Two Stories

…and three links, the first two about the same story. Postpregnancy cosmetic surgery is on the rise, according to the New York Times, which explains:

Aimed at mothers, it usually involves a trifecta: a breast lift with or without breast implants, a tummy tuck and some liposuction. The procedures are intended to hoist slackened skin as well as reduce stretch marks and pregnancy fat.

‘The severe physical trauma of pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding can have profound negative effects that cause women to lose their hourglass figures,’ [one surgeon] said. His practice, Marina Plastic Surgery Associates, maintains a Web site,, which describes the surgeries required to overhaul a postpregnancy body.

Or, as Jezebel comments:

Hey, so here’s something you may be aware of: when a woman goes through the life-changing and completely natural event of giving birth, afterwards, her body doesn’t always look the same as it did before!…The problem is that these surgeons—mostly men—market their procedures by making the postpartum body seem horrifyingly disfigured and abnormal.

Third link, second story: The Shape of a Mother, a site that collects pictures of postpartum bodies.

It occurred to me that a post-pregnancy body is one of this society’s greatest secrets; all we see of the female body is that which is airbrushed and perfect, and if we look any different, we hide it from the light of day in fear of being seen. That makes me want to cry. Sure we all talk about the sagging boobs and other parts, but no one ever sees them. Or if they do, it’s in comical form, mocking the beauty that created and nourished our children.

It is my dream, then, to create this website where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities can share images of their bodies so it will no longer be secret.

I think this is very cool, but I don’t have anywhere near the stones to send in a picture of myself. Suffice it to say that while I’m only a few pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, my body now has a very different shape. Like many of the other women, I’ve now got this weird, stretch-mark-scarred flap of extra skin and fat hanging down where I used to have only smooth tummy. In fact my waist is one of the things I always liked about my body: I put on weight on my boobs and butt and thighs, but I always had a waist. Now, not so much. I’m still gradually losing weight, but I just don’t know if that extra flap will ever go away.

It was interesting to me to encounter both of these stories within a few days. My take is that I’m glad surgery is an option for the women who want it, but I can’t ever imagine going under the knife myself. And I resent the notion that the only acceptable female body is the prepartum one, that a normal postpartum body is just gross and disgusting—even though I fight against those thoughts myself. It’s definitely going to take a while before I feel really comfortable in my postpartum skin. I will say, however, that Sam’s continued unabashed enthusiasm for my naked body is really really helpful. Thank heaven for incurable horndogs.

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