Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Postpartum Body Image: Celeb Style

I had a great time presenting for a mother's circle that my friend Fiona Judd hosts the other night!  The topic?  How to have good body image during pregnancy and beyond.  I have already done a couple posts that go over some of the things we discussed.  You can read my post about body image during pregnancy here and my post about postpartum body image here.  We also discussed how the hype surrounding celebrities' postpartum journeys can be very misleading.  I used some of Audrey Brashich's article and discussed how media's portrayal of breastfeeding may affect body image using an article from Adios Barbie.

Here's just a taste of the celebrity culture around pregnancy and beyond:

Photo Credit

Jessica Simpson (click for source)
·         Being paid an estimated $3 million by Weight Watcher to lose baby weight
·         (Not to mention all the jokes about how big she got during pregnancy and how long the pregnancy was.)

Would you stick to a diet if you were getting paid $3 million?

Gwenyth Paltrow (click for source)
 "Every woman can make time [for exercise] -- every woman -- and you can do it with your baby in the room." 
Works out 2 hours every day with the help of a personal trainer to lose baby weight.

I don't think that Gwenyth Paltrow understands the limitations most women have when is comes to exercise after the baby.  By the way, two hours every day is a bit excessive!

Maria Menounos (click for source, the actual quote is in the magazine not online)
Admits to being afraid to get pregnant because she doesn't want people to see her "hippy" body.

But you will pose nude for Allure?  I guess the assurance of airbrushing makes it all better.

Photo Credit

Mariah Carey (click for source)
Wore a towel in the bath so her husband couldn’t see her “rancid” body.
 “I had, like, no bones for a while,” she said gesturing to her collarbone.  “It’s important to me to feel my bones!”

Clearly Mariah Carey was uncomfortable with her body during pregnancy, which isn't uncommon for a lot of women.  I'm just sad that she would call her body "rancid" on record.  Not the example I want women to look up to.

Padma Lakshmi (click for source)
·         "I felt good then, I feel good now, I'll feel even better when I lose the last 15 pounds" (gaining 25 pounds during pregnancy).

If you feel good about your post-baby body, why do you still need to lose 15 pounds?!?

Photo Credit
Heidi Klum (click for source)
·         Walked runway for Victoria Secret 5 weeks after having her fourth baby.
·         Still hoping to lose 20 more pounds after being on the runway.

First of all, Heidi Klum is not the only model to walk the runway in a few short weeks after delivering a baby.  The pressure to appear in public after giving birth seems to be mounting for celebrities.  But seriously folks, most women are not ready to walk a runway 5 weeks postpartum.  And most women would be very satisfied with their bodies if they could walk the runway--they wouldn't be complaining about needed to lose 20 more pounds!

The reality of most women's experience giving birth is so far-removed from celebrity culture.  That's why one of my top pieces of advice is to throw out the magazines.  Focus on the gift of motherhood (even though some days it feels like a curse), and be compassionate toward your body.  You don't need timetables and comparisons to make life more stressful during pregnancy or postpartum.

What do you think of the media's portrayal of and celebrity expectations about pregnancy and post pregnancy?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Beauty Redefined

Last night I presented on body image at a mother's circle group for new mothers.  Oh yes, we went there!  We discussed how to still appreciate your body while going through all the changes of pregnancy and post pregnancy.  More to come about that on Monday!

I am beauty redefined!
I want to quickly give you a heads up about a great campaign that Beauty Redefined is doing.  They are having women send in pictures with the words, "I am beauty redefined!" to demonstrate the many forms of beauty.  After our group last night, one of the ladies had a great idea to take a picture and submit it to the Beauty Redefined Facebook page.  Check out our photo!  (I'm not in it because I'm the one taking the picture!)

If you feel inspired, go ahead and participate in the campaign.  All the details are here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Review: Almost Alcoholic

I had the privilege of reviewing a book that I'm willing to recommend and have added to my book recommendations page under substance abuse.  It's called Almost Alcoholic, and it's written by two mental health professionals from Harvard--psychiatrist Robert Doyle, MD and psychologist JosephNowinski, PhD.


I love this book because the way I see mental health problems is very much on a continuum; I don't see things black and white.  For example, I don't like categorizing someone's problems as either "normal" or "problematic".  I see problems in varying degrees from normal to problematic, with many steps in between.  This book is written with this continuum in mind.  The truth is that there are more than 2 types of people; you're not just alcoholic or not.  You can be developing problematic behaviors that may lead to alcoholism, even though you don't qualify as an "alcoholic".  Yet.  And that's where the term "almost alcoholic" comes from.

It's important to understand if your behaviors with alcohol or the behaviors of someone you love are becoming more problematic.  The earlier you get help, the better.  How do you know if you are "almost alcoholic"?  The authors list five key signs:

  • You continue drinking despite at least some negative consequences.
  • You look forward to drinking.
  • You drink alone.
  • You sometimes drink in order to control emotional and/or physical symptoms.
  • You and your loved ones are suffering as a result of your drinking.
If you're concerned about your own relationship with alcohol or are concerned about someone you care about, this is a great book to help you understand more about alcohol use and abuse.  This book is full of great examples, quizzes, illustrations, and guidance on how to get help.  It has a few chapters on how to deal with negative feelings, such as loneliness, anger, stress, and shame--and you know how I love discussing emotions!  There's also a discussion about whether abstinence is the right solution.  And what book on alcohol abuse wouldn't be complete without reference to the Twelve Steps from Alcoholics Anonymous?  Check.  Those are listed in the back.

Almost Alcoholic isn't too clinical or wordy.  I think it's easy to understand and will be a great read for yourself to to help you support a loved one.  And it's still a great reference for professionals working in the field of substance abuse.  Check it out!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Big Deal Seal: Vote For Me!

I have great news to share!

A while back I wrote a post for Girl Guides of Canada titled Sexualization: What Does Your Outfit Say About You?  It was a popular article, and I just found out that it was one of the top 25 most-read guest posts on the GirlGuidesCANblog!  Now they're looking for the top five bloggers in five different categories--and that requires votes!  My article is in the "A Girl's World" category.  If you like my work or like the article I wrote, please take some time and vote for me.  As you know I love spreading the word about women's issues, and voting for me is a great way to get the message out there.  Women don't have to conform to unrealistic and unhealthy standards our culture perpetuates in order to be valuable.

In order to vote, you need to be subscribed to the GirlGuidesCANblog here, which you can do here.  The details about how to vote are here.  After you are subscribed you will need to send an email with your vote to submissions @ girlguides.ca with the word vote in the email subject line.  It will only take a few minutes to vote for me!

Thanks for your support!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Story of Strength: One Learns to Speak Out

Today I'm glad to continue my Stories of Strength series.  This woman has used her beautiful talent for prose to describe her experience with a troubled relationship entitled, "One Learns to Speak Out."  Read on!  I think you'll find it powerful and insightful.

***If you're wondering what I'm talking about, check out my call for stories of strength.  Don't disregard your own story because you don't think the experiences were "bad enough" or because you don't write "good enough".  We can all benefit from hearing the different ways other women show their strength.  If you're wondering about whether your particular experience fits, don't. :)  If you're a woman, and you've dealt with something difficult, you have a story of strength!  To get the details on how to share your story of strength, click here.  You can check out my own personal example of a story of strength as an example.

Source: 30.media.tumblr.com via Joy on Pinterest

He should have fought his darkest demons to task
Rigid control was never a question, it veiled his sympathetic mask
Mistaken attitude of blurred boundaries and rumors ran on
Dewy eye patient’s, with distorted heroism and plenty of fans
Peers bestowed upon him the title,
Most compassionate surgeon, so who was this man?
Ethical rules were in place to do no harm
Therefore no one sought to sound the alarms
Except a flower lady who whispers her knowing
A daunting surgery to rid her body of malignant cells
 Her heart truly filled with only love, faith and kindness
 Expose an awareness of tainted laughter, polluted words, and a dreary kiss.
 Now a secret, a wrong, did no nurse see, was this just another scandalous miss?
The doctor sought forgiveness, and yelled "you don’t know me at all”
And he pleaded with grief to not let him fall.
Her troubled flashbacks, a hurt full sorrow beyond belief
 Broken trust she cried, with mad confusion and shouts.
Emotional scars now seeking balance and relief
 But it only heals when
One learns to speak out.

***Update: To answer your questions, the author of this poem has clarified her situation with me.  She was a victim of multiple incidents of sexual abuse by her surgeon/doctor.  She has reported his misconduct to the medical board.

What do you this of this woman's poem?  What encouragement would you give about her situation?

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