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Entries in Mothers (32)

Wednesday
Oct172012

Fighting the 'Mom-Shell' Image: New Moms Struggle to Embrace Post-Baby Body

Beyonce performing in Atlantic City, a little less than 4 months after giving birth. Kevin Mazur/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- There is a new breed of mother on the playground.

Just weeks after giving birth, women dubbed "mom-shells," a hybrid of mommies and bombshells, are flaunting their post-baby bodies with skinny jeans and six-inch heels -- an image perpetuated by Hollywood. From Gwyneth Paltrow to Beyonce, celebrity moms have posed in glossy body-after-baby spreads.

Janice Min, the former editor of Us Weekly, says she helped create a celebrity culture of baby bumps with those spreads. Now, she says, those picture-perfect women have "infected our minds" so that "real" moms think they too have to look bodacious after childbirth.

"This crazy shift happened where suddenly it was cool to be pregnant and show off your body after you have the baby," she said. "That was a way for all these actresses to suddenly communicate to the world, 'I'm sexy, I'm still employable, and you want to be like me.'"

But not everyone can look like Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen shortly after childbirth.

"Gisele is a freak of nature," Min said. "These celebrities, a lot of them are just genetic aberrations."

Now there is a populist backlash. Alison Tate, a stay-at-home mom, had just given birth to her fourth child when she did something many women do every day: She resisted having a picture taken with her son at a birthday party because she said she knew she wouldn't like the way she looked.

"After I've had all my children, I felt like I had blown up like a balloon," she said. "It wasn't even a normal kind of being overweight. It's a deflated tire kind of being overweight. You can't fit into normal clothes right away. I felt dumpy, doubt-y, frustrated."

Tate had many reasons to be confident. She had an Ivy League education, she was happily married with four beautiful kids, but she still felt embarrassed by her body after giving birth. So she wrote a blog about the picture experience, and suddenly that moment became a movement.

Tate's website, "Mom Stays in the Picture," started a viral rallying cry and thousands of women submitted their own pictures, even if they didn't look their best.

"You're not looking at whether the mom is overweight, or did her hair, or did her makeup," Tate said. "All you see are moms and their kids, and all the love that are in those photos."

Tate said being a mom-shell is not what motherhood is all about.

"Our kids do not care what we look like," she said. "They only see their mother, and I just think that what women need to do is remember that. You don't ruin their pictures, you complete them."

Perhaps surprisingly, Janice Min can empathize. She too gave birth six months ago, to her third child, and said she also struggled when she saw herself in the mirror.

"It's sort of horrifying," she said. "Afterwards when the bump is gone, you're just kind of a fat lady, and it's really harsh."

Min's self-doubt helped inspire her to write a book called How to Look Hot in a Minivan, to reassure "real" moms that even starlets have a hard time living up to the Hollywood standard.

"We would have quotes from women saying, 'I cried, I work out so hard that I cry,' or, you know, 'I don't eat, I'm always hungry,' you know, crazy things that celebrities do," she said. "That at least puts a reality check on it. But Hollywood is fantasy and we have a hard time, at least when it comes to this area, of separating fantasy from reality because it's so personal for so many women."

In her book, Min shares what she learned about how the celebrities do it. Many famous women will wear a statement necklace, for instance, to draw the eye away from their figures.

"Motherhood and weight are the two most loaded issues for women ever," she said. "And so when you put those two together, it's like moths to the light, but it's also like kerosene to the fire, and women get really obsessed."

When Jessica Simpson battled with weight gain after having her daughter Maxwell, she turned to celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak, who first helped Simpson fit into her Daisy Dukes. In fact, getting her body back has turned into a sponsored event, with her every move watched by her 5.7 million Twitter followers.

But Pasternak said the key to losing the baby weight for any new mom is lots of walking, not a personal trainer. He said women should not feel bad about not bouncing back to their pre-baby figures.

"I've never weighed a client," he said. "I would be upset at someone for not taking care of their health, because as a mom you're setting an example for your child."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Celebrity 'Momshells' Pressured to Look Perfect After Giving Birth

Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Applauding new Hollywood mothers for slimming down in no time flat after shedding their baby weight has become one of the hottest trends splashed across celebrity magazines.

Call them "momshells" (mother-as-bombshell) for bouncing back after having a baby and jumping right back into their busy Hollywood careers looking svelte and stylish with no signs of baby weight.

Janice Min spearheaded many of those kinds of covers during her six-year stint as editor of Us Weekly, but now, after giving birth to her third child, she's pushing back against what she calls unhealthy pressure on everyday new moms.

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In a new article for The New York Times, the 42-year-old Min says, "…the notion that instantly stick-thin figures after birth are normal is untrue. Sometimes, in my sleep-deprived nights, I ponder our ideal of this near-emaciated, sexy and well-dressed Frankenmom we've created and wonder how to undo her."

Hillary Duff, 24, gave birth to her son, Luca, in March and recently faced a barrage of critical tweets for not losing her baby weight fast enough. Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai and Bryce Dallas Howard, who starred in The Help, also faced similar backlash.

"You see these magazines that are filled with celebrities, that within weeks, have bounced back and they're back to their pre-baby weight, and I think for most women it really puts a lot of pressure on them," CloudMom.com CEO Melissa Lawrence said.

Actress Kelly Preston, 49, said she refused to rush her weight loss after giving birth to son Benjamin in 2010.

"I actually took my time purposely because I really wanted to. You can do it much more quickly," Preston told Robin Roberts of Good Morning America in December. "I'm not into the three to four weeks. But, I did it over the course of eight months."

Katie Schunk is among a group of new moms who are fighting back against the blitz of magazine covers.

"If we could reach one woman to maybe not feel so bad about herself, I think that's exactly what we wanted to do," Schunk said.

Much like Min, Schunk says new moms shouldn't feel pressure to be thin, that being a great mother is what makes them "momshells."

Women need to have realistic goals when it comes to getting back into pre-baby shape, More magazine editor-in–chief, Lesley Jane Seymour, and women’s health expert, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, said Monday on GMA.

“Nobody can live to that standard,” Seymour said. “[Celebrities] have $40,000 exercising gurus. You’re not being paid for that. That is not your job. They have to get in shape in two weeks because they’ve got to go on the set. That is not the normal human being.”

Ashton said the pressure on women to bounce back immediately after giving birth is a type of “peer pressure,” but that it does “behoove a mother to get into as good of a shape as she can be.”

"As moms we know that being a mother and running a household is an athletic event into itself,” Ashton said. “Two seconds after she gives birth? No. ... Give yourself at least nine months to get back.”

Seymour, also a mother, said “it takes a year” to get your pre-baby body back and that’s the real message celebrity magazine cover stories should convey to readers.

“We should remember what it is. They’re celebrities,” Ashton echoed. “You don’t want to ‘keep up with the Joneses,’ you want to do the best you can for your body and your family.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun292012

Real Moms on the Realities of Losing the Baby Weight

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Earlier this month, a group of moms gave birth to a radical idea. Instead of focusing on the perhaps unrealistic pressures celebrities set to lose the baby weight, they decided to embrace their bodies to try to change the face of post-baby body expectations.

Heidi Klum hit the Victoria's Secret runway in next to nothing just six weeks after giving birth. Fellow angel, Alessandra Ambrosio, basically bared it all a mere 12 weeks after delivering her bundle of joy. And who could forget Kourtney Kardashian posing for covers of magazines rocking a red-hot bikini just three months after becoming mother to baby boy, Mason.

"I think it's great that they can get their body back, because they have the time," mother Katie Schunk said. "They're being paid to look good, but we're all working mommies. Jessica Alba was back to her pre-baby weight in like four weeks. At four weeks I was up every three hours and not able to function."

Marie Schweitzer agreed, "We love them all. We're all celebrity worshipers. But at the same time, that's them maybe two months after having a baby, and this," she said while pointing to herself up and down, "a year and four months after having a baby."

So instead of scrutinizing photos of themselves, the women of CTWorkingMoms.com decided to embrace their bodies and bare it all, showing the world what "real women's" bodies look like post-baby.

"We have this amazing moment of having a child, and then right after, most women hate their bodies," said Schunk.

Michelle Noehren, mother and creator of CTWorkingMoms.com, affirmed, "You do an amazing thing by carrying a human being in your bodies and giving birth. We should be proud of our bodies."

But what they didn't realize was that while they were fearlessly flaunting their figures for the camera, these moms were really on an even bigger mission with a message for all women.

"If we could reach one woman and get her to maybe not feel so bad about herself, I think that's exactly what we wanted to do," Schunk said.

Even the photographer of the shoot, Jean Molodetz of I View Photography, was tearing up watching the mothers frolick in the backyard.

"Watching them embrace the spirit of the message, it was great," Molodetz explained.

They thought they were just taking pictures for fun, but the reaction they felt when they started shooting wasn't anything any of them were expecting.

Another mother on the shoot, Mary Grace Peak, said, "It was such a release, because trying to balance work and family and home -- to actually run around someone's yard half naked was very liberating and fun. It was great to kind of forget that I was a mom just for a minute and just remember who I am as a woman."

Dena Fleno also posed for the camera. She explained, "It was the togetherness, and that's what we want to get across to women. Get together with your girlfriends and do something like this because you will be changed after you do it. It is so important."

Noehren's husband tells her every day that she's beautiful. But still, "it's hard to believe it yourself even though you hear it, and doing something like this really does help," she explained.

Schunk's husband thought it was an amazing idea for the women to do the shoot, also. "He's the first person to say that women are our own worst critic. Men don't judge us as much as we judge ourselves, and it was nice to see us embrace ourselves and feel beautiful for a while," she said.

Fleno has a daughter and hopes she'll learn from this experience to embrace and accept whatever body she has at any given moment. "She might have a different one than she had in high school when she's a mom. But that's who she is now and she's got to embrace it and accept it and just love yourself. And this helped. It really did. I've never felt more beautiful than I did that night. I have this joy inside now from that night that's never going to go away now," she explained.

These women really want all moms to feel good about themselves. They're encouraging everyone who has carried a child to head to CTWorkingMoms.com to upload your own fearless photos to the website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun272012

Adderall Use on the Rise for Mothers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- All over America, moms are turning to the prescription drug Adderall for relief. Adderall is a drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but these women don't have ADHD; they say they need Adderall to be better mothers.

Between 2002 and 2010, there's been a 750 percent increase in Adderall prescriptions for women between 26 and 39.  Critics say clearly not all of these women need the drug for ADHD.

ABC News spoke with Betsy Degree from suburban Minneapolis, who started taking the prescription drug to keep up with the demands of being a mother of four.

"I grew up in a house where my mom was very neat," she said.  "Everything was really clean, beautiful dinners every night and that didn't come naturally for me."

Several years ago, one of Degree's children was prescribed Adderall, a central nervous system stimulant, for ADHD.  In a moment of desperation she stole a pill from her own child and the addiction was almost immediate.

"I was able to get all the stuff done around the house," Degree said.  "I was able to cook the dinner and have everything perfect."

Degree tells ABC News she felt like supermom and would stay up until 3 a.m. doing loads of laundry.  She says she thought she'd only take it once.

"I couldn't stop," she said.  "I could not stop taking them.  I'd say I'm just going to take them one more time."

When she ran out she resorted to tricking the family doctor into writing more prescriptions.

"I would call and say we lost them.  I would call and say that dose isn't right so can we try a different dose," said Degree.  "[I was trying] every trick in the book."

Addiction doctors say the situation is getting out of control.

"This is a significant problem," said Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at Hazelden, an addiction treatment facility.  "We've got an increase in women using drugs like Adderall ending up in our treatment programs. ... We know from a medical perspective it's dangerous and can cause seizures, strokes, heart attacks, even death."

Adderall sent Degree, who admits she struggled with addiction issues all of her life, down a dangerous path.  When she decided she could no longer fool her doctor she switched from Adderall to meth.  She lost her business and she says she nearly lost her kids.

She is now clean and has this simple advice for any mom considering taking Adderall, "don't."

"It's pretty addictive," said Degree.  "It can happen to anybody."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun222012

Cellphones Replacing Pacifiers? More Moms Use Phones to Distract Kids

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The early pioneers of the cellphone probably never imagined that one day the device might be a decent substitute for baby bottles and pacifiers.

But according to a survey released by Asda, a supermarket chain in the U.K., 27 percent of mothers hand a phone over to a crying or whining kid rather than a toy.  Compare that to the 25 percent of moms who still use a bottle, 21 percent who hand over soft toys, and the 9 percent who give their kids pacifiers.

First reported by the Daily Mail, the survey found that 40 percent of these parents restricted playtime with the digital devices to 10 minutes.  One in 10 admitted to allowing their children play with their phones for up to two hours at a time. The Asda poll was based on responses from 1,650 mothers.

There are thousands of apps aimed at children, including learning games and interactive cartoon apps, but there has also been great debate about how much screen time is too much for children. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child’s use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day.  A study in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine in April said that preschool-age children in the U.S. don’t get outdoors enough.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun042012

Study: Only One-Third of Moms Breastfeed for First Three Months

George Doyle/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Most new moms hope to exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least the first three months, but a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, for a variety of reasons, only about one-third of those moms fulfill that breastfeeding goal.

CDC researchers surveyed nearly 1,500 pregnant women on their plans for exclusive breastfeeding after their babies were born, and then followed up with monthly surveys throughout the next year.  The scientists found that 85 percent of mothers planned to breastfeed exclusively for at least three months, but only about 32 percent were able to do so for the intended amount of time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that all women exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of babies' lives.

"While most of these women said they hoped to exclusively breastfeed for at least three months, very few actually succeeded in their goal," said Cria Perrine, co-author of the study and an epidemiologist in the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the CDC.  "There is obviously a huge disconnect between these women's intentions and how they're able to follow through."

Perrine said many hospitals might not be as supportive as possible in helping women achieve these goals.  In the study, 15 percent of the women's babies had already been given some sort of supplement to their breast milk before even leaving the hospital, which can cause nipple confusion and make it difficult to breastfeed afterwards.

Moms who began breastfeeding within an hour of birth were more likely to breastfeed according to their goals.  Those who already had at least one other child and those whose babies were not given supplemental formula feedings were also more likely to reach their exclusive breastfeeding goals.

Women who were obese, smoked or had a longer intended exclusive feed time were less likely to reach their goals, the researchers found.

The study's authors concluded that increasing Baby-Friendly Hospital practices, which include giving only breast milk to babies in the hospital, might help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.  Its mission is to encourage hospitals to offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding by giving mothers information, confidence and skills to successfully initiative and continue breastfeeding their babies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May222012

‘Stroller Brigade’ Rolls to Capitol for Toxic Chemical Reform

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Moms and cancer survivors parked their strollers in front of the U.S. Capitol Tuesday as part of the “Stroller Brigade” to demand that Congress take action to help regulate toxic chemicals that are found in everyday items used by children.

The group called on Congress to pass N.J. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act, a bill to overhaul old laws governing toxic chemicals.

“As a consumer I am woefully unequipped to protect my family,” said Polly Schlaff, whose son was born with a urological birth defect caused by prenatal exposure to environmental estrogen. “Worse yet, because of the utter failure of federal laws, I must rely on the chemical industry to protect my family from the hidden dangers of the more than 800,000 chemicals they produce and manufacture.”

Out of 800,000 chemicals in the nation, only 200 have been reviewed for safety. Five percent of pediatric cancers are caused by exposure of toxic chemicals, while 10 percent of neurological disorders and 30 percent of childhood asthma cases are associated with hazardous chemicals from hundreds of everyday products, including detergents, household cleaners and baby bottles.

The Lautenberg bill would require chemical makers to prove their products are safe before they end up in children’s bodies.

“Our current law allows too many untested chemicals on the market,” Lautenberg said at the rally Tuesday. “We want to have a responsible oversight and regulation of the chemical industry giving the EPA the authority...so that chemical companies will be required to tell what is in the chemical and what testing has been done.”

Lautenberg is pushing for a vote on his bill in the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, and if it gets out of that committee, it could go to the full Senate for a vote.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May112012

Six Generations of Daughters: From Baby to Great, Great, Great Grandmother

Courtesy Christian DeBaun(NEW YORK) -- A Virginia family will have a lot of moms to fuss over this Mother’s Day.

The family has an astonishing six generations of daughters still living.  The matriarch of the family, Mollie Wood, was born in 1901 and just marked her 111th birthday.  The youngest addition to the family, Braylin Marie Higgins, was born in March to Wood’s great, great, great granddaughter.

So what's the secret to the family’s longevity?

“We’re ornery,” laughed 39-year-old Marlo Shifflett.  “I think that’s a lot of it.  We’re too ornery to stop!”

But there might be another magic ingredient as well -- resilience.

Mollie Wood was a young married woman with two toddlers in diapers and another baby on the way when her husband was stricken by polio.  It took him three years to recover enough to go back to work.

Wood’s granddaughter, Betty Goodson, said Wood “had to raise all the food, wash clothes by hand, cook everything from scratch.  She has worked hard all her life.”

That work ethic was certainly passed down through the generations.  Three nights a week, you can find the 70-year old Goodson leading a combination yoga and Pilates class.

Wood’s daughter, Goodson’s mother, is still going strong at age 88, as well.  Octogenarian Louise Minter cleans houses.  She’s been doing so for nearly three decades, since retiring from General Electric.

Minter lives just five minutes from her mother, and visits the family matriarch a few times a week.

Despite the strong family ties, “We are very independent.  We definitely are not one to expect people to take care of us,” said Goodson’s daughter, Marlo Shifflett, who owns a beauty shop and day spa in Elkton. 

That independence extends to 16-year-old Savannah Shifflett, the mother of baby Braylin.

“My daughter has not asked for help,” Marlo Shifflett said.  “And I thought, ‘Where does she get that from?’  And I realized we’re all that way.”

The family admitted they were devastated when they found out that Savannah was expecting, but the women said the baby has made them even closer.

Savannah is engaged to the Braylin’s dad, and said of her infant, “She definitely wasn’t planned, but she’s my world.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May112012

'"What to Expect When You're Expecting": Top 10 Changes in New Edition

Workman Publishing(NEW YORK) -- What to Expect When You're Expecting has been hailed as the pregnancy bible for moms-to-be and their families for decades.

First released in 1984, the New York Times bestseller has now sold more than 17 million copies, and it is estimated that more than 90 percent of expectant mothers have read it.

The book was recently adapted into a movie by the same title, starring a cast of Hollywood heavyweights including Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Chris Rock.  It will be in theaters nationwide on May 18.

Author Heidi Murkoff talked with ABC's Nightline about the updates she made to a few sections of the book, which is in its fourth edition.  She shares her top 10 changes since the book's first edition below:

1. More Details on the Importance of Pre-Conception Preparation

More and more research shows that a healthy baby begins before conception, Murkoff said, "with a mom's and dad's lifestyle, weight, eating habits."

2. Expanded Section on Moms-to-Be Working During Pregnancy

What Murkoff called "juggling business with baby-making," the latest edition of What to Expect When You're Expecting includes an expanded section on "how to stay comfortable and safe on the job, how long you can stay on the job, how to play pregnant office politics, how to figure out your rights as a pregnant worker, which are minimal compared to what they are in other developed countries."

3. New Section on 'Pregnancy Beauty'

Murkoff said she is often asked questions about lifestyle changes for expectant mothers, so in the latest edition, she included answers on what moms-to-be should consider about "hair color, skin care.  Can you reach for the Clearasil when you end up with zits instead of glow?  Can you book Botox now that you have more to smile about than ever or use tooth whitening products?  Salon and spa treatments and spray tans."

4. More on Alternative Medicine or CAM Therapies

More advice about common CAM therapy practices were added to the new book, "from acupressure for morning sickness to acupuncture for backache to hydrotherapy for sciatica to reflexology for labor pain relief," Murkoff said.

5. Much More on Sex, Intimacy

In the latest edition, Murkoff said she provides more answers to intimacy questions expectant mothers might not feel comfortable talking about with their doctor, such as whether sex toys are off the table, or what to do when their partner's libido has cooled and theirs is heating up.

6. New Chapter on Expecting Multiples

This new chapter includes advice for moms-to-be expecting twins, triples or quads, "from how much more you'll need to eat, to how many more symptoms you're likely to have, to the extra tests and risks involved in baking more than one bun at a time, and how labor and delivery might differ from a singleton birth," she said.

7. More Information for Dad

"While the entire book is intended for both parents-to-be, the father's chapter taps into concerns and feelings that are uniquely Y chromosome focused," Murkoff said.  For instance -- the scoop on male hormonal changes during pregnancy -- yes, they happen."

8. Advice for a Kinder, Gentler Pregnancy Diet

"No longer 'whole wheatier than thou,' as I liked to call the old diet plan," Murkoff said.  "The old diet plan was too strict, too unrealistic and, while well-intentioned, sent more women running screaming for the nearest McDonald's than running to the nearest health-food market."

Murkoff said the new pregnancy diet laid out in the fourth edition makes "eating well easier and more enjoyable."

9. More Details on Birthing Options and Trends

It seems there are endless options for moms-to-be to decide on where and how they want to give birth.  Murkoff expanded on birthing trends to help expectant mothers wade through the waters of labor.

10. The Latest Edition's Cover Got a Facelift

The latest edition of What to Expect When You're Expecting has a fresh new look.

"Previous editions featured an expectant mom sitting in a rocking chair besides a basket of dried flowers, looking frumpy and miserable," Murkoff said.  "I sort of have deluded myself for years that she was wearing a sort of day-dreamy, contemplative look on her face, but let's face it, she looks far more constipated than contemplative."

The new cover shows a relaxed and smiling illustration of a mom-to-be standing up, with her hands placed around her pregnant belly.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

Best Place to Be a Mom: Where Does the US Rank?

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Just in time for Mother’s Day, Save the Children has released its 13th annual State of World’s Mothers report. The report, which ranks countries from best to worst in places to be a mother, saw the United States placing 25th, moving up from last year’s ranking of 31.

Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, said there’s still much work to be done. “We still fall below most wealthy nations,” she said on the Save the Children website. “A woman in the U.S. is more than seven times as likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause in her lifetime than a woman in Italy or Ireland. When it comes to the number of children enrolled in preschools or the political status of women, the United States also places in the bottom 10 countries of the developed world.”

Norway came in No. 1 on the list, which, according to the Save the Children, weighs such factors as a mother’s health, education and economic status, as well as such critical child wellness indicators such as health and nutrition.  Niger came in last, largely because of the food crisis facing the nation. It replaced Afghanistan, which held the bottom spot for the past two years.

Save the Children found that encouraging mothers to breastfeed could save 1 million children’s lives a year. The report also found that less than 40 percent of all infants in developing countries received the full benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio