By Beth Peralta
This is the hardest post I’ve written for chambanamoms.com, but I feel it’s the most important. Not everyone will agree with me, and that’s OK.
One night a few weeks ago, I received an email from an organization that I trusted to keep my information safe and that I felt respected me as a person. I delivered both of my babies (1 and 3 years old now) at Presence Covenant Medical Center and never once felt like they were trying to make more money off of me. Everyone in the department was kind, respectful of my choices as a parent, and helpful when we had questions.
So, back to the email I received. Did you receive it, too?
Subject: Beth, FREE Mommy Makeover Seminar!
From: Presence Health
Get your body back!
Join us at Presence Covenant Medical Center Auditorium
Does your body look different than it did before you started having kids? Join Dr. XXX XXXX to learn about surgical options to help get your body back into shape – For questions or to reserve your spot ….
To be blunt – while keeping my language in check – I was shocked and extremely disappointed upon receipt of this message (and you bet I’m hitting unsubscribe.)
Shame-based marketing is something that I did not expect from this organization. I’m used to seeing it online (especially this time of year – you know, bikini season is coming soon and blah blah blah feel bad about yourself GIVE ME MONEY!!!!), but this surprised me.
I’m not someone that can always get my point across over the phone (decades of being an introvert will do that to you), so I crafted an email regarding my thoughts.
I sent it that night. I have yet to receive a response.
I don’t have problems with plastic surgery, in general. I am not bothered if another person decides that is something they want to pursue for themselves. No, what troubles me is how the marketing is crafted – to dig into insecurities, and to shame recipients into opening up their pocketbooks.
I realize that we are responsible for our own feelings about these messages. But the fact that they exist and continue to be utilized is disappointing. We don’t really need these “helpful emails.”
To answer the email: Yes, my body is different. But you know what? I’m OK with that. I work to get in my steps each day and fit in physical activity. I plan meals for my family and make sure we’re eating vegetables. Like most, it’s a work in progress and some weeks are better than others. I strive to not speak negatively about myself in front of my daughters – even at 1 and 3, words count.
My body brought two beautiful girls into this world, and they and their father love me for who I am – past, present, future. I’m determined to love myself the same way.
Beth Peralta is a mother of two, wife, registered dietitian nutritionist, sometimes-runner, and coffee addict. She has been living in Champaign-Urbana nearly nonstop (minus two semesters of grad school and three summers) since 1998. Follow her on Twitter @simplybethP for assorted posts related to food, recipes, Illini, health, and more.