Saturday, 18 February 2012

Where have all the real mums gone…?

I saw a picture of Amanda Holden this morning arriving at a Britain’s Got Talent audition. ‘Less than a month after giving birth to her daughter’ trumpeted the paper, ‘and after having been in intensive care, here she is “radiant” in blue silk dress by blah blah blah…’

And so on. There is the picture of her looking radiant, as promised. Her stomach is as flat as a young girl’s. Perhaps she’s been photo-shopped. Perhaps not. It doesn’t really matter when this is all we see. Women who give birth at the age of nearly 41 and spend time in intensive care should not look like this a few weeks later. As soon as she was released from hospital she must have been on a hardcore diet and exercise regime.

And for what…? To show that she is still worthy of her crown as ‘Woman who Cries on Judging Panel’. She knows she must look perfect, every moment she is not in her own house, because if she allows it to slip, for even a second, there’s several hungry up and coming starlets desperate to be in her shoes.

Was it always this bad? Women have always been judged more on their appearance, rather than their ideas or accomplishments, this is not new. Are they not allowed to let real life show, even for a day or two…?

When I run Mothers Uncovered workshops, I ask participants to name mothers in the public eye that might be considered role models. There is always a thoughtful silence as they cast their mind over the various actresses, presenters, singers etc and concede that none of these women are shown mothering. Even when they are in their 43 page ‘Hello!’ feature special, everything is perfect, everything is manufactured.

This maybe would not matter, if it weren’t for the fact that the 99% of mothers who are not in the public eye feel inadequate next to these airbrushed lovelies. They feel fat, messy, exhausted, irritable, emotional. They ache all over. They wonder if they’ll ever be anything beyond ‘mum’ again.

Where have all the real mums gone…?

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