Laughter is the Best Medicine, Part Deux

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unexpectedSome stories just beg to be lampooned. Yes, it’s time for another installment of laughter is the best medicine. I couldn’t resist altering the following article. I’ve replaced “yummy mummy” with “barren babe” and made a few other minor edits.

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Kids aside, you can be a Barren Babe

Yvonne Wheeler breezes into a Starbucks and all heads turn.

She is the very picture of chic in her maroon miniskirt, clinging sweater and big black belt cinched at her tiny waist. She wears high-heeled boots, dangly silver earrings and spiky black mascara on her impossibly long eyelashes. Her thick mane of hair has blond highlights, her lips are frosted, her nails red.

You might not guess that Wheeler, 41, is barren as the moon’s surface.

“Just because you’re infertile doesn’t mean you have to become a frump,” murmurs the divorced, size 2 marketing expert.

“It’s important for me to still feel sexy, to feel good, to know that I’m still a woman.”

Wheeler is a barren babe.

She’s in the mold of Celine Dion and Courtney Cox and Sarah Jessica Parker, svelte stars who had trouble popping out babies who poured themselves into their size 00 knickers within a matter of weeks after treatment. Suddenly it wasn’t good enough to have clean hair and comfy clothing.

No room for frumpy. As a 21st Century infertile, you have to be ripped and buff and hot.

What exactly is a barren babe?

“It’s a woman who, if you removed the injectable hormones and ovulation kits from the picture, would not be identifiable as an infertile, rather a sexy, glamorous woman,” says London-based Poppy Williams, author of “The Barren Babe.” “A barren babe is what happens when a hipster 30-something doesn’t breed.”

Williams says the relentless media focus on celebrity non-moms is fueling the trend, making ordinary infertiles feel inadequate when they can’t attain the six-pack abs and cut biceps of the Hollywood crowd. Never mind, says Williams, that ordinary infertile don’t have the armies of personal trainers, nutritionists, and cosmetic surgeons that make movie star barren babes look the way they do.

“But the pressure not to ‘let ourselves go’ is also self-inflicted,” says Williams. “We’re part of a perfectionist culture and, perhaps, we find it hard to accept the mess, chaos and extra pounds that are an inevitable part of infertility, especially those early days. We’re used to organizing our lives at work, making the best of ourselves, and it’s hard to relinquish control.”

Infertiles such as Tabitha Booker, a 37-year-old, says the pressure to be a barren babe can be overwhelming.

“Oh, absolutely, it’s an everyday pressure,” she says. “You see these superstars in their designer clothes, then they have their infertility treatments, and weeks later they’re back on the runway, and you’re thinking, ‘Oh my God, how can I live up to this standard?’ The reality is, as a working infertile, some days I’m happy to just comb my hair. But with ‘Desperate Housewives’ and all that, there’s this image out there and you’re expected to fit it. You’re thinking, ‘If these women can be so glamorous, there’s really no excuse for me not to do that too.'”

But many women embrace the barren babe label.

“Are you kidding me? I like it,” says Meghan Vincent, 36. “It’s good to feel attractive and sexy at our age, to not feel like it’s all over.”

And in case you’re in the mood to procrastinate, just find the news tab on your favorite search engine and type in “as a mom” and watch the stories fill up the page. When was the last time you referred to yourself in social chitchat with this sentence starter: “as an infertile…”? Yeah, it’s been a while hasn’t it?

 

16 Responses

  1. Kate

    February 4, 2008 4:29 pm

    Hah! Very, very funny. It truly shows what a ridiculously cult-of-mommy article that must have been in the first place.
    But at the same time, reading that made me feel like, “Damn- I have no kids, I’m not using science-treatments yet, and I’m still not a svelte babe. I have no excuse at all!” Which response lets you know that obviously, while I get the humor, my mind simply moves to that realm at the slightest provocation. At the same time, the mind also wanders to the, “Oh yeah! If I never have kids, I don’t have to deal with getting even more out of shape than I already am. Woohoo! Silver linings!”

    Feh. Anyway, that was quite enjoyable to read, regardless of my idiotic mind-wandering response.

  2. SaraS-P

    February 4, 2008 8:56 pm

    The sad thing is…I can actually picture such a movement! All it would take is the right marketing guru.

    I hate the Yummy Mummy ideal…hello, how about spending money on those kids you so take for granted rather on your appearance and social life? Children are not some affliction you must overcome to stay hot and desirable (despite presumably being in a committed relationship). And frump fashions are darn comfy!

  3. Rita

    February 5, 2008 3:00 am

    I have just started reading your blog. This is dangerously funny. I love it.
    Did I mention I love it?
    Thanks.

  4. peesticksandstones

    February 5, 2008 4:54 pm

    “… as a working infertile…”

    I LOVE that. Am going to dare myself to try to use that at least once during this IVF cycle.

    Thanks for making me laugh — this was truly awesome.

  5. Barren Babe

    March 22, 2008 4:16 am

    Now is the time for all Barren Babes to unite! Let’s toss out the injectable hormones and reject the media induced baby-hype. Take the money you would have spent on meds and travel. Repeat after me: it’s okay to not be a mother.

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