I recently came across a cover story published in Woman’s Day Magazine about tv presenter Catriona Rowntree. Last year Catriona, 38, was blessed to give birth to a healthy baby boy – her first child. Woman’s Day did an interview with Catriona two and a half months after she gave birth. While one may have thought a weekly magazine aimed at women 30+ might have focused on the ups and downs of being a first time Mum and the joy Catriona must feel in starting a family – alas, no.
The article instead screamed at us from the cover with the title “I’m back in my jeans” – because, of course, that is the most pressing and important aspect of being the Mother of a new born baby. Hmmm. Catriona goes on to state throughout the interview things such as “I have a pair of jeans I’ve worn since I was 21…I’m not a model and I have never been stick thin, but if I can get into my jeans then everything is OK” and that she became “really conscious” of her diet post birth. While I guess this consciousness may have been motivated for good health reasons, I somehow suspect based on Catriona’s other comments in the interview, it was more to do with her appearance. Underneath her ‘happiness’ at having her baby and bouncing back into her jeans, my feeling is that Catriona may be quite beholden to the thought that to be beautiful and successful she needs to be thin. Nothing else is as important.
This obsession with new Mothers losing their post baby weight as quickly as possible is seriously concerning. At a time when a new Mum should be focused on nurturing, caring for and loving their baby, while simultaneously loving, nurturing and caring for themselves, they are now faced with the added pressure of needing to slide back into those skinny jeans asap. The message given out is that being a “yummy mummy” is THE most important aspect of Motherhood and that everything must be done to snap back to a pre-baby size. The pressure this must create for vulnerable women struggling with issues of body image and acceptance shouldn’t be underestimated and could easily see them turn to dangerous diets, excessive exercise regimes or taking diet pills – all of which are not only harmful to a Mum – but harmful to a baby as well.
This excellent article “The Post-Pregnancy Weight-Loss Obsession” by Katie Gentile outlines that we “rarely see a picture of a pregnant celebrity without the requisite estimation of weight gain” and of course there are countless stories about how quickly model Mum’s get themselves back on catwalks and star Mum’s on the red carpet. The focus is weight, weight, weight, thin, thin, thin and glamour, glamour, glamour. Even when we see celebrity Mum’s doing something everyday such as taking their children to school, the focus reported on is their appearance as is the case in this article which gives the impression that if your not a ‘Yummy Mummy’ you could well be a ‘Slummy Mummy.’ Talk about a kick in the post pregnancy belly.
There is also the inherent danger we have in those first post baby stories where a glowing new Mum poses with her beautiful bub. Anyone that may have recently purchased OK Magazine’s edition with Kourtney Kardashian on the cover – I would be demanding your money back. Kourtney has bravely come out and said the photo of her has been dramatically photoshopped to make her much, much thinner. The proof is very evident below.
Image: Huffington Post
If you ask me Kourtney looks absolutely stunning and has that beautiful post baby belly that all new Mum’s have. OK Magazine should be outrageously ashamed of themselves for doing this to not only Kourtney, but in fact, their entire readership. It’s a disgrace for a publication to try and falsely give the impression that a woman can give birth and then there be no evidence of that in her body. Kourtney’s original photo is what women post pregnancy can look like for many, many weeks, even months, after they give birth. It should not be photoshopped away but instead celebrated and honoured as part of the process of becoming a Mother. We should see more ‘real’ photo’s of new Mum’s in the media like this one of a glowing Jools Oliver, wife of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, pictured here after giving birth to her daughter Petal. Bless.
Image: Now Magazine
So…is there more to being a Mummy than being yummy? While you could be forgiven for thinking the glossy media doesn’t think so, of course there is. Being a Mum is so multi-faceted, demanding, joyous, challenging and uplifting, that is hard to describe exactly how complex a role it truly is. All new Mum’s face the challenge of sleep deprivation, feeding, routines and never ending loads of laundry as well as soft cuddles, first smiles, contentment and joy. All of the love, patience, gratitude, fortitude, strength, giving and care this requires is in no way impacted by the size of the jeans the Mummy wears or how red carpet delectable she looks.