I just finished reading this article about a woman who is petitioning the government to fund cosmetic procedures for women who want a Mummy Makeover. It’s actually been pretty widely reported and can I just express my initial feelings about this to you in animated image form:

Reaction to Mummy Makeover petition

Where to even begin with this? The petition had over 8000 signatures at the time of writing and after having a look at it on change.org, I’m kind of horrified.

The tone of this petition letter is basically that most women are unhappy with their post-baby bodies and that the surgeries suggested would help get our bodies “back to normal”… And this where my issues begin… Because my post-baby body IS normal.

I carry extra weight, my boobs aren’t perky like they were when I was 19, I have a little extra skin, stretch marks …and all that, my friends, is just as it should be. Some people have more physical changes after having a baby and some have less because we are all different. Bouncing right back with zero physical changes? Sure, I guess it could happen, but it seems unlikely that the process of growing and birthing an entirely new human being would not leave even the smallest change on a woman’s body. Then factor in breastfeeding, sleepless nights and so on. When we have children, there really isn’t any going back- our bodies after children are our new normal.

There is a figure given in the petition letter of 80% of “mental health sufferers” being women. I’m not sure where this figure has come from- I can’t find it anywhere. There’s also no indication of how many are suffering mental illness directly related to physical changes post-pregnancy. I think what she is getting at is that we should do something to actively prevent women from suffering from mental illness. Because plastic surgery=mental well being, right?

Mummy Makeover response

The writer, Anna Brine,  goes on to say that body image “starts in adolescence and increases after having a baby or a few” and I’m loosely interpreting that to mean that body image is something we posses from a young age that may change after having children. I think that is true. The way we view ourselves can and does change as we age and bear children and experience any number of other things. But the petition then says that we can restore a woman’s sense of self-worth through plastic surgery and this is another area I have a problem with.

Some people make an informed choice to have plastic surgery for whatever reason and that is fine. What is NOT fine is telling someone they will value themselves more if they have a cosmetic procedure. This is coming at the issue completely backwards. Self-worth should not be measured from the outside.

The other points made are kind of confused. She says if a woman feels “less of a woman than other women, then she will accept less for herself and will become down trodden by men” and I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I think what she is getting at that some women may compare themselves to other women and feel they don’t measure up, so therefore may settle for less, or something like that. And in doing so, they will fall victim to men who will treat them poorly. She goes on to describe a lack of comfortable intimacy resulting in what she calls “anticlimactic togetherness”. So basically, women might feel bad looking at other women so will end up in relationships with jerks who won’t fulfill them in bed? Or only insecure women get treated poorly by men? Or only women with flawless bodies get nice men and decent sex lives? In short, mummy makeover surgeries, because MEN.

Mummy Makeover for men?

Anna’s petition letter says that some men can be cruel and insensitive, especially as they are only exposed to a certain body type through the media and yes, I agree, this is a valid point. Some men can indeed fit that description.  Anna calls the way the media depicts women a slap in the face and it absolutely is- the depiction of women in the media is unrealistic and unfair. However, she then explains that to get the “necessary surgery” is expensive and while I agree that cosmetic procedures are expensive, I would definitely argue that they are not necessary for the majority of women at all. Instead of undergoing painful surgical procedures to change our perfectly functional bodies to resemble those seen in glossy mags and on catwalks and on television- how about we campaign to show what real bodies look like? Why not celebrate those bodies and accept them instead of nipping, tucking, lifting, implanting and suctioning them? As for men that are cruel and insensitive- can anyone explain to me why we should undergo surgery to impress them? Wouldn’t a little education and a cultural shift be a much better idea?

Anna says that women pay tax and deserve something back for it, especially for paying tax on sanitary items, gym membership and fad diets. May I suggest a menstrual cup? As for the other- these are completely optional. I can tell you that I have not spent a single cent on either of them in years and nor do I plan to. Women pay tax, yes, and we do benefit from that. We have roads, hospitals, public education, transport, Medicare… the list goes on. She lists the procedures she thinks this Mummy Makeover should cover- boob jobs, “vagi plasty”, varicose veins, “lippo sculpture”, tummy tucks and the repair of “perforated stomach muscles” ( I think she means abdominal muscle separation which can require surgical treatment in severe cases- but I believe Medicare already covers those kinds of operations) and honestly, it’s enough to get you paranoid! I don’t want any of those things! Should I??

The petition letter finishes off with a comparison. Anna says your post baby body is like an “ugly jumper”, but that you can’t take it off. And that body is a “loose skin jumpsuit’ that haunts your mind and reflection and stops you being intimate.

Well. Thanks for that.

While it’s true that some people feel this way about their bodies- it’s not true of everyone. I’d rather we talked more about the changes our bodies go through that are completely NORMAL. In fact, perhaps a better idea is to campaign to spread the word about what women’s bodies actually look like- to celebrate body diversity and stop setting unrealistic ideas for women to aspire to and for men to expect? If there was to be any government funding around this issue, perhaps it could be directed into counselling or other ways to make women feel good in their own skin. If the government funded cosmetic surgery like this petition suggests it should, I can help but feel it would be reinforcing this idea that most women need to be fixed or repaired after having a baby, that the normal changes that occur after child bearing are NOT normal and are NOT acceptable, that we need to surgically alter our bodies to please men… All of that just seems so wrong.

Surely I am not the only one who doesn’t want cosmetic surgery? The peace I have come to with my body is actually quite liberating. After god knows how many years worrying over how I looked to others, I stopped. I can’t say when exactly, it wasn’t overnight but more of a process over years and now I am actually perfectly ok with the fact that Miranda Kerr and I will never be clothes-swapping buddies.

I’m not broken. I don’t need to be “put back together”.

If you want to surgically alter your body, I firmly believe you should do so to please yourself– and even then only after careful consideration. Even the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons reminds us that cosmetic surgery is not without risks.

Reading the bottom of this petition, I noted that Anna Brine is actually wanting to pitch this as a television show. Is that what this is all about? Someone wants a tv career?? Then, in an update posted, she suggests that this be funded by our super!! Because women don’t already suffer in that regard because of child bearing?! Motivations aside, this campaign is looking more and more naive.

Honestly, if there were (somehow) a huge surplus in the budget to spend on health care, I can think of many more pressing areas. Mental health is one of the. Dental care is another. As is medical research. This is one petition I just cannot bring myself to sign, especially as it seems to be an ill-informed grab at a stint on tv more than anything else. Instead, I’d like to re-share here a few of the gorgeous pictures that were kindly shared with me when I last wrote about why our post-baby bodies should be celebrated (click here to see the full slideshow)

 Linking with Maxabella Loves for Weekend Rewind

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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  • LydiaCLee

    I don’t know even where to begin on this. I got emailed that petition and didn’t even read it. It is totally my scroll on past category. Briefly, if the argument is men need us to look like media images (photoshopped and all) then maybe medicare needs to fund psychiatrists and commonsense educators for men?
    I think all this internet media bombardment is distorting reality. In days gone by, we’d see Rita Hayworth at the movies and want to look like her (but we were normal and she was exceptional). Now we think we are abnormal because we don’t look like everyone photoshopped or a model….where is our thinking heading?
    Are we de-evolving as a species?
    On a different note, I caught a bit of Q & A and thought of you. Why are we arguing over the word feminism? Why is there ‘bad’ feminist? (Let’s give it an adjective so we don’t fully commit to the word?) I am a stay at home mum but I’m still a feminist. If I get a job, I want equal pay. I don’t expect my opinions to be dismissed because I’m female….agh, I’m too old for this stuff!

    • We may well be de-evolving if this petition is anything to go by! And yes, I wondered the same about feminism- why are we so scared of embracing the word that means we are just as deserving as men? Why are we making up additional rules around it??

  • Woop! Another brilliant post from you!
    My Husband adores my post baby body and there have been seven pregnancies and six babies produced from me. I have a wrinkly tummy and stiff. To be truthful, I am so busy raising my children that I really just don’t care.
    The only way to prevent having a post baby body, is to not have children at all – but gravity will get these people in the end too.
    I am saddened by our social obsession with women’s appearances as much as other women but the only way to change this is to stop feeling inadequate and start feeling proud. Perhaps hospital antenatal rooms should make a start with posters of women with post-baby bodies…

    • Thanks Jody! That poster idea is actually a really good one- it has to start somewhere!

  • I am shocked at some of the terms this woman has used, ‘ugly jumper’ and ‘loose skin jumpsuit’??? Talk about giving women a complex. There are definitely times when I look in the mirror and have a moment when I miss my perky boobs and flat stomach, but then I think about what this body has given me and what this body has been through and I’m proud and love my body more than ever. I can not believe this petition has gotten so many signatures. It really is sad. #teamIBOT

    • I know, I found those terms pretty awful too!

  • Oh this is ludicrous. The sooner we celebrate our bodies for producing the next generation rather than shaming them the better.

  • Hugzilla

    Wow. OK.

    • No state funded “vagi plasty” for Hugzy? 😀

  • TeganMC

    Ugh. I had a psychiatrist tell me that women’s only sense of self worth is their appearance so if I just dyed my hair and lost weight then I would stop being depressed. I just sat there staring at him, in shock. So yeh I absolutely believe that money should be spent on counselling, counselling that doesn’t just focus on the superficial, but those feelings underneath the hate for the body.

    • Oh wow, glad to see all his years of study had him ladling out such sensible and inoffensive advice! Geez!

  • mumabulous

    Plastic surgeons all around the country are rubbing their hands together with glee. Meanwhile two thoughts – this woman Anna Brine either a) has a serious Body dysmorphic disorder or b) is the ultimate narcissist determined to use this campaign to become a minor celebrity.

  • I think you nailed it when you noticed she wanted a TV series, this has 15 minutes of fame (poorly) written all over it.

    • Yes, the writing isn’t the best! I did chuckle, I admit, when I saw she’d set up a Facebook page for her ’cause’ and misspelled “subsidise” in the title- awful but I truly couldn’t help it!

  • Oh wow. That is just so incredibly wrong and backwards and whatever! Save the funding for people who actually have medical conditions which prevent them from functioning normally after giving birth, not just cosmetic procedures!!! 8,000 signatures. I’m just stumped (btw, I love that animation you found).

    • The signatures seem to have stalled- it’s hopefully lost momentum for now!

  • If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, the outside will never satisfy you. That’s my belief. Self worth is built in knowing who you are is valuable, not what you look like. This makes me sad. I can’t believe this is an actual thing.

    • I agree 100% Jess- there is so much more to a person than a few stretch marks or whatever.

  • Argh! Kill me now!

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    I had never really thought about it as being fixed after childbirth but if you are silly enough to think that growing an entire person in your ever expanding is not going to change your shape and size , tou live in fantasy land. Yes I have more cellulite.. Yes I have a floppy stomach when I bend over.. Yes my nipples can look weird but I have given birth to 4 people…

    • It really is bizarre to expect their to be no changes, isn’t there?

  • I can’t believe anyone signed this petition. Like you, I can think of so many other areas that could use money (if there was any). I absolutely think we should be focusing on how bodies are perceived and what ‘normal’ is. Having a baby changes our bodies and that is normal. Growing a human is going to change you – emotionally, mentally and physically and I think acknowledging and accepting that is important. I’ve never had a great relationship with my body but I am working on that and trying to create a more body positive focus in our family and I think it’s really important.

    • It’s so important. I don’t want my girls growing up thinking their bodies will go straight back to how they were pre-pregnancy- it’s just not realistic. And I think even our sons need to be aware of this to an extent.

  • Oh boy…where do I begin? She got 8000 signatures and that worries me. There are so many women with body dysmorphic disorder and this seems to fall in that category. She should be asking for Medicare for mental health… 6 sessions is not enough.

    • Agreed- it is worrying that 8000 people agree with this. 6 sessions is nowhere near enough.

  • Oh no, no no no!!!!! This woman needs to be sent to live in America for a year. Then she can come back here and sing on about our health care and what it should cover! We are so blessed to live in a nation that has FREE basic healthcare for all. To ask for more just shows what a selfish, and narcissistic society we are turning into, not to mention all the body image issues we have time for- GAH! If the year in America failed her then I’d just send her to a third world country, that will do the trick. CURED! I would way rather see tax dollars put back into (yes, back, because it’s been taken away in the last couple years) mental health for ALL!

    • Yes, mental health is much more important and how naive to think it wouldn’t be an issue if we all had state funded boob jobs!

  • Hahaha, oh my god you have to laugh. Otherwise you would either cry at how sad her life must be, or rage at how incredibly insulting she is to lump all women in the same category.

  • Mummy Fever

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh 4 babies later yes of course I would love my body to look different, BUT I grew four humans inside me!!!!! Great post #brilliantblogposts

    • 4 whole new people is quite an achievement! Well done!

  • Joy and Pops

    An ‘ugly jumper’…amazing! Post baby bodies are all different – as are pre baby bodies!!
    My body is far from perfect after having 3 children and I do mildly object to my ‘pouch’ after 2 c-sections – it’s a bit annoying when I exercise damn hard – I have to accept it’s not going anywhere (especially with my split stomach muscles). I really can’t imagine getting surgery to ‘fix’ it though, it doesn’t look amazing but it’s not technically ‘broken’.
    There is an element of just getting older too – even without babies I wouldn’t look 18 anymore!
    The best looking women are nearly always the most confident and happy ones – their figure is quite often secondary.
    Xx
    #brilliantblogposts

    • I think it’s fine to midly object- even fine to lose weight or have surgery if you really, really want it and make an informed choice- but to tell women they need it? And to expect it paid for? No thanks!

  • Moderate Mum

    Yeurgh! I was hoping this was a joke. To be honest the biggest change to my body has been caused by a little thing called time and his friend gravity. Really, you’ll be fighting a losing battle if your self worth is so invested in this.

    • I agree- surely acceptance is a better investment?!

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  • Is she for real? I think the only ugly thing going on here is the way she thinks. Yuk. She has totally rattled my cage. The money she wants for her nipping and tucking could actually be used to save people’s lives. It’s all about keeping a healthy sense of perspective, of which she obviously has none!

    • Spot on. Some people have a level of vanity that knows no bounds!

  • Wow! I just had to pour another red wine after reading that disturbing insight into Anna Brine’s brain.

  • Standing. Clapping. So well said!

  • Oh, lordy, well said. I’m glad petitions are being used for such important things – gah!!! I need to drink something now x

    • I know- who wants to tackle the big issues, eh?

  • Here, here. This petition would be a joke if she seemingly wasn’t so serious. Perhaps we could benefit from medicare covering meditation, yoga and other preventative health practices to help in the prevention/treatment of mental health conditions including PND, but cosmetic surgery?!

  • Tash from Gift Grapevine

    “…a little education and a cultural shift be a much better idea” Could not agree more. It’s terrifying that so much of the world today is “me me me”. An animated gif where someone is screaming at their computer screen would be useful too – that’s what I felt like doing when reading about the petition.

  • Fleur @ Our Urban Box

    I would much rather the money go towards a dental scheme. No way do I want my taxes going to buy her a new set of boobs. Just deal with it lady like the rest of us. She makes me stabby.

  • I’m in two minds here. I was actually advised that under certain health concerns/conditions and within a time frame you can claim a tummy tuck under medicare. Sadly, I didn’t discover this early enough. My youngest was 10 weeks premmie. I was in hospital for months and unable to exercise. There was also the three under three to consider and I now have a pouch that isn’t going away and a permanent tear. With the extra weight gain, due to health issues, it is once again causing me grief and issues and I would love to do something about it but the cost factor is off putting and the fact it is considered cosmetic surgery. It’s not like I’m wanting the procedure so I can wear a bikini.

  • Jo

    Oh my word! What a nut job!! If these signed petition mothers aren’t happy with their normal looking bodies, they can always pull their finger out and lose weight the old fashioned way using blood, sweat and tears exercising and eating less. Boobs sag, it’s a part of life. If it upsets them so much, work hard, save the money and pay it themselves!

  • Whilst my post baby body drives me nuts at times I don’t want to erase it completely. Do I want to be lithe and toned and thin? YES! Do I need to get out and do more exercise? YES. Do I expect the government to pay for a cosmetic procedure? NO. If you’re not happy on the inside then no amount of cosmetic surgery is going to fix that. Everything changes after kids and it is our new norm. Jx

  • Oh my goodness where do i even start. There are so many other ways a woman can be taught to lover herself and all her lumps and bumps without having to have a ridiculous surgery. I just don’t know if we will ever learn that is the scary bit.