Beauty and the Bump

Postpartum Reflection

Why one mom's celebrity obsession is hurting her self-esteem

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My youngest daughter just turned 1, and the well of excuses full of why I haven’t lost all the baby weight has officially run dry. But while my weight fluctuation is no one’s fault but mine, I often wonder if my poor self-esteem—whenever I step onto the scale—is bigger than me (and the number I look down at).

I, like most of the world, have a mild-to-moderate addiction to celebrity porn (not Kim Kardashian sex tape porn, but Us Weekly and Radar Online porn). I check out Hollywood gossip websites almost as much as I check out Facebook, which is roughly equivalent to every 29th breath, give or take the gossip of the day. For example, if Lindsay Lohan skips out on another hotel bill or gets questioned in the case of another missing necklace, I’ll check the Hollywood sites more often; if a Facebook friend is taking her annual summer vacation in Nantucket and posting photos of her lobster roll and daily seashell take, that usually wins out.

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It seems like my celebrity obsession has become even more obsessive-y as stars around my age have gotten pregnant and had kids, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Garner. But as they give birth and slim down faster than you can say “Award Show Season,” I feel like I’m going nowhere but up a pants-size.

Granted, it’s not my job to be fabulously thin, and my job is actually to watch my kids while working from home full time, but it can be hard to separate what famous others look like from the infamous reflection in my mirror.

There’s nothing normal about getting whipped back into shape hours after birth because you’re getting paid millions.

It hasn’t helped, either, that celebrity magazines have created an entire industry on attempting to normalize the rich, famous and incredibly thin (“Stars! They’re Just Like Us!”).

Except there’s nothing normal at all about getting whipped back into shape hours after birth because you’re getting paid millions to star in the next blockbuster franchise. And there’s nothing normal about having an army of trainers, chefs, nannies, assistants and hair stylists and make-up artists at the ready to help you while also watching your kids so you can look your best when getting coffee on the way to Pilates.

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Janice Min, a former editor of Us Weekly, wrote in The New York Times a few weeks ago about how the game she created won’t let her play anymore. Which is to say, she just gave birth and didn’t get right back into shape, and she feels bad about it because she’s now also faced with magazine photos of postpartum celebrities who look like they gave birth through their pinky, because the rest of their body appears untouched.

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