The skewed image of post-baby moms has been blamed for recent epidemics like Pregorexia, a condition where a pregnant woman purposefully eats little so as to not gain too much weight. Women’s organizations are pushing back. Shape of a Mother, for example, encourages women to upload their postpartum photos, c-section scars, stretch marks and other blemishes to break down the stigma about mothers’ bodies.
Bellyitch has addressed the post baby myth plenty times before, as has a host of celebrities. We’ve also blogged about celebrities speaking out against the false image presented on the covers of glossy rags that present a false ideal of what a post-partum mom is supposed to look like.
Celebrity moms Tia Mowry, Busy Phillips and Kourtney Kardashian have been outspoken on the issue. As has reality TV star Holly Madison, who shared why she wanted to present a realistic image in a magazine.
Holly Madison wrote on her blog:
I wanted to share with you this photo from InTouch because you can totally see what my belly looks like after giving birth! Sure, as anyone would, I hope to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, in a healthy way, as soon as possible. But I don’t want the first post-pregnancy pics anyone sees of me to be miraculously skinny, either. I think it’s discouraging to moms to see these “overnight” transformations without any sense of how these women got there. It’s perfectly normal for a woman to walk out of the hospital after giving birth still looking a good six to seven months pregnant. Your belly only deflates a little immediately after giving birth-you’ve still got a basketball sized uterus in there!
You can see I still look pregnant even though I was wearing Spanx for this shoot! I had a few awkward moments the few times I had to leave the house for appointments without the baby-people I knew would look at my belly and say “that baby just doesn’t want to come out, does she?” And I’d be like “um . . . I had her a few days ago” – super awkward! But that’s real life, people, so don’t feel bad if you don’t bounce back right away after giving birth!
“I think it’s disgusting,” Phillips said about post-baby magazine spreads featuring super thin women weeks after pregnancy. “It sends the wrong message.”
After Kourtney Kardashian gave birth, a weekly magazine posted the then-first time mom on its cover. But only it airbrushed out much of her post-partum belly and made her son appear to be lighter and less brown in complexion than in the original photo.
In reply, Kardashian tweeted, “One of those weeklies got it wrong again…they didn’t have an exclusive with me. And I gained 40 pounds while pregs, not 26…But thanks”
Tia Mowry said she was bothered to learn of incidents when magazines shame moms like actress Bryce Dallas-Howard for not losing her baby weight fast enough. Of her own post-partum belly Mowry revealed she was surprised it took a “long time for my belly to go down,” adding “we live in such a society that glorifies moms who are on the beach in a bikini three months after having a baby….That’s not normal to the norm.”
But Middleton may not have been an active advocate like these other women. She may have been more like Eric Benet who accidentally became a champion for encouraging breastfeeding in the African American community when he shared on social media a photo of his wife nursing their newborn. Benet wanted to show off the fact the baby was making a peace sign and didn’t think that people would object to the fact that the baby was also nursing while doing it.