a blessing it is to be able to bear children.
When I think about the moms in my life, I can’t think of a single one who needs a makeover. The moms I know, including my own, are some of the most beautiful, strongest, and sacrificial people I’ve ever met.
I know it’s hard to remember this sometimes, but as women we are really truly more than just bodies. And any ad that tries to tell you otherwise is a bucket full of lies.
You are beautiful, moms, for so so many reasons. Please choose to believe that today.