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Issue No. 4: Bounce Back, Baby!
The narrative curse approved by almond moms everywhere. And – what happened this month while you were busy pumping.
IN THIS ISSUE
✍🏽 Essay: Bounce Back, Baby
[CW: disordered eating]
📱 Monthly Round-Up: A win for reproductive rights! Why we can’t have heroes. Indictment as the great equalizer. And, whether you want it or not, your next social media platform is here 🍋.
“I think a lot of people get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage disposals. I was mindful about what I ate and I gained only 30 pounds,” 29-year-old Gisele boasted to US Vogue magazine.
In university I had a couple pictures of the Olsen twins and the phrase “Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels” pinned to the corkboard behind my desk.
Every day I ate yogurt with berries for breakfast, a tuna wrap for lunch, and a chicken breast and carrot sticks for dinner. I speed-walked miles from class to class and spent exactly 25 minutes daily on the Stairmaster in the middle of the student resident hall building.
That year I put “eat Häagen-Dazs” in my calendar for a date four months into the future, believing that if it was scheduled like that, it couldn’t really be “bad.” So reasonable.
This was just an iteration of a pattern that I began before I was even a teenager (I remember reading a magazine when I was about nine that calculated just how many calories you could burn in a year if you really committed to gum chewing).
Today I can’t imagine my own daughter, turning six this summer, to be only three years away from these kinds of obsessive thoughts. But that’s what it was like to grow up millennial.
And the real, sad truth? This ritual was a great comfort to me. Actually, in a fucked up way, I absolutely loved it.
That feeling of despair when I wasn’t “where I wanted to be.” The moment of control when I resolved to “course correct.” The last supper where anything was allowed. Then, planning. New rules that suddenly clicked into place. A-ha! A solution I just hadn’t previously considered, and here it was, right in front of me. And it always, always worked.
Until one day, it didn’t. Until one day I woke up and found myself in my 30’s with two small, very close-in-age toddlers, unable to grasp at the purpose that previously drove me – oh, and isolated in the middle of a global fucking pandemic.
Motherhood had made the world more meaningful, yes, but it had also made it smaller. It removed the distractions. Suddenly I could feel it all.
The grief of watching relationships and aspirations disappear in the face of a new way of life. Watching my own daughter grow, I could finally feel the rage of having been an easy teenage mark for poorly brought up hometown boys and grown men who called me “mature for my age” alike. And I felt sorrow for wasting so much time trying to fit in a box I was never the right shape for.
Everything that used to make sense, didn’t – and that included that trusted old dieting cycle. What was any of that for, anyway? As I began piecing it all together and working on being the mom my kids deserve, unpacking the things I couldn’t previously understand or face, there was no place for me to put my own pain.
That old adage? Put on your mask before anyone else’s? It’s not always possible when you’re a parent in survival mode. You have no choice but to do the work that you need to do to be a good parent first, but that doesn’t always align with your own wellbeing.
So maybe Gisele was right. Maybe we’re all just lazy and undisciplined, seeing pregnancy and postpartum as a ‘get fat free card’ (because, gee, what could be worse than that? 🙄).
But I don’t really think a lack of will power is why our bodies and minds and motivations and capacities and coping mechanisms change in the wake of bringing our children into the world. It’s so much more than physical.
We are, most of us, experiencing the greatest transition of our lives in the first handful of years of motherhood. To have that constantly reduced to “how did you lose the baby weight” or “why can’t I lose the baby weight”…
My god. Why are we always asking the wrong questions when it comes to postpartum mental health?
To our sisters and everyone south of the border fighting for reproductive rights, and suffering under the changes of recent years, we see you. Congratulations on an important win. After moves were made to overturn the use of the pill most commonly used in medical abortions (largely based on arguments literally made from non-peer-reviewed blog posts and a request to overturn the drug roughly two decades beyond that statute of limitations…), the supreme court upheld broad access to the abortion pill. Honestly, feel however you want about abortion – that’s personal – but abortion is health care. Access is a right.
In a move that’s been condemned ‘round the world, the Dalai Lama asked a minor boy to “suck his tongue” at a recent public event. As soon as I heard this news, I thought of the misogynistic comments he’s made in the past. Sigh. Where there’s smoke (misogyny), there’s often fire (a total and utter disrespect for the sanctity of children’s innocence).
I’m not going to make a big habit of talking American politics in these round-ups but Trump’s indictment is also pretty big news. It’s a first. If you want to understand what, exactly, it means, The Daily did a great episode outlining the facts and implications. For fun, I’ll just leave this here…💀
While not yet available in Canada, TikTok has released a new app, Lemon8, to add to your growing roster of endless online tasks. Integrating the main Instagram calling cards with some TikTok spice, Lemon8 is a clear attempt at a rival for Meta’s golden child. And I’m sure any fellow entrepreneurs reading will echo my sentiment: 🤡