pregnant

Let me start off by writing, I’m not currently pregnant but I clearly remember the pressures I felt when I was (both times) by myself, the media, everyone around me with an opinion as I seemed to become public property (irrespective of this blog) with daily editorial judgements from usually Joe Bloggs off the street, ranging from, “You don’t look pregnant” to “You’re about to pop” and even “is it twins?”

I get it, pregnancy is interesting, bumps are captivating, wonderful, magical even but it doesn’t make it any easier when you feel your stomach is the source of constant, mostly unsolicited, unwanted attention.

I’ve blogged a lot over the years about pregnancy pressures and how women/mothers are burdened with so much at such pivotal times in their lives: and too often when pregnant and once babies arrive. Frustratingly, often the minute you have the baby too (thanks Kate Middleton for normalising that) looking glowing and NORMAL post birth.

The pressures remain whatever though…big bumps, small bumps, to breastfeed, not to breastfeed, how to raise kids, to work, not to work…mostly fuelled by a misogynistic, anti-feminist Daily ‘Fail’ agenda/ how to make women feel bad and buy magazines making them feel bad or better by making others feel bad.

Ladies (and gents) we need to fight against this and it starts with us. It begins with the words we choose to describe ourselves, the discourse surrounding pregnancy (and our bodies pregnant or otherwise) and we have to make a stand.

Only this week, two women I know who are pregnant have described themselves to me as being fat. Really? However flippant or funny they think they are being, it breeds negativity, most of all to themselves.

They both looked beautiful and blooming and seeing them made me feel broody but with words bandied around by the media and then ourselves comparing pregnant women to whales (yuck) and damaging adjectives like ‘ballooning’ who can blame this distorted notion and lack of differentiation between pregnancy and being heavily overweight.

There were times I too felt the same when pregnant and I realise now on reflection it was wrong of me…

I’ve been pregnant twice now, my youngest is nearly 17 months old, my eldest just 4.

My first pregnancy took a while to show. Nearly 6 months. A long 6 months. I was disappointed, frustrated, desperate to have a pronounced bump as soon as the test showed positive.

Perhaps 200 sit ups a day pre-pregnancy (never pregnant) might have contributed. Others say it was down to being a boy (not sure about that). I bought wrap-around maternity tops to try and create the bump I wanted (quickly), anxious for a pregnant sihouette.

When it eventually ‘popped’ out, I was overjoyed (not that anyone gave me a seat on the tube but that’s a whole other post) and yes towards the end, it felt uncomfortable and heavy and at my biggest, took some getting used to.

We are only human, pregnancy is a BIG change (literally and emotionally) and that’s OK but contesting the natural fact that most of us become much larger to create a human being makes me SAD.

We still compare ourselves to an ideal (not an accurate ideal’ but a Westernised one) that small is best body-wise, even when pregnant.

Women who look glowing, curvaceous, flipping WITH CHILD are bullied by the media (Kim Kardashian anyone?), rather than celebrated. The baby weight loss Olympics sells copy and it’s pretty disgusting.

Yes some women are obese when pregnant and this can pose a real threat to mother and baby but HEALTHILY pregnant ladies (and professionals say this can vary between 2-4 stones of weight gain) and guess what, most women, however slim before, put on weight when pregnant.

I mean shock, horror you’re actually meant to look much bigger when growing another person so the sooner this is accepted and pregnancy becomes NATURALISED, the better. Achieving this, means you and I have a part to play-from NOW.

(I must note, women who naturally have small bumps throughout, mustn’t be made to feel inadequate either! We are all unique and that’s what makes us so damn special.)

…My Mum tells me, that when pregnant with my brother and I in the 80’s, she never felt these body image pressures, that women’s forms were celebrated more in life generally and in pregnancy…

If only the same could be said now.

…And yes it often feels rubbish being pregnant and confidence is lost but I wonder if it would feel quite as bad if we all just stopped and started to support, celebrate and become more positive about pregnancy on the whole.

Making a baby is AMAZING, it’s a blessing, not possible for all and I tell you what, I know from experience, it can take time, a whole lot of time to lose baby weight but that’s OK, that’s life for many of us and part of having children.

The experience of pregnancy, growing, nurturing, keeping that baby safe, having that bump (however big or small) is one of life’s wonders and as soon as that baby’s out, you might just miss it-so maybe remember that next time you think you’re fat when actually you’re just pregnant.

I would love to hear your thoughts?

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

 

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39 Responses

  1. Franglaise Mummy

    Such a good post – in France pregnancy is called “la grossesse” which literally means “fatness”, and when I was pregnant with L, in France, I had to have a weigh-in at the gynaecologist every month to make sure I wasn’t putting on too much weight (this is standard). Whilst in this country it is the media who judge and assess us. I find it very sad, it should be a time to enjoy and embrace the AMAZEMENT of creating a new life. Thanks for sharing this.
    Franglaise Mummy recently posted…What is my guilty pleasure?My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Franglaise Mummy thanks for this-that’s frankly awful, how can you celebrate your pregnancy and feel good about yourself when it’s called “fatness”. Awful!

      Reply
      • Franglaise Mummy

        It is pretty harsh, but then you’re not allowed to get fat really. It’s sad really.
        Franglaise Mummy recently posted…Can you live without your smartphone?My Profile

  2. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    Great post Vicky, I couldn’t agree more. I have to admit my bump was huge when I was pregnant, but I hardly put on any weight, it was all baby/bump. I did look like I shouldn’t be able to stand upright 🙂 I felt fab though, I actually found it very liberating, I was pregnant, not fat and for the most part I loved it – could have done without the aches and pains from the huge bump pulling me off centre though 🙂 The words used to describe pregnant woman need to change. I use the word ‘huge’ for my bump because it was, I wasn’t however! #AllAboutYou
    Sara (@mumturnedmom) recently posted…Me and my hairMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Hi Sara thanks for this comment, great you felt so confident and it’s important I note that some women do put on weight all over and that’s OK too, all that matters is the mum and baby are healthy and people need to appreciate that making a baby means your body changes in all kind of ways and that means bigger bumps, boobs and bodies generally. We need to be kinder to ourselves and one another. Thanks for taking time to comment!

      Reply
  3. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)

    Wonderful post Vicki, as always! You’re so right about all of this and you’re right that it starts with us. We have to stop referring to ourselves in a negative way. I hate looking at photos of myself pregnant as I think I just look huge and awful, but like you say, it’s normal. I think that we are under so much pressure ALL the time to look our best and be the thinnest we can be that it completely extends in to all periods of our life – including pregnancy and post-pregnancy. We feel we should look ‘perfect’ all the time, and it’s just not possible or normal.
    Some women buy into it more than others. A girl I was friends with for a long time made some charming comments to me before and after pregnancy. At a hen party at 8 months pregnant someone complimented my dress and she said ‘hmm you’ve got to love a bit of stretch…’ Then when she became pregnant, she told me her clothes were too tight, but when I suggested maternity clothes she shot me a withering look and said ‘no I don’t need maternity clothes’ like I had suggested the worst thing in the world. We aren’t friends anymore, but that’s a whole other story!
    Well done for challenging concepts like this, it would be nice if the rest of the world could catch up! xx
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    • honestmum

      Thanks for this Caroline and wow such un-sisterly comments from your friend-just not kind. I agree, pregnancy is natural as is putting on weight and it’s not something one can control either, hormones, sickness, a baby growing inside you means for those 9 or 10 months really, your body is not your own and that’s OK. Thanks for your fab comment x
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  4. georgia

    Hey Vicki, I accidentally passed from your blog,which is very interesting, and this post has struck my interestimmediately! I totally agree with you! I was feeling really beautiful and attractive after the 3rd month of my pregnancy with twins, and my belly was really huge! people on the street was asking me if I was to deliver shortly and I was only 6 months pregnant!I never felt fat…but after the birth, I didnt like my body at all,… my belly was still huge, (people were giving me the priority in lines!), but to be honest I didnt really care, cause I had my twins! 🙂
    http://mygenerouslife.blogspot.it/
    georgia recently posted…Heart knows things that mind can’t explainMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Georgia thanks for your comment, glad you found my blog! I really don’t understand why randoms feel the need to comment on people’s bumps. Twin bumps will no doubt be bigger as there are two wonderful babies in there. Well done you for producing two babies, amazing! Baby weight takes time and you’re attitude is totally right. Thanks for this!

      Reply
  5. 3yearsandhome

    I looked, felt and was huge when pregnant with both my boys and apart from being uncomfortable during the last month, I loved it. I did experience quite a lot of raised eyebrows and questions though as I had my boys in Switzerland and was twice the size of the women over there – and my boys were twice the size of their babies. It must be such a shame to take negativity and comments to heart during such a joyous time.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @3yearsandhome thanks for this fabulous comment, you are so right, why let others steal your joy at such an incredible time x

      Reply
  6. Metropolitan Mum

    I found my midwife to be the most patronising, constantly suggesting I hadn’t put on enough weight. In both my pregnancies, I put on almost 3 stone – I just never showed a lot of bump. I have been comparably small, as I am quite tall. My babies have both been over 8 pounds, so no reason to worry at all. However you do it, you just can’t seem to get it right when you are pregnant. xx
    Metropolitan Mum recently posted…A new pathMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Metropolitan Mum totally agree and you’re right a lot of my tall or long torso-ed (myself included)friends took time to show. That’s probably the case with my first baby. So true, whatever your body shape, someone has an opinion xx

      Reply
  7. Mel

    A brilliant post, Vicki! It comes exactly at the right time for me, as people have just started telling me I was putting on weight or getting really big. I am only 6 months pregnant! It is an odd feeling as for my other three pregnancies, people kept telling me the bump looked too small and I should eat more. People always have an opinion and when you are pregnant, they always feel like they have to share it with you… It makes you feel a tad uncomfortable either way and I know there are a few tops I will not be wearing again, just because of the comments I have heard at work this week. I might have a big baby and you know what? Good! I like a big, sturdy baby. x Mel

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Mel thanks for your comment, how annoying that everyone and their Gran feel they have a right, a duty even to comment on another woman’s body at such a quite frankly sensitive time of hormonal upheaval and fatigue. I’m so sorry to hear about this.

      I bet you look flipping gorgeous and I’m with you on big, sturdy babies.

      Alexander was 8 pounds 3 and was a long, tall baby (both boys are tall for their age) and I love nothing more than seeing a beautiful big bump-life-making in all its glory. Hold your head up high and don’t let them change what you wear. Ever x
      honestmum recently posted…You’re Not Fat, You’re PregnantMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Fiona thanks very much, yes they do and the sooner we start taking action against them, ignoring the negativity and making small steps (micro politics) to reverse the craziness, complimenting pregnant women, re-educating ourselves on our bodies, the better x
      honestmum recently posted…You’re Not Fat, You’re PregnantMy Profile

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  8. katie

    Totally agree and i feel the world would be a much better place is people stopped talking about how much they weight in general.
    Although i would say that people sometimes use ‘fat’ as a turn of phrase, i.e you feel heavy and bloated but its not really related to the weight x
    katie recently posted…A Family Portrait For FebruaryMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Katie thanks for you comment, I agree with you (the obsession has to stop) I personally don’t like the term ‘fat’, it feels so negative however flippant and I think just feeds into bad body image (just my view) x

      Reply
  9. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Another cracking post lady and I couldn’t agree with you more. There’s something SO beautiful about a pregnant woman, I really do believe every pregnant woman has a glow and a softness about her that is quite unique. I can even see it in your photo at the top and when I look back at my pics of when I was pregnant, I can see it in my face too.

    I loved being pregnant and was fortunate that I didn’t put too much weight on, but I still found some people’s comments to be hurtful when it came to the size of my bump as I was very big!

    But do you know what, even when I put weight on, even when my ankles swelled up, even when the stretch marks came, I loved it all. Having a baby is amazing as you rightly say and a complete and utter miracle.

    Those who say pregnant women are fat or who are disgusted by pregnant women, really have something wrong with them. Pregnancy is beautiful. It’s as simple as that.

    Well done for writing such a powerful, truthful and loving post. I’m sure it will inspire many pregnant women to love their bodies. xxx
    Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…FRIDAY FIVE: How to cope when motherhood feels toughMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Katie thanks so much for this comment. I love it when you tell me my posts are the best yet (really touches me), thank you. I agree it is so sad when others ridicule pregnant women or make them feel bad, I agree that pregnant women always look so beautiful to me. I really hope we all just start being kinder to ourselves xx

      Reply
  10. Tory Knowles

    Absolutely. Great post. Pregnancy should be naturalised and not used as another tool by which to pit woman against woman in a race to be thin again.

    Reply
  11. Ebabee

    Another fab post. I took 2 years to lose my baby weight. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or even if you lose it or not. What matters is being healthy during and after your pregnancy. And I agree we beat ourselves up over it and really need to stop that before anything else.
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  12. Zena's Suitcase (@zenas_suitcase)

    I can really relate to this post. My BMI isn’t great, and I’m 28 weeks pregnant. I self deprecate a lot! From today I will no longer say ‘I’m fat AND pregnant!’

    The media and it’s messages have so much to answer for.
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    • honestmum

      @Zena’s Suitcase thanks so much for your comment, so glad this post has made a difference, thank you x
      honestmum recently posted…You’re Not Fat, You’re PregnantMy Profile

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  13. Amy @2boys1mum

    Great post! I’m 9 weeks post partum and started feeling pressure to “get back to pre pregnancy weight” about 4 weeks in! It’s insane! There is so much that needs to change in our society’s attitudes to women and this is one of them!
    Amy @2boys1mum recently posted…The Perfect BathMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Amy thanks so much for your comment, the pressure is ridiculous, you had a baby, you did good. I felt that pressure too and it’s awful and unnecessary, let’s all be kind to ourselves. Thanks for your comment!
      honestmum recently posted…You’re Not Fat, You’re PregnantMy Profile

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  14. @katgrant30

    Hi, this is a great post! My weight has always fluctuated, and I’m only now (15 months on) trying to lose the baby weight. But I don’t need media/ peer pressure telling me too!
    (Apologies if I comment twice, not sure what happened to my first one!)
    @katgrant30 recently posted…London with a little oneMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @katgrant30 thanks for your comment, so true-let’s block out the noise and not take the pressure. Baby weight takes time, a lot of time and we need to all (me included) make peace with our brilliant baby making bodies x
      honestmum recently posted…You’re Not Fat, You’re PregnantMy Profile

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  15. @katgrant30

    Hi – this is a great post. My weight always fluctuated a lot throughout my twenties and early thirties (bouts of depression, mainly). I put on a fair bit of weight post-baby and am only now, after 15 months, starting to try and lose it. But I don’t need media or peer pressure telling me to! 🙂
    @katgrant30 recently posted…London with a little oneMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Katy thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about your depression and hope things are getting easier. I agree, the pressure is ridiculous, we all feel it but baby weight takes time and when the baby arrives, the last thing we all need is the added concern of weight loss on top of everything x
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  16. Anna Fraser

    Great post. The most important thing throughout pregnancy is not to worry about things like weight gain. Whether you put tons on or not – 9 months is such a short period of your life and it will go by in such a flash. You will soon be a mother to a tiny baby, and then before you know it: a teenager! Life is too, too short if you ask me. I have had 4 babies and gained varying amounts with each pregnancy. Now, with my youngest at age 2, I have actually got the illusive abs back again after lots of hard work – this is because of my need to do something for me – my fitness is my gift to myself after being so bloody brilliant at making humans! After all my body has accomplished, I feel I deserve to not have to worry about silly “does my bum look big in this” type issues. That’s me being honest. In my humble opinion, there is plenty of time to work on your figure and, i guess, self-confidence once the child-bearing years are over. Don’t sweat it; don’t rush it. enjoy it. Embrace it. Pregnancy is wonderful, and far, FAR more meaningful than the size of ones own arse!
    Ax

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Anna couldn’t agree more and although it’s normal to feel your body is changing, I think your attitude can be made healthier if you try and keep positive yourself, block out the negativity and try and remember it’s not forever x
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  17. Mama and More aka Zaz

    I battled with body image issues and a disorder for years before I became pregnant, and one of my biggest fears was that pregnancy would bring back all of those demons. But it didn’t. I absolutely loved my pregnant body, I didn’t pop straight away, but throughout each pregnancy I have relished every stage and enjoyed and been fascinated by watching my body change as nature worked its magic. My body fears of post-pregnancy never came through, but that was just luck and genes, it could have gone either way, but crucially I didn’t let myself get hung up on it. My greatest frustrations with the media were not about the constant barrage of commentary about women’s bodies – having worked with mags for years I get that they are pulling psychological triggers to sell copies – but more so the fear-inducing articles about baby loss or issues. I discovered that of course the health of my babies mattered way more than the size of my backside!

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Mama and More thanks so much for this. I have had issues around my body image too and I have to work very hard to lose weight as I have PCOS… and pregnancy can exacerbate those concerns and worries that’s natural-I suppose it’s not letting them rule you. I wish the media and we were all kinder to ourselves and each other, the pressure is ridiculous. Thanks for your brilliant comment x
      honestmum recently posted…You’re Not Fat, You’re PregnantMy Profile

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  18. Lucy Bishop

    What a great post! I had my first baby (a little boy, Albert) 6 months ago, and I found it really hard being pregnant. I lost a baby the year before so I was in constant turmoil during the pregnancy worrying that something was going to go wrong. I had lost 4 stones before falling pregnant and so found putting on “weight” again hard, but knew it was all for the greater good. I got so many comments about how huge I was, was I having twins etc that I began to worry I was having a huge baby and something was wrong. It really added to my strsss. Bert was born 8lb 1.5oz so he wasn’t that big & perfectly healthy: I wish I hadn’t let the comments bother me x
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    • honestmum

      @Lucy thanks for your comment and Congrats on baby Albert who was a brilliant, perfect size. My son was 8 and 3 and such a long baby (as well as being big) and my bump at the end was huge. I loved it though, despite the comments but weight loss has taken time and the mum-tum is still there, often helped by Spanx 17 months later. I think it’s about making peace with your body and not being hard on yourself. I’m sorry you lost your baby the year before. Thanks for your comment x
      honestmum recently posted…You’re Not Fat, You’re PregnantMy Profile

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