Campbell Live rubbed me the wrong way this evening with yet another weight loss story. Tonight's was about getting rid of that unsightly tummy that pregnancy leaves in its wake. Some entrepreneurial doctor is pioneering a form of liposuction for the tummies of self-hating mummies. And Campbell Live helpfully offered the guy an informercial. Sigh.
I have a love/hate relationship with my tummy. Until I had kids (and more specifically, my second child) I didn't really understand that children change the shape of your body. Fat goes on - and stays - in places it hadn't previously. Sometimes, I feel a peculiar pride in the fact that my body looks 'lived in'. I'm kind of chuffed that I brought two new people into the world, having grown them inside my body. But other times, I just feel gross. The female bodies celebrated in the media are those of the young. They look untouched by life experience and age - those things that apparently make women undesirable.
The Campbell Live story didn't even question cultural attitudes to women's bodies. It started out from the premise that a flabby tummy is self-evidently ugly - but thanks to surgery, those of us who've 'failed' to restore our pre-pregnancy bodies with diet and exercise now have a chance to be presentable once more. I'm not so immune to cultural pressure that I feel completely comfortable about having a mother's body. But I refuse to think of it as 'failure'. On the contrary: my puku tells the story of the two greatest successes of my life.