Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Affirmation in the Face of Frustration.

Last March People premiered a photo shoot featuring Jennifer Lopez and her newborn twins, Max & Emme. Upon seeing these pictures I felt just a bit put out. Mandy, my sister-in-law, chimed in by asking, "Was that not highly offensive?" Indeed, sister dear, it was. And we say this in a loving way, just so you know. We're not the least bit catty.

But please tell me: who looks like this mere weeks after giving birth?


Don't get me wrong...both mommy and the babies are looking fabulous in their Christian Dior haute couture. Note the perfectly coiffed hair of La Lopez. There are no dark circles under her eyes. She's just hanging out with her kids, wearing silk and diamonds. You know, as do all new mommies, of course!

Obviously her children do not have reflux. I can't even imagine what spit-up does to fine fabrics. I wore a burp cloth with both my girls, for the first three months. In public. I'm not kidding.

These pictures did not impress me. Here's what I really want to see:
Let's just be honest here. This is reminiscent of any fashion statements I made as a brand new mother. My ever-present ponytail, zero make-up, and an old t-shirt...albeit my mammaries would not have been contained had I worn a shirt cut this low. I'm just sayin'.

Here's Uma Thurman, looking real. Maybe one of her children kept her up the night before, puking or with a fever. Maybe she's PMSing. Or maybe this is Uma sans photoshop, airbrushing, and the magic of Hollywood. Regardless, I still love her. Moms do look like this! We've all been there. We've all had these days. I think she looks beautiful...you know, like a mother.

Faith Hill, I love you! This woman makes sweet babies with Tim McGraw and always looks flawless in concert, onscreen, or in print. Yet I love that she's out shopping, doing her thing, wearing jeans and a simple t-shirt. You know...living in real life! I need to be her friend.

My point? I have many friends who are new mothers, or soon-to-be-new-mothers. I want them to know those first few weeks (OK, months!) with a newborn are not glamorous. There are days when you won't shower until 7 pm. And that's if you shower at all! There are days when you'll think to yourself, "I will never leave this house again." And that's OK! Again, we have all been there. Moms out there--please nod your heads with me and affirm: We have all been there!

I'm not saying to let yourself go...to abandon all sense of fashion. Sometimes a little kitten heel, some new mascara, and dangly earrings are a shot of much needed self-esteem during those early days of new motherhood. Especially if you're looking fabulous and have a babysitter on hand for a couple of hours. This is a gift from God--take it and and run out the door! These moments are fleeting, particularly with a small baby.

Someone, somewhere out there in bloggy land needs to be reminded of this. For every Jessica Alba article that shouts, "Svelte & Sexy--6 Weeks After Baby!" there should be the magazine headline which touts, "I Got Off the Couch and Put On Clean Underwear--6 Weeks After Baby!" That is a very big deal.

Seriously.

I can't confirm the status of my underwear, but here I am with two week old Libbey. On the couch. In sweats. With my double chin. And the breast pump in the background. Now this, my friends, is new motherhood in all its glory.

It's what we need to hear and see. We need to be reminded. I do, at least. And I don't even have a newborn. But I have been there.

For the record, I wasn't wearing Dior or dripping with diamonds. Nor was I on the cover of People. That's not the point, now...


48 comments:

Jennifer P. said...

So perfectly said Lula! I remember dragging the basinette into the bathroom with me, hoping the water sound would lull the baby to sleep while I got to shower. I wore that burp cloth around too. And a permanent pony tail. I needed some photo shopping---real bad :).

Do you know you're winning a popularity contest over at Kat's Sunshine and Lemonade? Lots of ladies would like to eat at Applebees with you :)!

JourneytoFamily said...

I loved this! And I think I have a picture JUST like yours, laying on the couch with a newborn. Those were not glamorous days!

Julie said...

Amen amen amen amen...

CaraBee said...

I'm a year into it and I still have those days. I do get frustrated by all of the magazine covers touting these actresses who look so good such a short time after giving birth. I just have to keep reminding myself that it takes a whole team of people to make them look that way, not to mention nannies and personal assistants.

Btw - you look pretty good there, sweats notwithstanding.

Amy said...

What a great post! I never saw that picture of Jennifer, in fact, I had no idea she had kids. You are right though, those first few weeks you are lucky to shower. It is fleeting though. Good luck to your friends.

Sissy said...

Thanks for shedding the light on this serious matter. I have always thought it was funny that these new moms never look tired, at all. But then, they can afford a nanny, a make-up artist and a hairstylist who will make it all better.

Terie said...

So true. I also feel put out when I see the photos of mommy and infant only days after going home from the hospital- so unrealistic. Thanks for giving us the real deal. That picture of you and baby is so sweet. Probably the best sleep you got that week :-)

heathersister said...

Do I hear an Amen, yes I do. God luv ya for keepin' it real. I am sure this will help any new mom who reads it, where were you when I was a new mom? This is motherhood in all its glory and it it great!
Thank you Lula

angie said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that thought that cover shot of Jennifer Lopez was ridiculous. Totally LAME. I prefer your portrait of a mom in all her glory to the others any day. Such a sweet, sweet photo.

Maybe tomorrow you can tell my why and how it became the norm to pop out twins in Hollywood. Are they all doing IVF in additon to airbrushing, b/c it's just not normal.

Vicki said...

So true. For once I want to be photoshopped and beautified. Please give less pimples and bigger boobs, cause my babies have sucked the life out of mine, literally.

Caroline said...

Well, speak for yourself. Cause we all know I ALWAYS look like a glamorous supermodel mother. And my redhead NEVER spit up (everyday), or blew poop through many an outfit, OR cried for hours on end due to terrible gas.

I'm the perfect mother.

Amen.

sassy stephanie said...


But please tell me: who looks like this mere weeks after giving birth?


Well, I do of course, silly. In my head anyway. In the mirror, I look more like the pic of Uma. Only me, not Uma. Ya know.

Just think, we get to hold our babies on the couch and sleep with them in our arms. As hard as those first few months can be, they pass so quickly to never return. Jessica is all svelt and sexy b/c someone else is watching over her little angel and she has trainers at her side all day, MISSING OUT on the little relux situations. Sure, I used blankets as burp cloths to catch the miles of puke my kids could spew, but worth it? With a doubt!

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a Tonggu Momma said...

Amen Amen Amen ... and I adopted my daughter as an older baby. No one tells you before you adopt that - no matter the age of your child - you'll be dealing with the same sleep issues, feeding issues and everything else a newborn momma faces... just for different reasons.

Heather said...

Oh, Lula, you're brilliant! Where were you when I was bawling my eyes out because my prepregnancy clothes wouldn't fit at six weeks postpartum? When I was sobbing in my closet because my jeans wouldn't even go past my KNEES? When an unnamed person said, to my chubby face, "I thought you HAD your baby" (yes, they really said that)? Oh, I could have surely used this post back then.

I am loving the picture of you and Libbey. So sweet (breast pump notwithstanding).

So here's to all the REAL people out there, who are loving this post because it validates what we all think: Hollywood is not real life, most people aren't losing their baby weight in a mere six weeks (try six years), and we mortals shouldn't even worry about it.

Mama Dawg said...

You didn't see me on the cover of US with my diamonds and silk? I can't believe you missed it.

My mom took a pic of me holding a baby in one arm and shoveling food in my mouth with the other while watching TV and the cats surrounding me.

While I hated her at the moment, I now look at it and laugh. Cause it was my life for the first 6 months!

Shelley said...

This is a good post. I wish the liberal media would pick this up and tell women it is okay to walk around with a burp cloth and a ponytail for months after a baby is born. Too much emphasis is placed on what the girls in Hollywood or superstardom look like 6 weeks after the baby was born. Yeah, if we had a personal trainer and an around the clock nanny to take care of the needs of our children, we could all get sleep too, couldn't we?
I have a niece who just had a baby and is feeling the pressure of a new mommy and I remember all the bad days after babies are born. They are definitely worth it, but no one ever goes on TV and says encouraging words to the mothers who aren't famous.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Um... is there a time limit on this? Cause my babies are 9 and 5 and I STILl don't look like that Jennifer Lopez cover.

And ps - her son is SO gonna need therapy for that outfit....

Mrs. S said...

AMEN! Where is JLo's swollen face after being pumped with fluids (or just gaining 50 lbs.)??? Where's her leaky breast milk coming out bc the photo shoot's taking too long and she has to nurse?? Why aren't her kids screaming because of said milk?
I know when Moose was born, I didn't shower as often as I should (too often, Big A had to tell me to do so....if you'd had the damage down there I did, you wouldn't want to either). ha.

Live.Love.Eat said...

I do understand your point, absolutely, but I don't get offended by these types of pictures because I know all normal people, like me, know better, that this is not the norm. But if we were millionaires then we probably would look like JLo. I'm not a big fan of hers anyway & swing more toward the Faith Hills because they're just more real but I still don't bother feeling anything really when I see these magazine shoots!

Kat said...

Oh, those first few days. Or weeks. Or years. Even today - with kids 10 and 7 - I need to dye my hair AND take a shower.

Oh, that breast pump. I was not able to nurse either of mine. There was just nothing there. I would pump and maybe get 1/4 ounce total. And for 10 pound babies, that was not working. And then I had a nurse tell me "every mother can nurse."

I felt like I was a total failure at being a mother. Couldn't nurse. Couldn't shower. Couldn't sleep. Seeing a hollywood mama at that point in time would have probably pushed me over the edge...

scargosun said...

I used to feel bad for celebrities who complained about people viewing them as objects and not real people. Well, I am sorry but if you are going to do a photo shoot like that, which is ALL fake, you DO appear like an object, not a real person.

Rhea said...

I sucked at the breast pump. I really did.

I love your keeping it real photo. We need more of these! You look great, btw, just tired and new mom-ish, and I love this picture!!

Jennifer Lopez is too whiny. Something about her voice...

Brandy said...

Is J-Lo human? She's not in that first picture.

That's the work of her stylist, trainer, nanny, photographer and editor. Real people don't have a team behind the scenes. But she's always been a bit high maintenance for my taste...I mean who employees an "umbrella carrier"?!

You on the other hand look gorgeous... you still have the baby glow and everything that goes with a new mommy. It's those pictures that your girls will treasure, not ones meant to be a press release.

~Love this "love yourself" theme. Why shouldn't I? I'm fabulous! LOL!~

Elena said...

"Clean underwear", You crack me up! And can I just say, OH MY GOODNESS, your sweet baby was beautiful. I LOVE that full head of hair. I don't know how you even looked in the picture, cause I couldn't stop staring at the baby. I want another one! (Okay, maybe just for a day and then I can give it back so I can get my clean underwear on.)

p.s. I added you to my blog links, hope that's okay. If not, let me know.

Mrs. X said...

YES! Thank you for that!

I remember crying after the birth of my second baby because my feet were SO SWOLLEN that they wouldn't fit in my shoes. I had to leave the hospital with untied shoes because that was the only way I could cram my massive feet into them. How glamorous!

Double chins and breast pumps- now that's real. :)

Debbie said...

PREACH it SISTER! That is all so true....I feel that way about the Brangelina people...yeah, I'm gonna have a village of kids, because I have a village and a bankroll to raise them. Has she ever looked tired or rundown in public. Nope. Yeah that JLO pic sends the wrong message for sure...

Jen said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm way past the infant stage but there are still days where I feel frumpy and not as pretty as I did before kids. I know the celebs have teams of people and photoshopping to make them look as fabulous as they do, but it is still reassuring to see these other pics. There should be more.

Rachel said...

Bravo!! I had a house dress which I used to wipe snot all day during those months; it would be well after hubby got home did I change...
You hit the nail on the head with this one. I loved it!
Great blog!

Kelly said...

hey, but listen: you can see NOTHING of jlo's body in that overhead, tightly cropped photo. and almost everyone can have a skinny face shot from above.

now, the 'before'? 'after'? whatever picture of uma, i think is maybe more beautiful than a made-up, airbrushed whatever. she looks like a painting. so much soul in her face.

thanks, this was a fun one.

Jenny and the Princess Peonies said...

Lula! You crack me up! I totally hear ya. I just always remember that the "Hollywood girls" have a personal trainer, chef, housekeeper, nanny, etc... They are not as bleesed as we are to spend all the fleeting, beautiful moments of life with their children. So I just remember to take a breath and remember I am blessed after a long sleepless night and long sometimes drama filled days!
PS - I am glad you like my playlist! I just love it and always go to my blog and then open a new tab while I am web surfing so I have some good music to listen to. I actually got one of my songs from you! I had never heard of Boyce Ave and I normally hear of everyone!!
PPS - No I don't hate you, BUT I am sorry you didn't enjoy the book...

Jaci said...

JLo irritates. That whole triathalon crap made me want to punch her. She wanted to do it "to be an inspiration to her babies" so she started training a few weeks after birth. Whatever! We all know it had nothing to do with "inspiration" and everything to do with baby flab. Then she had the nerve to be overheard on the Today Show witching about all the air time Michael Phelps was getting, and cutting into her triathalon interview time--she even said, "I'M the one who's doing amazing things! I just had twins!" If you ask me, the Nannies are the one's doing amazing things.

Sorry to go on like that...

KDLOST said...

Hi! My first time to your blog! I'm sooo coming back! Right off the bat I see that you rock b/c: 1) this post is too cute and SO true, 2) you have a LOST counter on your sidebar, and 3) I see you made the grossgrain pumpkins that I have been obsessing about! So, kudos! Great blog!

Kim said...

Now I wonder how I managed to walk around, much less take care of a baby on pretty much no sleep! But, it was worth every hour of lost sleep! I can say that now after 24 years!

Aubrey said...

Love it! You hit the nail on the head.

I hate seeing stories like that. I could have looked that fab & fit too if I had nannies, trainers & MONEY at my disposal!

Kate said...

So COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE sister!!! :D Amen and here here!! :)

Love the pict of you and your little one...thanks for being real, it's what we're to be all about!

Emily said...

I remember when you went into labor with sweet Libby! Had we been at A Latte Coffee or the Beacon for breakfast? We were all shocked when you called and said your water broke! I can't believe what a big girl she is now!! Is she in Kindergarten or 1st grade?
What a great post! My baby is 15 months old and I'm still using the "I just had a baby" excuse :)
Miss you!

John Deere Mom said...

Sing it, sister! I spent the majority of my postpartum days in jammies, not showering, eating butterscotch chips and crying. Oh, and reapplying Lansinoh cream onto the bleeding, cracking nipples. Not once did I slip on a silk shirt, put make up on, and smile for the camera. Seriously.

Insane Mama said...

I'm nodding in agreement...
xoxo

Lylah said...

isn't real just drawing? love it...

Marrdy said...

This was a great post!! And I agree with you and have many pictures just like yours. In fact I believe I used to sleep like that for HOURS at a time!

Heather said...

That's why I loved the cover of People with Angelina in her white JC Penny granny/nursing gown. Although she still looked stunning and all dewey and glowing with shiny, lustrous hair.

Those first few months were not a joyous time. The newborn snuggles were priceless, but the lack of sleep was crazy.

I took particular offense to the J-Lo layout as a fellow mother of twins. You DO NOT look like that 6 weeks after having twins. You just DO NOT.

Nik said...

BRAVO!!! AMEN!

The other thing that the celebs never picture is the nannies they have helping them. That's one of the biggest differences...we are the ones waking up, getting spit up on and fretting over every detail of a new baby. While they are working out with their personal trainers getting all svelte while their nannies watch the baby(ies) - we would be sitting on that couch catching up on every bit of sleep.

BTW - when Cowboy was 11 months old, I went searching for a sleeper for Christmas. I was at a kiosk in the local mall and next to me looking/buying the same sleeper was Tim McGraw and Faith Hill for their daughter. She really is REAL and down to earth chickie.

Swirl Girl said...

You could look like JLO with a gaggle of nannies and makeup artists running around the mansion too!

I had my last child 4 1/2 years ago and I still look like a 'new mom' - the real kind not the celeb kind.

ps- how does it feel to be popular?

The Bayou Belles and Their Beau said...

Hate the first picture ... love the rest.

"The Queen in Residence" said...

Loved it!!! I get so tired of one more thing that as a woman and a mother I can never equal. So many wonderful commenters said is so well before me. We get to have those memories; we got to know our kids in the wee hours of the morning as we rocked them to sleep yet again. We are the ones that came when they cried, we are the ones that can truly carry that mantle with pride - we are "Mom".

Sorry kinda dragged out the soap box.

The Nice One said...

Weeks or months? Whew...my baby is 7 and I'm just getting back to normal!!! Those Jessica's and Jennifer's have stylists and nannies...of course they look fab.

Angie's Spot said...

Amen sister! There with times with both girls that I felt like no one on earth could be any frumpier than me. Hell, I still feel that way sometimes. Motherhood isn't glamorous most of the time. It would be lovely if the media could just once put some "real" pictures out there.