Celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels was quoted earlier this week telling Women’s Health Magazine that she plans to adopt instead of birthing her own children because, in her own words, “I can’t handle doing that to my body.” Appalled on behalf of mothers everywhere, I decided to write her a letter.
You would think your decision to adopt a child so to spare your body from pregnancy wouldn't surprise me considering you're part of a high-profile, celebrity world that worships image and, moreover, that you're famous for guiding people to better bodies on the hit show The Biggest Loser. But with today's celebrities bearing more than a few children, looking great and cherishing motherhood, your comments do stand out.
You say you can't handle doing "that" to your body. You say "that" like pregnancy is some horrific, unnatural and purposeless procedure foreign to womanhood. I know you're a successful gym superstar, but can you really be so vain?
No mom is going to fight the notion that bearing children takes its toll on the body. A human being comes out of you - your body changes. Duh. But, as a fitness guru, you of all people should know best the body's ability to bounce back after surgery, weight gain and certainly pregnancy. And you're obviously capable! I mean, come on, look at you – every mother would love to snap her fingers and have your body, let alone your commitment and energy for fitness.
Who are you to fear the physical ramifications of pregnancy? There's no doubt you'd be one of those super celebrity moms who strut about town showing off a flat belly days after birth. Come on, Jill (can I call you that?). You can do it. I believe in you.
Obviously, your sentiments stem from your all-consuming commitment to your perfectly trim and toned body. Your body is your career, and you don't want to sacrifice that. But as a woman, your body has a calling of its own. Everything from our wide hips to our womb within beseeches us to birth children.
But your comments are insensitive to more than your own female body, but to the countless women in the world who can't handle not doing "that" to their body; women who suffer from the painful reality of infertility. They would wreck their bodies a million times over to bare a healthy child. They would take acne and obesity any day over their childless existence. And you? You're actually willing to forego the gift of motherhood--all for a six pack you can easily rebuild post-partum. And worse, you're not afraid to admit it.
The unabashed way you share choosing your body over baby makes me worry that your mindset is not foreign to many women in today's body-first culture. And that's scary. So I'm writing because I'm convinced I represent most mothers out there – whether beach babes or soccer moms – who love looking good, feeling healthy and still feel that birthing a baby is our body's ultimate purpose (imagine that!).
When you think pregnancy, all you imagine are stretch marks. When you hear baby, you just see flab. To you, growing a child is a "that" - not a feminine experience. This attitude is the antithesis of all that is womanly. You may have a great body, and you certainly work to keep it that way, but you're no female role model.
More and more studies confirm the fact that the pinnacle of the female body's experience is growing and birthing a baby. It's confirmed both scientifically and certainly from personal accounts that our body's health is enhanced – our years lengthened! – via the physical experience of becoming a mom.
Jillian, you’re thirty-six years old. Hopefully before menopause, you’ll consider giving your body – and mind and soul – the gift it deserves. Don’t just keep doing your jumping jacks, denying your feminine self. Do something truly great for your body - have a baby. And after you do, I’m sure we’ll all see you again on the cover of Women’s Health Magazine, sporting a belly that is just as flat and toned as it was before – but a heckuva lot happier than it ever was.