Jillian Michaels and pregnancy

With the Jillian Michaels post behind me and things settling back to a boring ho-hum around here, I thought I’d share a link to a board forum where my piece on Michaels was shared.

Well, not shared so much as lifted in its entirety via cut and paste though I appreciated the link back to my blog. That was nice of whoever scraped me*.

The poster actually liked my article until the last line, which inspired her to physical violence which she admits probably made my point, but it was the first few commenters who pegged me for a Carol Brady**.

What they seized on was a throw away line I just put in to see if anyone would notice and they did, but they didn’t find it funny.

I should just give up on the humor thing.

Any time you stretch the lower half of your body to accommodate a small person and then squeeze it out of an opening that normally only just manages to accommodate a … tampon … for example, it’s going to change things.

Some of the women seemed to think that I was referencing vaginal intercourse and the fact that things can get a little loosey goosey in the old vagina after a natural birth. Natural birth being a relative term that in reality means pretty much anything in terms of the circumstances under which babies emerge from the womb.

Okay, so they caught me on that one. I was in fact referring to what it reads like I am referring to in a way too cute to be tolerated from a feminist anyway.

However, I did not mean to imply that I thought women should forgo child-bearing to keep their “love-holes” tight. There is a lot of muscle in the pelvic floor. Loose or tight is more a matter of a woman’s fitness level than the number of children she’s born. Kegels, ladies. And yoga. But not for your partner, for you. A weak pelvic floor means that all manner of internal organs are going to start sagging and dropping out your opening when the aging process – aided by gravity – kicks it into high gear.

Here’s my favorite comment and a fave of others too judging from how many of them cut/pasted it into their own replies (or it was their reply),

I don’t think I agree with a single thing this blogger is writing especially that pregnancy is a negative for a woman’s body.  Um, ever heard of aging?  Your body is going to change over time, period.  Aging serves no purpose but pregnancy brings a life into this world.

As for being “less tight” – are we really as women going to allow a man’s pleasure to determine whether we have a baby?  Is that feminism?  Men should just DEAL.  It’s not as if their stamina and ability to get it up doesn’t change over time…what’s their excuse?

To address the aging, I won’t. I don’t think the OP had any idea of how old I really am. This forum is at The Knot, which is a bridal site, but is in their Nest forum, young marrieds mostly. I imagine there are middle-aged brides there but the board read young to me.

Age is a given. Sag is a given. No one escapes.

Pregnancy is a choice. Um, in the West, it is primarily a choice. Hmmm, among the privileged it is a choice. Probably.

It’s a choice with a roulette element because going in, one has no idea how the hormones and gestating are going to affect one physically or emotionally. Some people simply don’t want to go there – male as well as female. It will change you. No shame, nor should there be, in declining, and points should be given for being honest about your doubts and reasons.

Here’s one that gave me a giggle or two:

XXXXX said it far better than I could.  I really disliked this article.  Perhaps that’s because I haven’t yet had and really want kids, and have just now gotten comfortable with my body, so I’d like to keep that.  But I think it is also the exaggeration of the difficulties of pregnancy and raising infants: yes, sleeplessness impedes workouts, but that impossible phase passes in a couple of months.  Law school sometimes impeded workouts, too, but I didn’t drop out just because finals would make me skip the gym.

And re: the “tightness” issue, I imagine we were all tightest in our teens and early twenties.  I’ll speak only for myself in saying that I don’t think that’s exactly the best sex ever.  Experience counts a lot more than a few millimeters in diameter.

Soo boo to this article!  Not slamming the op in that.  I love to read things I can disagree with.  🙂

I remember being childlessly naive. She brings it all back. Sigh.

We all think that we will have the easy pregnancy. Gain ten pounds and jog right up to the hospital door. Our baby will not be discolored, have a misshapen head or monkey hair. And she’ll sleep through the night in no time at all.

Sure. Taking care of a newborn is not equivalent in any way to going to law school. If you fall asleep over a textbook, you won’t suffocate it, and sleeplessness during finals is finite – a kid will be keeping you up nights for the rest of your life.

Life has its own ideas, just as babies do. When Dee was two weeks old her father was already losing his mind due to his yet to be diagnosed terminal illness. Needless to say, my fantasies about getting back into shape were just that. Good intentions sometimes play out and just as often, they come to nothing.

Like the non-hating on me – the “op” in her last sentence. Unexpected sweetness of spirit on the Internet should be applauded loudly whenever it is chanced upon.

Loved this one too:

As far as tightness, that doesn’t just go to a man’s pleasure.

Sing it, Sista!

I am an inconsistent warrior in the feminist trenches at best. That I will admit to, but I don’t think taking the Jillian haters to task or pointing out that the female gender is more divided than the male makes me  Phyllis Schlafly.

Let me leave you with a classic episode of Maude – a make believe woman who was more feminist than I am.

*That comes off as ungrateful, I know, but cut/pasting excerpts is okay while plastering someone else’s post on your space isn’t kosher. Even on message boards, it’s a dicey practice.

**Let’s face it, even with the pants suits and the shag hair cut, she was so not a bra-burner.

Fitness gurina Jillian Michaels’ rejection of biological motherhood is hardly an assault on the institution of pregnancy though one wouldn’t know it judging by the reaction of the mom-o-sphere. Blog posts extolling the wonders of birthing with your own vagina and the multitude benefits it bestows litter Facebook and choke Twitter feeds. The choices of mothers should not be so lightly dismissed in the digital age.

For the record, Ms. Michaels did not exhort women everywhere to shun conception but stated that for herself, it wasn’t something she wished to do. Her history with weight issues and her career built upon superior physical fitness means she will personally take a pass*.

How her choice – valid by the way – affects mine, or any other woman’s, is a mystery. Women, I have discovered during my tenure as one, are big on choice only up to the point where one of our own exercises her right in a way the rest of us don’t agree with.

Michaels, correctly, points out that pregnancy changes a woman’s body permanently. That she views this as a negative is her prerogative. Frankly, she isn’t really wrong. Even moms who visually seem unaltered by their pregnancies will tell you that there are things that simply aren’t as tight or cooperative or “virgin” as they were prior to motherhood.

It’s disingenuous to say that pregnancy isn’t going to leave a mark. Any time you stretch the lower half of your body to accommodate a small person and then squeeze it out of an opening that normally only just manages to accommodate a … tampon … for example, it’s going to change things. The fact that we are designed to stretch doesn’t take into account that some of our parts only stretch one way.

Ligaments for example are not rubber bands. Once over-stretched, they don’t snap back. Muscle can be trained to compensate for loose ligaments, but the ligaments themselves will never be the same. Skin also has limited amounts of elasticity that diminishes with age and sun damage.

Weight gain seems to be predetermined genetically as is the ability to lose it quickly or not so much at all.

And pregnancy is only the beginning. The first months of motherhood are a blur of sleeplessness and near constant tending of a small person whose sense of time is non-existent and who believes without benefit of reinforcement that the sun revolves around him/her. When sleep is in short supply even things like eating and bathing are haphazard events, so it is the rare new mommy who is getting back to regular work outs or even has the energy to contemplate it.

If I were a single woman whose body was my livelihood, and had a history of weight maintenance problems, I might think long and hard about the colder, harder truths about giving birth and decide not to go there too.

It’s amazing to me how quickly Michaels was called out and her concerns and her decision reduced to selfishness that bordered on a personal affront to women who feel differently from her.

I applaud Michaels for even weighing the issue practically to begin with. Most people don’t give it any thought at all. Baby fever ignites them from within and sets them on a path that sometimes consumes years and vast resources only to deposit them on the other end of the maternal rainbow with a baby but very little idea about what they have done to themselves or their lives in the pursuit of parenthood.

As for her confusion about adoption being some sort of noble undertaking wherein a child is “rescued”, I chalk that up to general misconceptions about adoption in general. Being a “celebrity” doesn’t mean she is immune from misinformation about a process that few people who haven’t been involved in it know anything about anyway.

If people were required to actually apply for the position of mommy, most of us wouldn’t get the job if our motives were put to close scrutiny. For the most part, I doubt that the majority of us could (before we became parents) have come up with anything more profound, less corny or even remotely coherent rationale for wanting to be mothers. Michaels’ “rescue” fantasy isn’t any more or less awful a reason for adopting than a lot of others I have heard.

In the end, this is just another example of why women do not rule the world. We are too easily induced to turn on each other over nothing.

*I wouldn’t be in any hurry to give up a body like that either.