Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jillian's Perfect Body

By now enough of the world has gasped in horror over the (alleged) insensitive and offensive statement Jillian Michael's made in regards to pregnancy. She's been quoted as saying a bunch of stuff (no one really seems to know what the actual quote was) that basically boils down to her decision that, while she wants to experience motherhood, she doesn't necessarily want to experience pregnancy. She wants to adopt.

She's been quoted as saying she doesn't want to get pregnant because she couldn't handle doing that to her body. And the world has since condemned her very selfish desires, saying that anyone who puts vanity first should most definitely not be allowed to parent.

Perhaps I'm alone in my ideas, but here's what I'm thinking:

Good for you, Jillian Michaels, in knowing what your hang-ups and personal demons are. Good for you in being self-aware and knowing that if you did have a baby through a natural pregnancy you'd probably struggle trying to handle the emotional roller coaster that has challenged you for most of your life: Body Image. Good for you for not wanting that issue to permeate your choice to parent and interfere with developing your mothering skills (you'll need those at their best).

You know what? I had a baby. In fact, I had three. Let me tell you - it wrecks havoc on your body. I now pee when I sneeze. And when I laugh. And when I cough. And sometimes when I just don't get to the bathroom quick enough. That bladder is not as reliable as it once was.

And I won't be wearing a bathing suit any time soon. Or shorts. Thank God for capri's (and the fact that my cellulite has not made it past my knees). The dark, deep veins that showed up and refused to leave? Perhaps I could consider them "proof of giving birth" - but I highly doubt the people on the beach desire to see such proof.

Oh, and I had a c-section. My abdomen not only has no feeling in a one inch wide strip below my belly button, it also apparently has no muscle, either. I guess the doctor took those out with the baby, because I can't figure out how to complete one single sit-up without crying out in frustration.

Guess what my kids are hearing from their vain mother?

"None of my pants fit me anymore!" "When am I going to lose this baby weight?" "I need to go on a diet." "I'm so fat."

I am frustrated that I don't look the way I used to. Good for Jillian Michaels to know that maybe her frustration would be more extreme than mine is, and that it wouldn't be good for the baby to be around that.

Also, does it matter why someone chooses to adopt? I don't believe it would matter to that child that was chosen. I have two cousins that were adopted as infants (and believe me when I say they're more a part of our family than the biological offspring). I can't imagine either of them turning to my aunt and saying, "You adopted me because you didn't want to lose your perfect body? You should have just left me at the orphanage!" My aunt wanted to be a mother. She didn't care how the babies came to her ... she just wanted to hold one. Love one. Raise one. And babies, for that matter, want to be chosen, be loved, be held, be kissed, be raised.

Wouldn't it be something if every potential parent had to list their personal demons and be ridiculed in front of an entire nation? "You struggle with alcohol addiction? No kids for you." "And you - the one that spends way too much money shopping, hiding the receipts and bags from your husband - no kid for you either. They need to learn to be truthful at all times." "Excuse me, Miss? You suffer from a social anxiety, don't you? Yeah, well, kids will require social settings - you shouldn't have any." "And you - the amputee - how the heck do you plan to hug that child properly with only one arm? Obviously you shouldn't have children." "Any woman who tans, dyes her hair, gets her nails done and works out on a regular basis - you're vain. No children in your future."

Maybe her comment does come across vain, but I appreciate her honesty. She's honest that body image is an issue for her, and she doesn't want that issue interfering with her parenting. Good for her.

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