We’ve been seeing this for years before there was even a word for it, especially among celebrity moms. You know the ones, like Victoria Beckham and Bethenny Frankel who barely look pregnant when they go into labor, and leave the hospital two days later with seemingly washboard abs again. Now there is a term for this new breed of mom. They call them Mommyrexics and they place extreme importance on getting skinny immediately after giving birth.
Keep in mind, they were hideously skinny to begin with, which has something to do with it, but they go one step further by intentionally trying to look as if they are not pregnant and purposely do all they can to stay looking that way. While any woman who has ever had a baby might look at these women with wonder, the idea that it is somehow bad to gain weight during pregnancy is ridiculous, vain and wrong.
Of course, the idea that a women who just gave birth to a little life should place all her focus on her looks rather than the baby is disturbing. With adequate nutrition and proper exercise, the weight will come off. Usually most of the weight is lost in six weeks, especially if you’re breastfeeding, so why the need to go crazy to erase all the remnants of pregnancy on such an immediate, desperate level? What they do sends the wrong message to women everywhere because being pregnant and giving birth to a baby is one of the most treasured times in a woman’s life.
Since this trend has exploded in the celebrity world, gyms and trainers are capitalizing on it and riding the mommyrexia wave all the way to the bank. One Manhattan gym offers MILF and Stroller Bootcamp classes. Really, because after giving birth, a woman’s priority should be on morphing into a MILF. That term in itself is demeaning.
As my colleague, Meredith Carroll wrote over at Being Pregnant, “women are spending thousands to restore to their pre-pregnancy sizes in record time.” Naturally the maternity stores have picked up on it.
Pregnant in Heels star Rosie Pope says: ‘I’ve seen a massive uptick in my clients feeling stress if they’re not down to their pre-baby weight.’ In response to this growing trend, many maternity labels are making smaller sizes. Pope, who gave birth to her son four months ago, said the expectations are not healthy. ‘I’m worried about this trend, because even I couldn’t fit into it, and I’m small!’
So the question is why are women allowing such impossible restraints on themselves? And what does it teach our young girls? That giving birth is OK as long as you don’t look pregnant? Maybe it’s even worse than that.
When I think of Mommyrexia, I think that no matter how strong and beautiful a woman is when she brings a life into the world, and no matter how remarkably amazing the human body is that it can house and give birth to a perfectly wonderful newborn baby, society still see judges women through their appearance first… and always.
What’s worse is that many of us have internalized it and now do it to ourselves. That’s the most tragic part of it all.
Read Danielle’s blog Just Write Mom.