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Better Body Image in Pregnancy and Beyond

We have all seen these celebrities who announce their pregnancies when they are barely showing, only to find out that they’re actually something like six months along. Before you know it they’ve popped out their sproglet, emerging from the hospital fresh faced  in their skinny jeans with zero down time, no observable stretch marks, and no hint of stress.

We like to tell ourselves that their money has bought them an instant tummy tuck, they are hopped up on happy pills (wait… maybe it’s just me who tells myself that?), that they have scores of nannies to deal with all of the mundane child rearing stuff, leaving them free to admire their little clones and strategically shield the stroller from the paparazzi so as to make sure that when they début their bundle of joy for the first time, it’s in a high-priced glossy mag with a seven figure pay day.

We remind ourselves that their JOB is to be beautiful and alluring, and they will have spent their entire pregnancy with nutritionists and personal trainers ensuring they don’t gain a single ounce more than they need to. And once that baby has been born, those same nutritionists and personal trainers are on speed dial, right behind the best plastic surgeon money can buy. If we had that kind of cash, and if the world was looking at us that closely, we’d probably make it through looking just as good… right?

So how refreshing is it to see the odd celebrity now and then who is actually taking the time to BE a mom, not worrying (too much) about shedding the pounds and instead working with what they’ve got?

My celebrity mom crush of the moment is someone I didn’t even like before. In fact, I didn’t even REALLY take any time to differentiate her from her other Disney contemporaries. For the longest time, I actually thought Lizzie McGuire and Hannah Montana were the same person!

Yes, I’m talking about the beautifully blooming Hilary Duff.

Have you SEEN her lately? I mean, the image I’ve always had in my head of her is the super skinny bitchy looking good two-shoes. You know…

Hilary Before

Not to say that I think all skinny pretty girls are bitchy, but I just never really gave her any time at all to make an impression other than that of yet another young starlet who would never know adversity.

And then the magazines started posting all the photos of her while she was pregnant, and I saw that she wasn’t carrying it all in a tidy little bump like so many other starving celebs. The girl looked radiant, of course, but tired and like she was actually indulging. Good on her!

Hilary Pregnant

She had bloat and fat and bags under her eyes, but she was still beautiful and happy. And when she had her baby, she didn’t hide away inside the house until all the weight had melted off. She went out and ENJOYED motherhood!

And it is now nearly four months later, and she STILL is not in her skinny jeans (heaven forbid!), which makes her a bit of a hero in my eyes. But she looks WONDERFUL.

Truly, I see her and just beam, knowing how hard I found it after I had Dexter to feel good about myself. I remember two weeks post-pregnancy, crying my eyes out because my non-maternity jeans didn’t fit yet. TWO WEEKS!

We have been conditioned by the media to feel like failures if we don’t ping back into shape quickly. I want to strangle some of my new mother facebook friends who brag as soon as possible about being back in their pre-pregnancy jeans. I mean, who cares? Really?

Does it make you a better mother if you are able to lose weight quickly? Are you a better wife? A better person?

I have been moping depressedly around because I never lost my pregnancy weight and now have to get through a second one before I can knuckle down and try again. Who knows how big I’ll be by the time number 2 comes along?

But you know what? I play with my son for hours and hours each day. I breastfed him every day of his life until I got pregnant again (and even then it was a struggle to quit!). I have the happiest, healthiest most well-adjusted little guy in the world, and he knows how much his mama loves him.

His favorite game is to come up to me as I lay on the floor or on his bed and pull up my shirt so he can tickle my belly and blow raspberries on it. He doesn’t see the jiggle as grotesque. He doesn’t look at my stretch marks with pity or contempt. I am his mama and his first true love, and he loves me for all that I am.

So bring on the next seven months of jiggling cellulite and giant belly with saggy boobs and stetched skin. Bring on those extra pounds and the back aches and the constant cravings.

I may put on weight. But it is for the best possible reason, and I will not be ashamed. And when this baby makes its debut, I will not abandon it in favor of the gym. I will not starve myself. I will be a mama first.

And I will be my own hero.

Family Beach Photo
Sunday at St Pete Beach
Sand in my Toes
Cocoa Beach Boys

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Saturday 26th of November 2016

Thank you for sharing this. I am 34 weeks now and ran and taught group classes before pregnancy. However, after the first 3 months I couldn’t tolerate running anymore. My tummy would get really stiff and I felt uncomfortable. I did find other ways to stay active and did spin 3 days a week for 2 months and continued to teach aqua aerobics and yoga up until 34 weeks. It was great reading about your experience. All the best.

Actually Mummy...

Monday 30th of July 2012

She is way more stunning now than pre-pregnancy. You revel in yours - you deserve to!

Actually Mummy...

Monday 30th of July 2012

She is way more stunning now than pre-pregnancy. You revel in yours - you deserve to!

Actually Mummy...

Monday 30th of July 2012

She is way more stunning now than pre-pregnancy. You revel in yours - you deserve to!


Monday 30th of July 2012

Brilliant post and good on her - the are more important things when you've just had a baby than how you look.

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