Jennifer Ginsberg: No matter how many crunches, hours of cardio, and yoga booty ballet classes I attend, my "cat tummy" persists. Those of you who have given birth and not yet paid $6000 to have the skin severed off your stomach know exactly what I mean. It's that saggy, squishy, postpartum abomination that is impervious to any form of physical exercise. I get very little sympathy for this condition. When I mention it to my friends, they roll their eyes and tell me to shut up, because I conceal it nicely.
Some days I can have a sense of humor about my affliction. When I am feeling emotionally stable, I can even recognize that from my cat tummy I grew and nourished two beautiful babies. However, on my "not so good days," my cat tummy is a source of incredible angst; a glaring symbol of what I lost, of who I no longer am.
I hate to admit my vanity. I can throw on a pair of Spanx, a glorified girdle. Nicole Richie reportedly wore two at a time after giving birth to Harlow! But there is something that feels so desperate about resorting to that. For God's sake, my grandmother wore a girdle! I am not ready to completely throw in the towel.
So, I scheduled a consultation, against my husband's wishes, with one of those doctors that deals exclusively with women who have nothing better to do than obsess about their cat tummies. My husband believes that my angst is the product of a distorted body image with a little hyperbole thrown in. Sentiments from a man who has only seen me naked while lying flat on my back (in very dim lighting) for the past few years!
What would the medical professional have to say? Was the only solution to slice the skin off, or was there some less invasive method I haven't yet tried? I geared up for my appointment with him by wearing my cutest bra and most flattering Hanky Panky thong underwear.
As I waited in the office wrapped in a thin paper robe, I felt like I was preparing to meet my Creator on Judgment Day. Would he deem my cat tummy acceptable and pardon me from the hell and torture of plastic surgery, or would he sentence me straight to the operating table?
He waltzed in and asked me to stand up and disrobe. I stood as straight as possible, and sucked in my tummy as hard as I could.
He slowly scanned my entire body. "It's your thighs," he said "They are the problem. They are out of proportion to the rest of your body. They are puffy."
"My thighs?" I stammered, barely able to speak. "It was my stomach I wanted you to look at. I have never even thought about my thighs!"
He continued on as if he hadn't heard me, "We definitely could get rid of the fullness in your inner thigh. I could make a great improvement. But I recommend that you try diet and exercise for a good 6 months first and see if there is any change." With that, he breezed out of the office, leaving me standing there like a fool in my Hanky Panky undies, all puffy thighs and cat tummy.
I haven't gone back to him and it has been well over six months. I continue to intermittently obsess over my cat tummy, but now I like to mix it up with hating on my puffy thighs as well. Thankfully, I balance my self-deprecation by reminding myself that from my imperfect body I created the most incredible, perfect things in my world.
|Jennifer Ginsberg is a Los Angeles writer and mother to three, surprisingly angst-free children. As a former actress/waitress, turned clinical social worker specializing in addiction, turned full-time mother/part-time psychotherapist/writer, Jennifer is particularly well-versed on the topic of angst.|
Find out more about her life at angstmom.com