The trend of turning postpartum bodies into a comedy routine spans the mommy landscape from Hollywood, to blogdom. We hear actresses who recently gave birth (and who hasn’t?) joke about how they’d never hit the red carpet without Spanx! Ha, ha! And did you hear Jennifer Garner’s recent bit about her baby bump being here to stay after giving birth to three kids? She even compared her belly to a camel’s hump.
Meanwhile, mom bloggers are spitting out posts like, “Why My Muffin Top Is Hot.” Funny, but totally contributing to the mentality that we should make fun of our bodies after baby.
I guess it’s hilarious to be repulsed by yourself once you’ve had a few kids, because we moms seem to love lampooning the way we look. I do it all the time.
Over the summer, I took part in a segment about post-baby bodies on HuffPost Live. During the taping, I cracked several jokes at my own expense. “Will I ever have the body I did in high school? No!” Ha, ha, ha! Why did I do this? Because I felt like the other moms on the panel would freak out if I told the truth: I actually still like my body. Gasp.
Liking your body seems to be some sort of betrayal of mom code. Didn’t you get the handbook? Remember the part about how you have to despise your blubbery belly and your deflated breasts? It’s right after the section on how you will never wear a two-piece bathing suit again, without hating yourself the entire time.
Plus, being okay with your appearance isn’t funny. Or is it? Let’s test out that theory with a joke. “I think I look pretty good after three kids.” Crickets. Nope, not funny. So are we putting ourselves down to get laughs?
Or is it that having a sense of humor is easier than confronting the hatred many moms feel toward their bodies? Getting silly about our stretch marks is amusing. Learning to accept them is agonizing.
Besides, liking yourself would be so smug! And so not funny.
Perhaps this is why I feel guilty when another mom compliments how I look, and why I immediately start explaining away my slender physique. “Oh no, I just work out a lot. It took a long time to lose the baby weight. I’m still working on it! Ha, ha, ha!” I’d hate for that other mom to know I felt good about myself. She’d think I was such a jerk, with no sense of humor.
So, whenever I’m told I look great after the recent birth of my daughter, like a dutiful member of the current “jokes on me” mom culture, I begin poking holes in my appearance. “Yes, I am back in my pre-baby jeans, but what’s up with these batwings?”
But has anyone else grown tired of making jokes about your body, just to fit in with this self-loathing trend? Is anyone else sick of reading blogs entitled, “An Open Letter to the Boobs I Had 10 Years Ago?”
Watching your body change during a pregnancy, and after you have a baby is no picnic; this I can admit. And humor helps us cope with being parents; I get it. But let’s dig a little deeper, and find out why we are making jokes in the first place. Let’s try to love our bodies after baby first, and laugh second.
Melissa Willets is a writer and blogger, and a mom-of-three living outside of New York City. She tweets @SpitupnSuburbs