So Let’s Address Those “Mommy Makeover” Plastic Surgery Billboards

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So there are these billboards that have been popping up in my area advertising plastic surgery services. At first I didn’t pay much attention to them, you know, to each their own. Admittedly, when I was younger I imagined getting a little nip tuck here or there if something got too loose. However, when I noticed that right under “breast augmentation” was “mommy makeover” I was immediately bewildered. Mommy makeover? I thought having a child was my mommy makeover.

Through creating and building MyPostBabyBody I have been able to unlearn the negative body expectations that women face and recalibrate my own perceptions of beauty. I have gone from wondering how to make the excess skin that hangs from my belly like a chandelier go away. To wondering why my chandelier belly isn’t on the cover of Elle Magazine. Really though, why isn’t it? If every human being on this planet was birthed by a woman, and a significant number of women have residual evidence of said birth, then why hasn’t the post baby body been normalized in our society? I mean beyond the idea that you either “snap back” or pose strategically behind your children in pictures to hide your “baby weight”.

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Here it is!

Which brings me back to the mommy makeover billboards that are proliferating in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live. I am appalled by their assertion that my body needs to be made over because I performed the miraculous feat of staying off wine and soft cheeses (I love cheese by the way) for nine plus months, carrying an extra 30+ pounds, stretching to accommodate an entire human being in my uterus only to push that human being out of my vagina after hours of delirious pain. Not to mention, the lifetime that follows of having to actually raise that human being so that he can become a functional and conscious adult who resists society’s oppressive messaging that is constantly deeming his beauty unacceptable. You know, nothing major.

I should also mention that I have no issue with mothers who go under the knife. It is the overarching negative post baby body sentiment that the billboards represent that I have beef with. Nevertheless, I probably shouldn’t take those billboards so personally. After all, they are not advertising to public school teachers such as myself. Those plastic surgeons know that I cannot afford their services although, I hear they do offer layaway these days. In all seriousness, they are advertising to the people merely driving through my town, Oakland, to get to San Francisco. Talk about adding insult to energy. I have a billboard in my community that is telling me that my miraculous stretch-marked-flabby-child-producing body needs to get made over but I am not even the billboard’s intended audience. 

Nevertheless, I am just going to use my feelings of frustration from those somewhat misguided billboard’s messaging to fuel my work. The work of reminding women that while physical makeovers can be empowering, mental makeovers are essential- not just for our own well-being but for our children’s. We don’t necessarily need plastic surgeons to make us over, we need to embrace and be loved for the mommy makeovers our children gave us through pregnancy and childbirth. That is the message that should be sprawled on billboards. That is the message that mommies need no matter where they are on their post baby body journey.

 

My Planned Parenthood Story

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Quite honestly, I’ve been almost stifled by the recent actions of the presidential administration. Acting out and protesting in some moments and sitting baffled in other moments. I’ve been thinking about Planned Parenthood a lot. How the moves to defund it feels and is a direct attack on women. I’ve been pissed thinking how men who are not even directly served by Planned Parenthood, privileged men who have partners who probably have but would never admit to having used Planned Parenthood’s services, get to vote on its fate. It’s like me deciding that men’s underwear don’t need the little opening in the front anymore and making it a law or maybe it would be better to compare it to men’s right to prostate exams or to breathe. I don’t know. I read that a South Carolinian politician presented a bill to ban the selling of Viagra to prove a point about women’s rights to medical care. It totally went over people’s heads to the point that it may even become law. What kind of world are we living in right now?

I’ve been thinking about all the many low income women and youth whom, without Planned Parenthood will face a lot of health risks and then I remembered, I frequented Planned Parenthood for years. Planned Parenthood isn’t just for the teen that needs birth control or the woman who needs a Pap smear, Planned Parenthood is for the part time educator who is on a poor insurance plan that charges insane prices for birth control pills.

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Yay! I’m a soon to be uninsured college graduate!

When I graduated from college and got booted off of my father’s medical plan, I worked part time as an educator at various school sites to patch together a living wage to start paying back my loans, to pay my rent, buy food, you know, support myself. My money was tight so once I discovered I could get birth control for free I was happy to receive my green card from Planned Parenthood. To avoid being seen by my students, I frequented Planned Parenthood offices in the suburbs (I was super self conscious then, I probably wouldn’t care as much today). I would go, fill out my questionnaire, discuss my relationship status with a health professional and get my pills. The discussion part was simple for me but now I can’t help but think about all of the women who had more complex information to share. What about the women who are victims of domestic violence? Women who are being coerced into sex? Who will help them without Planned Parenthood? Who will point them towards support services? I now have access to decent medical insurance but when I first got pregnant, as a first year teacher who hadn’t worked for the district long enough to receive medical insurance, it was Planned Parenthood that I depended on to confirm my pregnancy and tell me what I needed to do. Thinking about it now, Planned Parenthood helped my partner and me do just that, plan our parenthood.

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The Women’s March happened. Executive orders have been signed behind closed doors, with only cameras and all male accomplices in attendance. There is a lot to fight right now and as a black heterosexual cis-woman living in an urban environment I feel we need to fight them all, which includes protecting Planned Parenthood. Shit is crazy and calling representatives, fundraising, marching and other forms of protest are exhausting but so is *slavery. Do what you can when you can, take breaks to recharge, stay informed and love your love ones. This is the time to act. It seems that our government is being run by men that in the words of Tupac Shakur, “hate the ladies that make the babies” and they need to be stopped.

#WomenCrushWednesday ~ Taylor Jay

Women crush everyday of the week! To honor and share stories of women who are crushing it either on the body front or the mama front, I am featuring short interviews of women who are crushing it, hence the title #WomenCrushWednesday. This is an extra special fashion edition #WomenCrush Wednesday with body positive mama designer and businesswoman, Taylor Jay!

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One of MyPostBabyBody.org’s favorite designer’s, Taylor Jay and me draped in Taylor Jay’s fabulous designs.

How has your view of your body evolved over the years?

I’m learning to embrace my curves. When I was younger I was quite thin and I had really lanky- long legs, long limbs with a big butt and I was super insecure about it. Now I have filled out all of the long leggedness. I am a little more filled out but I have learned to embrace my curviness. Especially now that it’s such an honor to be curvy, to be a woman and I am accepting my body. I’m okay with it.

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Shop this look at TalyorJayCollection.com

How do you think women should feel about their bodies?

Women should love the skin that they are in. I think that we should always be the best version of ourselves that we can be. In addition, health is definitely an important part of life. We want to be healthy but at the same time women shouldn’t be hard on themselves – the things that they can’t change they should learn how to embrace and accept the beauty in it.

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Taylor with her daughter 🙂

How do you think women should feel about their bodies?

I have fallen in love with Taylor Jay over this time just because of the wonderful amazing women that I come across. Like the women that I see in my clothing who feel so beautiful, they feel so feminine, so comfortable, they feel confident. There are such a wide range of sizes as far as height, weight, curvy, thin and I can just see how they all own this confidence individually and it just made me feel great about being a designer and making clothing that contributes to that. As far as Taylor Jay goes, all my clientele, their bodies their lifestyles and just like their total being is something that I think about when I am making a new style or when I think about making something new or even picking a fabric color. I do it all with the Taylor Jay woman in mind. All in all most of the Taylor Jay ladies that I come in contact with are confident, are beautiful and she is her own version of herself.

Editors Note: Taylor Jay’s clothing line is one of the best around for the post baby physique. Her clothes are stylish, comfortable and empowering. You can access Taylor’s online store at TaylorJayCollection.com . Here are some more of her looks:

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The ladies of FabFourFashion.com in their Taylor Jay

My favorite Taylor Jay Looks

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