Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One Book I Won't Be Buying

I saw this news story on the hotmail home page that got my attention: "Kids' Book on Plastic Surgery". I read the article and my stomach turned over a few times. It's a picture book. For little kids. Guess what it's called? Just guess.

You'll never guess.

It's called "My Beautiful Mommy" and it's written by a plastic surgeon to help alleviate children's fears when their mommy comes in for a "mommy makeover" - a tummy tuck and breast enlargement combo. (A combo!)

I have so many thoughts about this that it is hard for me to put them all into words, but I'm going to try. Our society has such an obsession about looking a certain way. Why do so many people want to look like twenty year olds who don't have kids? Twenty year olds who are hungry all the time and cold, too, because they aren't wearing enough clothes and have no protective fat layer. Except on their breasts. But it's fake fat, so it doesn't keep you warm.

I don't know about you, but being twenty wasn't half as much fun as being thirty. And while being single was sorta fun (I guess - I wasn't "single" that long), it's nothing compared to how great it is to be a wife and mother. I love my husband, and having kids together is the best thing we have ever done. It's a blast to be parents. Our kids are our greatest joy. Why would I want to erase the effects of the best thing I've ever done?

The other thing is that how do people with little kids, kids who read picture books, how do these people afford plastic surgery? It's expensive. Just a thought, but I'd love to see some research on this: How many of these "mommy makeovers" are on working moms who's kids are in daycare? How many of these "mommy makeovers" are paid on a credit card? And a year after, or five years after, how many of those mommies still have flat tummies?

Because in thirty or fourty years, guess what? We will all be senior citizens. And you can get your fat sucked out and your face lifted and implants put in your but so it doesn't sag and hair put back in if yours falls out and all this work won't ever make you happy if you can't be happy just the way you are right now. And all this work on your body won't matter when your body ages to the point that you can't do anything about it anymore. It's who you are that is important, not what you look like. Or what age you look like.

And what message does this send to our kids? Our little girls who are starting to mature and are unhappy with their changing bodies? Are we still going to try and teach them to love themselves just the way God created them? Are they going to get that message with a book like this on their shelf?

Things like this bother me most when I consider the little girl in Samuel's preschool class who was diagnosed with leukemia last month. Her world, and her parent's world, just turned into a surreal nightmare of hospitals and doctors and long words that they don't understand and blood transfusions and fear of infection and chemotherapy and bad days and worse days and counting the days . . . . . I hug my kids and let them snuggle into my flabby tummy and almost weep with gratitude.

I think instead of a flatter tummy and bigger boobs, these women need new eyes. They need eyes that can see how blessed they are. They need eyes to see how much better their lives are because they have grown older, have grown babies inside of them, have laughed so much that their faces are lined with wrinkles. They need eyes to see themselves as beautiful, just as they are today.

Rant over. Thanks for reading. Comments always welcome.


Sherry C said...

You know I'm reading this post aloud to whomever will listen.

Preach it, girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

You make me so proud! Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I'm sure God is as proud of you as I am for saying all that. Someone needs to take a stand. God looks at the heart not the body. Who are we trying to impress? What really matters?
Love, Mom

AmberJ said...

Thank you for this post. I totally agree with everything you said. So a big DITTO and AMEN, SISTER goes right to you!!!

I'm working on my abs of steel (the healthy way) and all my other features, but the one I am most thankful for are my laugh lines. It means I am happy and have had a good life. LONG LIVE LAUGH LINES!

Mel said...

The further away from the crisis of the disease I go, the cockier I get. I hear myself kvetching about 'getting old' and I wanna kick myself in the rearend.

I GET to get older--by all rights that shouldn't be happening.
Where does that gratitude go?
Growing old is a privilege.

There's that illusion/delusion of control--the one that seeps back into my brain when I start to, little by little, buy into the noise and hype around me.


I know I'm not alone in this 'problem'. And I'm conscious that I AM the problem.
For whatever reason, I don't keep myself where I'm happiest and most at peace.
I can point my finger at the noise and the hype (like that book you won't be buying), but really......what I need to be looking at are the fingers pointing back at me.

Let's remember you invited comments, eh?
I think I just ranted about ME.

Child of God said...

Great post! Am going to Furl it for others.

amy said...

beautifully said, sheila. you nailed it. thanks for giving me a few thoughtful moments today.

cko said...

Many words of wisdom! You reflect a beautiful person and Sally and Samuel are so lucky to have you as a role model. Why would one want to erase the delights and accomplishments of life?

Sheila said...

Thanks, everyone! It's nice to know there are other people who feel the same way. (we can all sit in the back and order desserts together and make some more laugh wrinkles)