The newest thing in plastic surgery--Mommy Makeovers or Mom Jobs--has incited a lot of controversy. Breast and Belly has an interesting discussion going. Here's another perspective on attitudes towards mothers' bodies, from Ruth C. White, a professor at Seattle University (reposted with permission):
What they need is European friends... So here's my story....
I go to Barbados for a conference/vacation. I am wearing a black one piece I had worn for years because although I was a size 8/10 I felt my stretch marks and pooch were not worthy of exposing to the world. (Being a twentysomething hottie did not prepare me for poochy thirtysomething).
So I meet two young (not yet 30) Germans: one a charming, handsome, multilingual (5) stock broker (Paris) and one 6'3" walking Adonis of an investment banker (Frankfurt).
We meet sitting on the beach one day. They ask me why I wore the swimsuit I did instead of a bikini like the girl walking by. I explained about stretch marks.
The investment banker says: "But you had a baby." And I'm thinking "DUH!" Well, I liked him straight off and when he later told me that my poochy, stretchmarked stomach was his favorite part of my body, I just about wrapped him in brown paper and took him home.
But home I went alone and threw out the one piece and went and got me a low cut bikini from old navy. And I work it. With no shame to my game at all.
Now why did it take some hot young European stud to give me the gumption to parade my slightly poochy but very stretchmarked body on beaches from San Pedro to Montego Bay, Brisbane and beyond? In the meantime, poochy men were hanging over their speedos everywhere I went.
But now, I've got that same poochy bod on my facebook page wearing my bikini on my deck on Queen Anne (Seattle) hill as the first pic in my "my 40 year old life" photo album.
There is nothing pathological about stretch marks or varicose veins or tummy pooch. Like my girlfriend says, "it's how you work it!" If you have confidence in self, guys (although it seems most women are worried about other women's POV and that's the sad part) won't notice, just like how they don't notice a boob job. ("How can you tell?" whatever! LOL.) All they see is big boobs or great personality. With stretch marks all they'll see is big boobs or great personality LOL. And here's the kicker question: so what if they see stretch marks? Are they going to have testicle lift surgery anytime soon? Bet not! Why? We don't care. And guess what, they don't care about our stretch marks either.
But seriously, I think the construction of a non-existent ideal is based on us covering up all the time and having this puritan background which makes us ashamed of our bodies to start with. My European friends are used to seeing women's bodies in all shapes, sizes, forms and ages with no one "ashamed" to be seen. That creates a different environment.
I think we also need to accept aging for what it is. My story....
My 82 year old neighbor will come to her door while wearing her yoga bodysuit. She ice skates in a little frilly outfit once a week. And she's got wrinkles that reflect all the living she's done. And she's graceful and athletic and fit and fun and smart and everyone loves her.
Now that's beauty!!!