Culture & Entertainment

Post Baby Body Image: Perception or Reality?

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Post Baby Body Image: Perception or Reality?

By: Guest Blogger
I hosted a dinner party the other night and a comment from one of the guests sort of struck me as odd. She came in and said "when Racheal said it was a “casual supper”, I expected dresses.  I didn't expect to find her in jeans." In business, I am always in a dress.  I like dresses better than pants anyway, but I’m often at high profile or corporate events.  You dress to suit the situation.  And sure, I know I'm known for my funky camera bag and my heels -I'm always in heels -but I didn't think that carried over into my personal life. Because at home, I always see myself as frumpy and slightly overweight, in flour dusted Lulus and well loved hoodies. But I guess my friends see something different. And then I remembered something that happened about a month ago.  I was at a formal gala with Lucian Matis, and I said I’d love to wear his dresses, but he'd have to make one that covered my “mummy tummy.” He looked at me with sort of a sad smile.  “Your problem is not the “mummy tummy”, I think, it's here,” he said, pointing to my head.  “Have you seen what you look like?” I appreciate that a fashion designer would say it’s not who I am, but how I perceive myself that's the problem. But the thing is, after we have kids, how we perceive ourselves shifts. I remember telling my family that my hairline had changed after my daughter was born.  They all told me I was nuts. But then, close to a year later, we were looking at pictures and it clearly showed my hair was growing back.   (It’s happens to a lot of women, by the way.)  So that has always validated how I feel, because who knows our own bodies better than ourselves? And I know we are almost overwhelmingly influenced by the media, whether we want to be or not.  We’re bombarded with images and articles on what we should look like after babies, and how quickly we should achieve it.  I’m sick of those ridiculous stories.  I’m sick of women being portrayed as failures if they haven’t gone back to some arcane Barbie Doll proportion within weeks of giving birth.  And I’m disgusted with those who criticized Kate for not hiding the post-partum bulge. Look, I'm a photographer.  I photograph a lot of celebrities and a lot of "regular" people too.  And yes, I know photoshop inside out and backwards, and know what can and cannot be realistically achieved.  I very, very rarely retouch any photographs.  People will always ask what I did because they love how they look, and I'm not sure if they ever quite believe me when I say "nothing."  But that's another article in and of itself... So what do I chose? I chose to continue to bake cupcakes for my kids in my flour covered Lulus.  It makes me happy. I chose to continue to wear heels at work.  Ok, and in the schoolyard.  They make me happy. I chose to host dinner parties and sometimes wear jeans. And I will chose to wear my Lucian Matis gown proudly. He just has to make it for me first...      
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Post Baby Body Image: Perception or Reality?

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