First, yes, it's true -- I read People magazine. OK, I read it weekly. Thanks to People, I keep up on social trends like what dress looks best at the SAG awards. I'm taking notes. Seriously.
Much to my husband's chagrin, I can't get through the check-out aisle without lingering over that top wire rack where the latest issue of People sits. Oh look, the one about "The Biggest Loser" -- stretching my fingers out to just touch, touch it, and linger over the cover.
Hey, he has his Sudoku and Fantasy Football... I have my People.
OK, fine, I'm addicted. Are you happy now?
It is no different from how some women love Godiva chocolate, or other women love Ryan Gosling, or good lord, Godiva chocolate WITH Ryan Gosling reading People. In a bubble bath... but I digress. You get my point.
I have a problem. Clearly, I need help.
Aversion therapy is the recommended treatment, so all I have to do is identify one or two things about People that bother me and focus on them.
That's actually pretty easy.
First, they use the word "nosh" -- as in "to eat," apparently with great sophistication at some spectacular event. That word is like chewing cotton balls. I never, ever nosh. And second, they can't go a week without talking about someone "getting their body back" after having a baby.
Not cool, People, not cool.
I get that women think their bodies were hijacked.
I get that celebrities are under enormous pressure to "get their bodies back" -- and that People sells magazines by keeping us all filled in on how Kim or Halle or Drew or JLo got her body back.
Yay. Her body is back. Woot.
People, I could have learned to deal with the noshing and such, or at least closed my eyes and moved past it as quickly as possible, but when you out and out lie to the women of America, I've got to take a stand.
People, I'm breaking up with you.
The first rule of pregnancy is that your body, while no longer yours, doesn't go anywhere, so you can't "get it back." It's just that, well, you have company. And that company is hungry, active and restless.
You want to sleep?? Too bad -- the company is wide-awake and ready to party.
You want to relax? Forget about it. Company is jamming to the Kodō drum dancers of Japan. You need an intermission.
You want to slip into that little black dress? Hold that thought...
There comes a time in most pregnancies when there is nothing you want more than to kick that company out... um, I mean "welcome the precious bundle of joy."
The truth is, your "house" guests left a swath of destruction in their wake. Everything is out of place, you can't find anything, everything is leaking, you can't figure out how to fix it, you've got stuff that is supposed to be on the inside that is now on the outside and what they haven't completely destroyed, they have certainly damaged and used beyond all recognition.
Don't get me wrong -- I am super proud of my fellow preeclampsia survivor Kim Kardashian's fit form, but I am more proud of how honest she's been about having to work so hard to get there. She's followed a strict Atkins diet, and been exercising, kicking butt, every day. She also reportedly has a chef and trainer on hand to ensure she follows the plan. I'm not knocking her. If I were Kimye, I'd hire all the help I could.
But People, I don't want to hear about how so-and-so stepped out six weeks after the baby having (shock) dropped the 30 pounds she packed in during pregnancy. It was MAGIC!
Do the math. According to my source -- the authority, a.k.a. BabyCenter -- an average-sized woman should plan to gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. If you were underweight (hello, Hollywood!), that recommendation bumps up to 40 pounds -- and we're not even talking twins here...
The baby accounts for 6, 7 or 8 pounds of that weight. The placenta, amniotic fluid and all the extra water and blood volume you gained to support the pregnancy is another 8-12 pounds. So right off the bat, that is 20 pounds. Oh, and are you nursing? Yeah, well, while it can help you lose weight, you typically hang onto that last 10-15 pounds. It is like a biological autopilot that kicks in just in case you can't find food. So there's your 30-35 pounds -- all accounted for.
I assure you -- it is not due to too many Doritos.
The average woman will be back to normal six months to a year after the baby. Does she have to exercise and eat right? Yeah, the rules of health haven't changed.
And, I'm sorry, the celebrity who miraculously drops the 30 pounds after having a baby?! It is not the same as a woman (or man) who joins Weight Watchers and watches her diet, and exercises an hour a day and loses 30 pounds in seven or eight months.
So, while I sympathize with women wanting to be the way they were -- or even better -- you won't be. Ryan Gosling isn't going to be eating chocolates in my bubble bath anytime now, and your body will never be the same again. You may have a softer belly, or wider hips... you know... more womanly. I have a great guy who loves Sudoku. It's all about compromise.
Being back to "normal" quickly is not -- for the most part -- normal. Of course there are those freaks of nature who deliver the baby, check their make-up and slip back into their size 2 Citizens of Humanity jeans -- but they are not the norm; they are not even most of those celebrities.
When you celebrate their "return" to normal, that is like seeing veterans return from Afghanistan all healthy and well, the shiny pennies they left as. That's not right. They've been changed. This was a journey, and it had scars and bumps and rough patches and sometimes grief and tragedy. They are not the same, and to suggest that they are is to limit them to the container that they live in.
Obviously, I'm not saying childbirth is like a tour of Afghanistan, but then, I'm not saying it's not. I know far too many women who 10-15 years later still suffer from PTSD and anxiety -- and who can't even talk about what happened when they had their baby. I know that after my near-death experience I stopped having sex for three years. My (now ex-) husband was not happy about that. For me, sex and death were just altogether too closely linked.
So People, as much as it pains me... I'm breaking up with you. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, nursing a beautiful thing, babies, a beautiful thing, but the last beautiful thing on that list that I care about is how good I look.
Seriously?! Is she intact? Is she able to nurse? Is she struggling with postpartum depression? Anxiety? PTSD? Who the **** cares what size dress she wears? She had a frickin' baby. Wow.
I know (only from reading People) that Kim Kardashian had a "near-death" experience in childbirth. The last thing she should care about is impressing us with how she got her "body" back, when the truth is -- she never lost it in the first place.