As some of you may know, I can become quite heated and vociferous when I feel someone is doing something that is not quite right. In these situations, I lose all sense of self-control (and tongue-control), blow up, and often say something I might regret later. I hope I won't feel that way about the most recent letter I wrote to the editor at Metro Parent, but I probably will.
Just for a little diversion in your day, I'm putting it here...if you do read this, see note below...
I was so displeased to read a recent article featured in Metro Parent, "Moms get a lift: nipping and tucking the signs of childbirth". I do strongly feel, as mentioned in the article, that "In our society, there is a lot of pressure for women to look good." I do NOT believe that women need to respond to that pressure; in fact, I feel that it is our duty as mothers to go against society, to change society, and to prove ourselves as role models to our young children. Women are NOT their bodies, women should not be judged based on their bodies, and it is wrong to hold the contempory "ideal" female body as a goal in one's mind. That ideal is often very far from the natural body that a woman was born with or could ever naturally aspire to have - even the women who have those bodies may not be maintaining them in a natural way.
I find Missy Daniels' bathing suit concerns to be nearly ridiculous, though I can understand them, to an extent. One month ago, at age 34, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was at home, recovering from my double mastectomy, when I encountered the article. I did elect to have immediate reconstruction (as was suggested to me), but I am not expecting to come away from this experience with impressive breasts. My first goal is that I can see my 3 very young children grow up, and then after that, my goal is to be able to lead as full a life with them as is possible. I had the reconstruction so that I might be able to go swimming on a moment's notice without fumbling around for a prosthesis to fill out a bathing suit, and with the hope that one day I can wear a mother-of-the-bride dress at their weddings. I can understand Missy Daniels' concern with looking normal - I feel that too, now more than ever as I am about to lose all of my hair due to chemotherapy - but it is what this "normal" is that bothers me. Normal, for a mother of five, should not be the same normal that it might be for a 20 year old woman who has never been pregnant. It is expected that pregnancy should have an effect on our bodies. I don't even discredit Mrs. Daniels for having breast enhancement surgery, if that is what she needed to have to make herself feel better. I do blame Metro Parent for showcasing this "nip and tuck" of "the signs of childbirth", for buying into society's views on the perfect female body. Metro Parent is not relieving the pressure that women feel to have perfect bodies, it is adding to the pressure by printing this article.
Please, do not forget that there are women with such far greater concerns than how their bodies look (not even perform - because Missy Daniels' body has performed beautifully in bringing 5 children into the world, quite a bodily feat). Young women, each day, are diagnosed with life threatening diseases, disfiguring illnesses, and they manage to handle it better and more gracefully than those who fret about some saggy, small breasts. I can only hope that I might do the same.
Metro Parent is such a unique publication, and often showcases the better part of humanity and the human spirit. It encourages us to do well by our children, to inspire them, and to lead them to adulthood with care and grace. I feel sorry that this article found its way into this magazine, and into the hands of so many women who are really wishing to do a good job of mothering. This is NOT how we should mother. We should look higher and try better, as Metro Parent often urges parents to do.
*This is the note below: I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with a woman's choice to enhance or augment her body in whatever way she sees fit. I just really felt it was inappropriate to discuss this in a parenting magazine, and took offense with the little headline on the cover also: "Mummy Tucks - Cosmetic Surgery to erase the signs of motherhood". I think it is fine to discuss cosmetic surgery with friends, I think it is fine to do - but I think that underneath all of this, women should be trying to be bigger than their appearances (I've always felt that way, too). I think people should look upon the life-giving experience of childbirth with happiness and not regret that it changes our bodies...and I think aging should be honorable. It would be an honor to be given life long enough that there is a chance to age.