Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mommy Makeover

I promised myself that I would write more often once Cayton went off to kindergarten. I figured that I would have a bit more time on my hands since Vivi is going to preschool two days a week as well. So far, I haven't really held up my end of the deal. The excuses are endless, I can't think of anything to write, I am busy/sleepy/hungry, I need to call my mom. Basically, I haven't wanted to sit still and think. Given that my brain often turns against me and tries to make me miserable, I haven't wanted to give it the chance. Stay busy, always busy.

I have kept this up for about a month now. Cayton is finally getting settled in school. Vivi is becoming more skilled at entertaining herself and the baby takes two naps a day. So, the excuses are getting pretty thin. But the thing that finally pushed me over the edge was a spot I heard on the radio this morning. It was an overly chipper lady going on about plastic surgery and specifically about "Mommy Makeovers". I was intrigued. No, not that I wanted such a thing but that such a thing had been dreamed up, packaged and marketed. Evil!

This particular product seems to be a combination of plastic surgery procedures bundled into what they term a "Mommy Makeover". The idea being that after pregnancy and childbirth, women need to get an overhaul. "Come on in ladies and talk to our doctors about the Mommy Makeover so that you can be your best!" Oddly, I didn't hear the related promo about a Daddy Makeover, but that's maybe another rant.

I've been chewing on this for a bit to figure out what really irritates me about this makeover thing. I don't have a problem with anyone having plastic surgery (as long as it's not that weird lip thing that celebs do. Eeeek!). I imagine that there are all sorts of healthy reasons for men and women to choose plastic surgery. But that's the thing. If a person has a body part that offends them and they choose to correct that, then fine. I mean, I personally have had all sorts of procedures done to straighten my teeth. The lovely grill you see today is thanks to a really dedicated and skilled orthodontist and at least one oral surgeon. So no, I don't have a problem with people availing themselves of surgical options for improving their looks.

What I have a problem with is the marketing that says, "Hey Ladies, have you had a baby? Yes? Well then, since your body is undoubtedly completely FUBAR, then let us fix you right up. You don't want to be hideous and undesirable do you? You want someone to find you attractive don't you? Well, it's not going to happen with that wreck of a body that you currently inhabit. We have an array of options at our disposal to turn you from a monster into a hottie. Because it's all about how you look and who wants to have sex with you!" Maybe that's just how I hear it, but what is deeply offensive to me is how something like this preys on a group of people who are understandably vulnerable.

Anyone who has had a baby has looked and themselves in the mirror at some point after giving birth and has wondered just who that lady is looking back at them. No one gets through that experience unscathed, emotionally or physically. The good news is that with time, the physical damage can be mostly repaired. But, speaking for myself here, the emotional fallout of having a baby takes a while longer to regulate. Add to that all of the pressure for women to be beautiful, thin and perfect and you can see just how easy it is for the really excited pitch woman to really make Mommy Makeovers seem like the solution!

That brings me to the other reason why my vision goes all dark and spotty when I hear this plastic surgery commercial. The woman who pitches the idea is the disembodied voice of that girl from high school who made it her job to find each and every insecurity and exploit it. Whether it was for her personal enjoyment or just pure evil, I don't know. But, every girl out there knows just what I'm talking about. I think I had a bit of a Mary Hart reaction to hearing the lady go on and on about how new moms need an overhaul. It wasn't a seizure, but the voice took me back to high school and all the times that some girl said, "Oh, you'd be really cute if you changed this" or "No, you aren't big you just have a muscular build" and the list goes on.

I don't know. It could be that I'm just sensitive since a year later, I'm still fighting to lose all the baby weight from Baby #3 or it could be that this really is a bitchy way to repackage and market services that already exist. But I do think that I am a little tired of the constant message that no woman, no matter what is good enough unless she's painfully thin and has a freakish sized rack (it goes without saying that these two physical qualities rarely go together in nature). I have three daughters and when I think of the future, I wonder just how tough the teen years will be for them. The pressure to be "hot" starts now for girls about age 7 and it never lets up. This completely terrifies me!

So, I think I will say "NO" to the Mommy Makeover and to all the messages out there that I am not enough as I am now. Sure, there are improvements that can be made. Despite my current fabulousness, I concede that I could always do better, be better. But, given the limited number of hours in the day and the difficulty I already have maintaining my humble attitude, I think I'll go easy on myself. The only Mommy Makeover I need can be achieved pretty adequately with a tasty bottle of wine!

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