February 23, 2008

Mixing PPD and expectations of postpartum body image -- read the GET REAL BARBIE list here!

So I read in the paper this morning that J.Lo just gave birth to twins yesterday and next to the article was a photo of her (obviously taken before her pregnancy), with the caption stating that she's already starting to get back into shape. P-LEEEAASE....

This bit about J.Lo, not to mention all the other stories on celebrity moms instantly getting their pre-pregnancy bodies back that we're barraged with in the media, makes me think of how we moms are up against an uphill battle. Especially when we're still postpartum, achingly sleep-deprived and dealing with horrendous hormonal imbalances.

The good news is that starting tomorrow we'll have at least a week of healthy body image messages. This coming week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). NEDA is a wonderful organization, not only focused on spreading awareness of eating disorders, but also awareness of society's crazy, all-too-narrow body image expectations. I see ads all the time that are geared towards new moms, telling them they need diets, extreme workout regimens, and even plastic surgery to get their pre-pregnancy bodies back. As if we don't have enough pressure as it is with nighttime feedings, endless laundry and diapers, and all the other hundreds of things we work and cope with every day as moms. On top of it all, we have to look like Barbie, and quick.

Well, thanks to NEDA, we can listen to healthy messages, that remind us that we women come in all different shapes and sizes, that we can actually, truly, be "happy in our genes."

So in honor of next week, here's NEDA's "Get Real Barbie" list that I think we all should read to ourselves and to our daughters:

􀀹 There are two Barbie dolls sold every second in the world.

􀀹 The target market for Barbie doll sales is young girls ages 3 – 12 years of age.

􀀹 A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.

􀀹 If Barbie were an actual woman, she would be 5’9” tall, have a 39” bust, an 18” waist, 33” hips and a size 3 shoe!

􀀹 Barbie calls this a “full figure” and likes her weight at 110 lbs.

􀀹 At 5’9” tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.

􀀹 If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.

􀀹 Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight” with directions inside stating simply “Don’t eat.”

So, all of you new moms out there ---- think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor and respect what your body is able to do. You've just created life. What an incredible miracle that is! Cherish your body, eat when you're hungry and for goodness sake, toss out that scale!!!


Cheryl M. Wenzel-Nelson, M.A. said...

Hi Kristin,

This is Cheryl Wenzel from New Mom Central. Thanks for your comments on my blog.

I think your blog is very important because it gives mothers a place to feel validated by someone who has experienced PPD.

I am planning on posting "real mom" advice each month on my blog and welcome any advice you have to give. If you would like to offer other moms some advice, please email me at mamamiacher@yahoo.com with your advice and I will post it along with your website address.

Cheryl W.

Kristin said...

Hi, Cheryl!

Thanks so much for your comment -- I really appreciate what you do as well. I'd love to share my thoughts for other moms and will e-mail you shortly.

Warm regards,