It might be a stretch to compare a stint in rehab, a DUI or a shoplifting conviction to the transition into motherhood. But stay with me for a sec. When I saw the recent New York Times story about the slew of starlets trying to retouch their bad girl images by appearing on the covers of glossy fashion magazines, I had a Well Mom fantasy. Wouldn't it be amazing if a new mom, when she finally comes up for air after months of sleep deprivation and shell shock, could announce to the world that she's back and better than ever?
Forget jail time. Having a baby is probably one of the most life transforming events a person can weather. It takes a toll on us physically, mentally and emotionally. I think it might help to smooth the big transition to motherhood if more people acknowledged that 1.) there is a pretty major transition and 2.) that with time, you do finally start to feel more comfortable in your new skin and confident to reintroduce yourself to the world. In essence, for the mom of young children to be able say to everyone out there, "Hey, I've been through something momentous. But I am ready to re-engage."
These days we all expect that every celebrity mom will be given her due once she has shed the baby weight and the fog of new parenthood. Think Trista Sutter. I'm sure we are just days away from J. Lo's coming out. And we all know she'll look amazing and fresh thanks to a corps of nannies, trainers, nutritionists and stylists. For a diva, the debut after baby (or rehab) is all about telling the world that she is healthy, relaxed and ready for that close-up. But wouldn't it be great if every newish mom could make her own declaration of victory and be treated to a comeback worthy of J. Lo...or even Nicole Richie or Tori Spelling, for that matter?
What I am saying is that even if you aren't a star and don't have a publicist on retainer, there is no reason not to set a goal for the time you will be ready to face the world. The comeback doesn't have to be on the cover of Vogue. Maybe it is as simple as envisioning what things will be like when you go to your first cocktail party (sans nursing bra and comfortable shoes), or attend a reunion with friends or run a 10K (sans baby). The point is to feel great about where you are in your new reality and to want to share it. For working moms this is a great exercise because most women return to their jobs before they've had a chance to fully absorb how their lives have changed. And frankly, who has time for reflection when you are just trying to keep up with all of that pumping and struggling to make it out of the office before your childcare deadline?