Now for the fourth area from Alison Cameron’s article, “Do children really make us happy? Alison Cameron compares parenthood with a childfree life” from The Sun Herald.

This one: Appearance.

From the article: For many parents, the first years of parenthood are more grungy mummy than yummy mummy. Fashion and beauty take a back seat..

..and sleep is a rare pleasure. For Christy Capili, 34, mother of a four-year-old and a one-year-old, the weight she gained in pregnancy was very hard to shift. The executive assistant says: “I put weight on everywhere and everything began to travel south. When you have extra weight, you can’t be bothered to wear anything special.”

Women’s dissatisfaction with their post-baby appearance is so rife that plastic surgeons have developed the “mummy makeover”, which can include breast implants or lifts, liposuction and a tummy tuck.

The chairman of the NSW Division of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr Steve Merten, says varicose veins and spider veins on the lower leg are a common consequence of pregnancy, while the skin pigmentation of the face can change due to pregnancy hormones. Unfortunately, this blotching doesn’t always disappear after the birth. Breasts often change shape, with many women losing their breast volume and tone after the birth and breastfeeding.

There is also bad news for the abdomen, which can lose skin and muscle tone which, according to Merten, may not return even with exercise, leaving some women with loose, floppy skin. Merten says having children doesn’t give you wrinkles but “chronic tiredness and stress can contribute to the early signs of facial aging”.

But are parents out there working off the effects of having children? The answer seems to be no, according to 2007 Canadian research.

The data found parents with dependent children were “clearly more inactive than non-parents”. And to add insult to injury, they found that mothers were generally less active than fathers. 

Cameron says: Winners Child-free.

On the vanity channel, here too, I have to question some of this.  Because there are more moms out there to begin with, more probably have plastic surgery than women without children, but I wonder how it compares if you looked at the percentage of women who have plastic surgery who are moms and who are not. In recent years I have even read that the fastest growing type of plastic surgery would not depend on whether you are mom or not –it is not the face or tummy but the labia—to return it to how it looked in its “virgin” state—if you ask me, that’s just crazy!

The childfree don’t have the breast issues from pregnancy, but I bet there are plenty of childfree women who might be less than happy with their breasts. We sure aren’t immune to spider veins etc. as we age either. As we age, ALL women experience skin and muscle changes. So on the physical channel, I think it is hard to say whether the appearance of the childfree is necessarily “better” than moms.  That goes for the dads too~

The same goes for level of activity and being in shape. For many women “getting their body back” after pregnancy is a real challenge. But I sure see lots of moms out there who are active and are in great shape.  It may be harder for moms to make the time, but many make it priority and do.  The childfree may have more time for this, but it does not mean they use that time to be active and keep their body healthy and in shape.

What do you see: Are parents more likely to be inactive than the childfree? Said the other way, are the childfree more likely to be in better physical shape than parents?

In the “Appearance” area I think I land at – It’s not whether you have kids or not; taking care oneself  physically is what counts…

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