Pauline Campos is a friend inside the computer — that’s what we used to call them, us old lady bloggers, back in the day when it was a fresh, new thing to bond with a person you’d never met through comments on other people’s blogs and by reading their own sites. Then came Twitter and Facebook and the end of the world as we know it, and now it’s much more common for people to say “We met on the internet” and not be laughed at and ridiculed, or at the very kindest, treated like we are just a little bit crazy.
Anyway, by the time I “met” Pauline, she had created a site called Girl Body Pride which publishes content about women’s body image and mental health, and I contributed a few pieces there over about a year. Working with Pauline, who is a tornado of ideas, was like getting on my Nimbus 2000 and flying around inside the storm. She was always coming up with something new (like making this e-book that one of my essays is in that I forgot all about!). I got to read the first few chapters of a novel she started, and I badgered her for more. Instead, she wrote a memoir.
Babyfat is the story about how Pauline decided once and for all to lose the weight she had gained when she was pregnant with her daughter Eliana. She didn’t make this firm decision until Eliana was almost 3 years old. I can relate! I remember carrying extra pregnancy weight around long after my second son was done breastfeeding.
Pauline, who uses social media tools liberally, announced her decision to her community: she made goals to get healthy again and write a book about it. It was a measure meant to make her accountable for her actions. And it worked, for a few weeks at a time.
She tried Weight Watchers. Walking the steep hills of Tucson. Joining a gym. Walking around in Skechers Shape-Ups. The South Beach Diet.
Each time Pauline tried something new she made a firm commitment to it but was eventually derailed by that oh-so-universal problem that mothers face: she was too busy taking care of everyone else to take care of herself.
Babyfat reads like a journal in quite the same way that a blog does – you come to feel like you are in her house with her and the big bustling busy family she lives with. Each short chapter is punctuated with a line pulled from her Twitter page, something snarky yet hopeful about the struggle to accept her body and help it become more healthy.
For young women in the digital age, and for Pauline’s social media community especially, this book will be like pulling her out of the computer and curling up on the couch to chat over a glass of wine. But just one, because you’re being kind to your body.
I really hope she finishes her novel. (Hint, hint.)
Babyfat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops & Trying to Stay Sane
Kindle version available on Amazon September 28 (preorder). $5.99
Will also be available in paperback