I walk a fine line between being one of the shallows--obsessed with all things beauty--and someone who is disdainful of it all. When I came home from the hospital after having Samara, I stood in front of the mirror naked and cried. My body, now lumpy and soft, was unrecognizeable with angry purple welts screaming from my once taut midsection and thighs that even my loosest jeans could not scale. I knew the old Sasha was in there somewhere, but it seemed impossible to get her back.
Fast forward five months and I was well on my way to looking like my old self. All of my clothing fit again and my stomach, though not quite as flat as it once was, seemed well on its way to recovery. At close to nine months past delivery (nine months on, nine months off), I still have another 3-4 pounds left to lose, but my clothes fit and I feel ok about the way I look. So the last thing I needed was a reminder that I am somehow wrecked. But that is exactly what I got, courtesy of the New York Times.
"The Mommy Makeover" is a trifecta of plastic surgery--a tummy tuck, breast lift/implants and lipsosuction. As if we moms needed anything to make us feel worse about our post-baby bodies, now there is actually a series of surgical procedures we need? I think not. This article made me so mad I was practically shaking. Sure, I have threatened to get a lift once I am done having my babies. My breasts are not what they used to be, that's for sure. But I have worked incredibly hard to get back to a size four and also worked to accept the two or three silver streaks on my stomach that remind me of my baby and all the work I did to get her. They are badges of honor. But now I guess I am supposed to want them lasered off?
How are women ever supposed to accept their bodies when the standards become more rigid everyday? Now we are supposed to keep our body fat below the point of menstruation prior to having children, but somehow also look like centerfolds after giving birth?
I am all for improvement and feeling sexy, but I have also always believed that plastic surgery is cheating. If one was not born with certain attributes (or with too many of some), then they are likely not supposed to have them. It feels frivolous and shallow, yes. But it also feels a bit like the kid in fifth grade who aces the spelling test because he has the words written on his hand. Carmen Electra and Pam Anderson may be hot, but I do not consider them in the same league as say Angelina Jolie who, as far as I can tell, is all natural.
Throughout my pregnancy, I felt like someone stole my sexuality. I had to learn to use something other than flirtation or cleavage to get my points across. It was a bit humbling, but also a good reality check. To think that we will always be young and cute and flirty is to lie to ourselves. Our sexuality and sense of selves both have to grow and change as our bodies do. So when I hear that women are carving themselves up to adhere to a rigid (and unrealistic) standard of beauty I am horrified.
Why can't we be like wine and become richer and more robust with age? The truth is, regardless of what society says, I like this me--the one with remnants of stretch marks and arms that are slightly less toned--so much better than the one who stressed about every extra pound. This me has gone through pregnancy, delivery and nursing. This me has laid in bed next to my husband in just a t-shirt and underwear with our daughter between us and felt sexier than she ever did at 24 or 25 when everything was tight and high. This me is the sexiest me I have ever met. And no amount of plastic surgery would make me feel any different.