Pauline M. Campos gives the real, raw, inspiring story of the years after having the baby.
One of the wonderful things about being a writer and editor is the relationships I get to build with other writers. Such is the case with Pauline M. Campos, whose book Babyfat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, and Trying to Stay Sane has been a top seller on Amazon as well as a well-worn great read for dads and moms alike.
Hell, I’m still working on getting this babyfat off of me after three kids, and I’m just the dad.
Jeremy: First of all, congrats on the success of Babyfat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, and Trying to Stay Sane. In an industry and niche full of parenting and parenting–journey narratives, it’s truly funny and insightful. What has been the general feedback from readers, especially dads?
Pauline: Thank you! I’m thrilled that BabyFat is doing so well against so many incredible titles. One of the best parts of this entire process has been the reader response. Women contact me often to tell me how much of themselves they saw in it, which is incredible, because my entire purpose was to connect on that very level. Even more incredible is that BabyFat’s message – to love ourselves as we are no matter what – transcends the issues of motherhood and age. Women with and without kids of all ages are reading BabyFat and loving it, as are the men who have picked up the book after their girlfriends and wives put it down. My neighbor, a retired teacher, sent me a photo of her husband reading BabyFat just a few weeks ago. It’s probably my single favorite reader share so far!
Babyfat chronicles your life post-baby and deals with issues that all couples deal with after the “new baby” period wears off. What advice would you give to new dads for dealing and working with moms who are entering a new world of issues that we all (naively) avoid or think won’t affect us?
Cold showers and lots of hand lotion. Just kidding.
Here’s the deal, guys: When a woman returns home after having a baby, the timer starts on two races. For you, it’s all about circling the WE CAN HAVE SEX AGAIN doctor-approved date on the calendar six weeks down the road. It’s going to be like the best Christmas ever, you’re thinking. Yes, you want to (and will) bond with your baby. You’ll change the diapers and help feed and be an awesome dad and incredible partner because that’s the kind of guy you just happen to be. But also you like sex with your lady and that’s obviously how you got here in the first place, so it’s only natural that you are ready for another go. Lord knows you didn’t get any before the baby was born. Sorry about that. Neither did we.
We know you want sex. We love that you still want to have sex…with US. Not every woman has confidence issues and body image issues after giving birth, but for those of us that do, well…it’s a whole new world. We are softer. We are rounder. We are tired. We would rather sleep than have sex.
We still love you. We do. But please be patient with us as we adjust to the bodies motherhood has gifted us. And please, never stop telling us that you think we are beautiful. Even when we don’t think we are, we hear you. Your words matter.
What should men and dads understand about eating, dieting, body-shaming, and the body struggle post-baby that they may not know (or not want to know)?
I think I touched on some of that in the previous answer, but the bottom line is that it’s too easy to hate what we’ve got and even easier for the cycle to continue with our own kids. You need to play an active part in this. Remind us of our strength and beauty and support us in raising strong and body-confident children. Love of self should never be tied to an imaginary finish line or a number on the scale. If you think this way with your partner, reframe your mindset now, or the cycle continues with your daughter’s perception of her own body and how your son views and treats the women in his life as a grown man.
You begin each chapter with very personal and funny tweets–what made you include these in the book?
BabyFat never was just my story. I wanted to make sure that the voices of my social media followers and blog readers were included to reflect that. Jen Hajer’s (@TheNextMartha) “I wish I got along with as many people as I do baked goods” tweet is one of the most popular and quoted tweets from the book, so I made it into a postcard that I give away with each signed copy at author events.
The Husband has a starring role in your book—what was his reaction after reading the book, and how can Good Men learn from his—and your—journey?
I don’t know if he’s actually read the book from start to finish, but that’s mostly because I’ve probably read it to him in small bits over the years. (I wrote BabyFat in a year and it took six to get it published).) As for his reaction…when we first got together, he told me once that he’d never date a fat chick. (Don’t hate! We were babies!) Seventeen years later (fourteen of them married), he pushes me to exercise because he knows my self-esteem improves when I’m active and practicing self-care and he tells me that the number on the scale doesn’t matter as long as I am happy. For my own part, I actually believe him when he tells me how beautiful he thinks I am.
What are you working on now?
Book two is almost done! I can’t wait to reveal the cover for On Raising Wonder Woman: Reflection, Perceptions, & Well-Placed F-Bombs. I’m collecting tweets from my readers before the book goes to my editor. I’m also finishing up the BabyFat audio book!
And did The Husband get a bigger flatscreen than his dad’s?
Yeah….no. Not yet. I’m still working on that. I’m working on bestseller status so I can make good on that promise.
Buy or download the book today!
Pauline M. Campos will give away one signed copy, two digital copies for either Kindle or Nook, and two Tweet postcards with the Tweet quoted in my answer in the interview.
Photo: Courtesy of the writer.