Maria Kang started quite the Facebook controversy the other day. She posted a picture of herself looking fabulous in short shorts and sports bra with her three sons ages 3, 2 and 8 months with the caption, “What’s your excuse?”
The reactions ranged from ‘you’re so inspirational!’ to ‘you’re a total b**** for making me feel bad’. Whoa.
Ms. Kang stated that she posted the picture to be inspirational, as in ‘if I can do it, you can do it,’ but some people took it to mean, ‘Hi, I’m Maria, I’m better than you.’ I can understand both reactions.
Speaking from experience, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more hyper-sensitive about this picture than a mom trying to lose weight. Before I had kids I thought getting pregnant meant I would have a cute bubble belly and bigger boobies and there would be morning sickness, maybe.
No one tells you about gas. Or constipation. Or heartburn, crazy dreams during the second trimester, night sweats, hormonal fluctuations through the roof for no apparent reason or skin tags. These are kept top secret, because other mothers knew if the word got out people would stop procreating and just get a dog.
After giving birth, I fully expected to shrink back to my “normal” form. What I didn’t expect was loose skin hanging below my bellybutton. What the hell was that shit? Also, nursing is not kind to the ta-tas. ‘If this is my body’s new normal, I hate it,’ I thought.
I entered a bodybuilding competition when my youngest was 2 years old so I could lose the “baby fat” (which, at that point was really just “fat fat” and had nothing to do with the baby and everything to do with my eating patterns.) Anyway, I mentioned being concerned about my stomach being flabby and a person at the gym showed me a picture of a friend who had given birth seven months prior and stood on stage in a bikini looking like a super model.
I know the picture was meant to encourage me, but I just felt ashamed, like the biggest loser. Had that picture been coupled with my friend saying, “What’s your excuse?” I probably would have cried on the spot.
On the flip side, I checked out Maria Kang’s page. She’s been blogging for years, overcame an eating disorder, runs her own business, and finds time to stay fit with three boys aged three and under. I think her posting the picture is partly meant to encourage others, and partly meant to raise a controversy to sell her new book.
So, yes, I’m inspired seeing that picture of her within the context of knowing more about what she accomplished. And my hat,s off to her for her marketing. But, no, I would not have personally felt encouraged by that picture back when I was working so hard to lose the weight.
What about you? Do you find this picture inspiring or shaming?
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