Here’s a picture of Bryce Dallas Howard, the lovely star of The Help (not to mention the talented progeny of superdad Ron). In this picture, she’s well along in her second pregnancy with her daughter, Beatrice.
How would you describe her? Maternal? Glowing? Lovely? Serene? Swelling with new life? All accurate.
Flash forward a couple of months. The cameras happen to catch Bryce out for a walk with tiny Beatrice in arms. Her casual outfit – blue sweatpants, striped hoodie and moccasins – are typical of a new mom who knows you don’t dress up for a day of diaper changes and laundry. And yes, it’s clear that a lot of the baby weight is still clinging to her. It happens.
So what do the wits at gossip site TMZ do with the photos? They run them with the heading, “It Takes a Village.”
Are you rolling on the floor laughing yet?
Oh, and naturally they ran the item on Mother’s Day, a veritable lemon-juicing of the paper cut left by the photos. Not that you expect politeness from a tabloid, but this is low even for them.
When did we start turning pregnancy and new motherhood into something to be ashamed of?
A baby changes a woman’s body. Simple as that. The swelling belly, the lactating breasts, the extra waistline flesh that hangs around for weeks, months or forever – they’re all souvenirs that announce to the world that we brought an amazing creation into it.
But now these changes are treated as shameful, something to be eliminated as quickly as possible through strict diet and exercise regimens – particularly if that sagging flesh happens to belong to a famous name. Jessica Simpson just signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Weight Watchers to get back to pre-baby shape through their carefully portion-controlled meals. The message here? We love your adorable child – but we expect you to look as though she never spent a moment in your womb.
If memory serves, this is supposed to be the happiest time of Bryce and Jessica’s lives. Shouldn’t these new mothers be more preoccupied with nibbling their daughters’ tiny toes and singing lullabies than with counting calories and worrying that a camera will catch a bad angle of a pregnancy-thickened thigh? Even Scarlett O’Hara had to accept the fact that she no longer had a 17-inch waist after three kids.
Instead, they’re pressured to get back into size 2 clothes – as Beyonce did after just four months – and ridiculed like a playground outcast if they don’t.
Worse yet? People rushed to add their own fat-joke zingers to TMZ’s comment section. Gossip reporters get paid to get snarky, but these commenters were only too happy to do it for free.
Wonder how they’d feel if it were their own wives, sisters or daughters being mocked for daring to have real-woman bodies after baby.
Not so funny now, is it?
Photo: via PacificCoastNews.com]
Read more of Shana’s writing at Momsperiments.
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