Last week I had a rare night out with some yummy mummies from a baby group I've taken my boy to for over a year. They really are yummy being slimmer, younger and considerably better looking than me (even the ones who are pregnant again - how demoralising is that ?) so I sat at the dumpy, middle-aged & unattractive section of the table that I had designated for myself. Envy is an ugly thing so I figured the noise of the restaurant and my distance from the others would disguise the gnashing of my teeth. I distracted myself from their loveliness by noshing my pasta and debating whether it would be a bad idea to order tiramisu. For the record, it is never a bad idea to order tiramisu unless you care about getting into slim fit jeans.
Then today a pal of mine has tweeted a link to an article about Aishwarya Rai and her post baby weight gain and the consternation it has caused the Indian media. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon of Ash she is an ex-Miss World, Bollywood and Hollywood actress and married into the most famous acting family in India (her father in law was voted most popular movie actor in a BBC poll some years ago much to the shock of Westerners who had never heard of Amitabh Bachan). In November last year Aishwarya gave birth to a daughter and since then there has been fevered comment on her weight gain and apparent disinterest in losing it. According to the magazines and bitchy blogs in India it is her duty as a star to set a good example of a slim body and to "do a Posh." Of course we're all familiar with the slim body that slebs parade at six weeks post-partum and even I joked with the Obstetrician who performed my emergency Cesarean that I'd like a "Posh tuck." They must hear that joke at least ten times a day - poor loves smile weakly and just say "not on the NHS dearie."
My body loathing is legendary and a few years ago I finally slimmed down to a size ten and wore all the clothes I had thought I'd never get into. Then I fell pregnant and was overwhelmed with the love I felt for my swelling body when I was pregnant. I was so convinced that I'd be able to get back into the small sizes that the positivity gave way almost immediately that my son was born to a sense of failure that I wasn't as slim as every other new mother I met. There was even a woman a few beds away from me who didn't even look like she'd actually given birth despite the evidence to the contrary snoring softly in the cot next to her. My point is that we put ourselves under enough pressure to lose weight without other people reminding us that we're not as slim and our cheekbones aren't as defined as they once were.
I spent all afternoon sorting out my wardrobes and deciding not to dress like a frumpy Mummy any more. The saying goes that you should dress for the job you want. I can't see myself dressing in a bikini, but it's the only time in my life that I can even approximate looking like a Miss World. Take a look at the post baby Aishwarya and see if you think I have any hope at all…