Pregnancy, Body Image and the Age of ‘Bump Watch’

By Melanie Klein

Originally posted at Feminist Fatale. Updated for Elephant Journal and Adios Barbie.

Me in the last few weeks of my pregnancy.

I’m pregnant but I just feel fat.

I can’t believe I said it – not once, not twice but repeatedly throughout my entire pregnancy. I started to feel that way at the beginning of my first trimester and it continued all the way through week 40.  It is bad enough that the feeling reflected my own distorted body image,  but I’m not the only one. I’ve heard it from far too many other pregnant women. In fact my pregnant cousin, 27 weeks along and absolutely stunning, recently posted a comment under a belly shot on her Facebook page exclaiming, “I feel gross and funny looking.” The thread that followed included countless reassuring comments from friends insisting that she looks beautiful (and, she does) and that the weight gain is all baby.

My cousin and I are part of an increasing trend of women that bring society’s cult-of-thinness-mentality into pregnancy,  manifesting in an underlying fear of weight gain and (normal and natural) bodily changes. Instead of equating the swelling belly, rounded breasts and increased adipose tissue with hormonal changes and necessary weight gain designed to support the pregnancy, too many women just feel fat- and hate it.

The fact that the original version of this post has received read thousands upon thousands of hits, has been shared in countless pregnancy support groups, has generated a deluge of comments and emails thanking me for sharing my personal story and has been continuously read daily, despite being almost a year old, confirms the magnitude of the problem.

I had always found the pregnant form immeasurably beautiful. Radiant women with full curves and a new life growing inside left me awe-struck. I looked forward to the day that I would become pregnant and join this league of life-giving, glowing, goddess women. Within moments of receiving the results of my home pregnancy test, one of the first things that went off in my head was, “uh-oh, what about my body?” As a body image activist and individual continuously battling unrealistic images of beauty, I am embarrassed to admit that the fat fear was present almost from conception.

Yes, I had moments where I felt beautiful but I certainly didn’t embrace my fecundity and fullness in the same way I had imagined. Those “beautiful” moments were sprinkled in among a general terror over my ever-expanding body. I remember coming home crying at the end of the first trimester because I felt ugly and fat.

Reflecting on those feelings of body hatred makes me sad, sad because my beautiful son was growing inside of me. I’ve written about this subject a lot lately because it is maddening that women seem destined to carry their culturally induced body anxieties into what is an  incredible and miraculous  life experience. The tabloids ridiculous and utterly disturbing obsession with the celebrity baby-bump and the post-baby body has not helped pregnant women feel any better about the changes their body goes through. In fact, it’s just “another way to make a woman feel fat.”

To help women cope with body pressures before and after pregnancy, author Claire Mysko wrote Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby.

If you’re like most expectant women, you’re worried about what pregnancy and motherhood will do to your body, your sexuality, and your self-esteem (even if you don’t want to admit it out loud for fear of the Bad Mommy Police). While the journey to motherhood is truly miraculous and brings forth life, it can also bring forth a myriad of legitimate concerns.

Enter beauty activists Claire Mysko and Magali Amadei, who offer a much-needed forewarning on what to expect from your changing body, as well as a reality check for each stage of your pregnancy, exposing the myths, challenges, and insecurities you’ll face throughout pregnancy and beyond—and what to do about them.

Unfortunately, I did not find this book until well after my son was born and deep into the throes of my own body loathing. I hope all pregnant women (or soon-to-be-pregnant) will find this book and that it will assist them.

While I think this information is  incredibly helpful, it’s not enough because we’re in a ubiquitous media environment that continues to throw jabs from every angle. We need to employ active tools of media literacy to deconstruct these images as well as create and expose ourselves to new images- realistic images. That’s why I love the website, The Shape of A Mother, a website that demystifies the pregnant and postnatal form with images and stories from real mothers without the aid of computer retouching or plastic surgery.

As a first-time mother, I admit that I was clueless and surprised at the physical changes I encountered. I felt alone and disappointed that most of the physical and emotional changes I experienced were not discussed honestly and openly by other mothers. I felt like I was thrown into the jungle without the adequate provisions and tools to emerge successfully. We need less stories about women like Ellen Pompeo (who went up to-gasp-size 26  jeans during pregnancy), Gisele Bundchen , Nicole Richie (“svelte after one week!”)  or countless other celebs and more stories about average women who are pregnant but just feel fat. Maybe if we have more people discussing these issues candidly we can avoid more women spending their pregnancy obsessing over their inevitable expansion and being present to the miraculous process they are engaging in.

Now that would be beautiful.

Other Pregnancy Related Posts on Adios Barbie:

Newest Diet Fad Offers False Positive

The Skinny on Pregnancy Weight Gain

What’s Up with the Super Skinny Demonic Pregnancy in “Breaking Dawn”?

“Pregorexia”: Are Celebrities Really to Blame?

78 thoughts on “Pregnancy, Body Image and the Age of ‘Bump Watch’

  1. I know several people that have also told me that they hate the way they look while they are pregnant. In other words, they feel extremely fat during their pregnancy. I just look at them and say, “What do you expect when a baby is being developed inside you to be skinny or what?” Now I think of this and realize that perhaps I was a little harsh on my friends and sister-in-law. I now start realizing that sometimes it’s not their fault that they feel how they feel. They are not really aware on what to really expect when they are pregnant and also because all the trash that it’s being thrown at images of pregnant women. As a result, I will, perhaps suffer the same issue as my friends did. I will also feel very fat, but thanks to this linked/blog I got a hold of a book that I will sure read if I ever become pregnant. Not only will I have access to this book, but I will recommend it to friends that are pregnant to read it. Nonetheless, every time I see a pregnant woman, my heart feels with joy. Even though I may not know the person, there is something inside me that brightness my day. I feel happy for her and start wondering how it really feels to have a human inside you growing and waiting to pop out and meet you. I start wondering on when it will be my turn? On how will I feel? The only answer that I can come up with is just to wait and feel it and see it for myself.

  2. I have always thought that women who are pregnant look so gorgeous and have a sort of sexiness to them also. Although I am only 21, I have always dreamed of the day that I have my first child and the overall experience I will go through! Weight gain has gone through my mind when thinking of this, but not too much because it is not something that I expect to happen any time soon, but after reading this, how I will probably feel and act was made more aware to me. I think that pregnancy is a beautiful thing and I hope that I will be able to experience it and enjoy every moment of the process to the fullest! I love that I am learning about more and more women’s issues that will stay with me throughout my life and I can take advantage of in the future.

  3. This is interesting for me to read because I was recently thinking about what would happen to my body when I get pregnant. I have years until I need to worry about this, but I am already afraid of gaining all the weight from my future pregnancies. I should not be scared to gain weight when the outcome is a baby, which I definitely do want someday. I am relieved to know that I am not the only person who feels this way, and that there are many women who worry about gaining weight during pregnancy. Women need to realize that this is natural, and that the celebrities to have claimed to only going up to jean size 26, or who look skinny one week after giving birth, are not the norm for pregnancy. Media literacy is important in getting women to realize that they are not fat when they are pregnant, and that celebrities are not in fact that skinny a week after giving birth. I hope pregnant women will see this post to help them.

  4. I completely agree with this post! My cousins had even stopped going in public near the last two months of their pregnancy because they felt they looked less pregnant and fatter. We tried to tell them otherwise, but this mentality was glued into them, even though they didn’t want to feel this way. When my mom was pregnant with me, people could barely tell she was pregnant (I was a small baby!), but by the time my brother came around my mom thought that something was wrong with her body. Even now after 18 years, my mom hasn’t been able to regain the figure she had when she first had me. Sometimes as a joke, I play with her and ask her how long she’s due because of her pot belly – but all of this basically shows the underlying problem of associating one of life’s greatest miracles to society’s perception of beauty.

  5. The fact that the media derides on pregnant woman is absolutely disgusting. Being pregnant is a miracle and it is one of the most beautiful things of life, if not the most beautiful. No pregnant woman is “fat” and even if you were severally overweight your body would not be healthy enough to make a baby so in essence there is no such thing as a “fat” pregnant woman. Also, it is wrong how the media criticizes a woman after having her baby about how she looks. All pregnant women are beautiful to me. I agree on Ms. Klien’s statement that, “We need to employ active tools of media literacy to deconstruct these images as well as create and expose ourselves to new images- realistic images”. This is exactly what needs to happen in our society.

  6. I can completely understand how you felt. I felt fat during my pregnancy too. I actually exercised almost every day. I remember the day I had went into labor, I had a huge contraction when I was on my daily walk. Though at the time I did not know it was a contraction. I definitely don’t think it helps that the media is crazy over “baby bumps.” I had gained the correct amount of weight too but still felt fat. It’s really sad that the media can have such profound effects on us.

  7. I admire the fact that even through your background, you are still able to openly admit your insecurities and your feelings about pregnancy. The honesty makes you human, and it helps one relate to you more. Though you are a feminist, and are actively involved in promoting self-love, a woman’s beauty, and other empowering concepts, there are still moments where not everyone feels at their best. However, despite the thoughts that were on your mind during your pregnancy, there is no doubt that you were a beautiful pregnant woman, and that the feeling of being fat and ugly was probably partially due to the fact that your body was not used to the natural changes going on, and it may have caused feelings of discomfort. Also, it does not help that magazines are constantly promoting pregnant celebrities that are “thin” and that get back in shape merely a few weeks after birth. It instills to women the idea that even after pregnancy, one should always be thin because thinness defines beauty. But in reality, the beauty of life is far more valuable and beautiful than any other thin photoshopped woman on a magazine. Though you had these negative feelings toward yourself, the fact that you openly talked about it and recognized it is something I applaud you for because it helps so many women relate to you, so they know they are not alone.

  8. Forgive me if this comment sounds naive, I have never been pregnant. Yet I both gravely fear and anxiously await the day I do (if I do). I cannot wait for it because for once in my life, I will be able to eat whatever I want, as much as I want and actually have an excuse for it. Yet at the same time, I feel I may begin to feel the most depressed and self conscious I will have ever felt, because I did eat whatever I wanted, and as much as I wanted. I think this is one of those scenarios you cannot really relate to until you’ve actually experienced it first hand, but its an interesting thing to think about and perspective to consider.

  9. I have never been pregnant, but like you mentioned pregnant women are radiant and should embrace their pregnancy rather than fearing their bodies. One should consider that as their ever expanding stomach grows, so does life, which in my opinion is life’s greatest gift. While reading your article I couldn’t help but think of my selfishness because i complain whenever I gain weight, so gaining weight would take its toll on me and although pregnancy is beautiful it definitely requires patience one must be prepared mentally and physically. Pregnancy seems like an overwhelming experience, but with the right mentality it could turn out to be a wonderful experience. Pregnant women should enjoy being pregnant and stop trying to abide to societies alleged beauty because in doing so they are only hurting their self-esteem. Rather than complaining or feeling depressed on how one’s body is changing, pregnant women should satisfy all their cravings and if their body image is such a big deal they should practice yoga, which I hear eases and helps when delivering the baby. I have heard from some of my close friends that even though one becomes a bit hormonal and is constantly uncomfortable due to the weight gaining, being pregnant gives you a glowing look, the sex is interesting and your hair and skin get revitalized. Pregnancy should be a wonderful experience and society should embrace it by showing it’s perks and not ruin this with the notion of calling pregnant women fat or ugly.

  10. This article is another one that is a wakeup call for me. My boyfriend and I have been together for over two years. We have a very happy relationship and he is my best friend and love of my life. We are talking about marriage and children. And we are assuming we will get married in a couple years and then have children in maybe five or six years. I have always wanted children and I love children. My little sister is 11 so I experienced my step mom’s pregnancy and helped raise my little sister. But I have always feared what pregnancy will do to my body and how I can change it back after children. It is scary to think of having a stretched out vagina, breast, and stomach. As well as the weight gain and stretch marks. I have a friend who just had a baby a few weeks ago and she already looks amazing! She is only 22 though. It almost influences me to have kids at a younger age so that it will be easier to get my body back. But these changes are all a part of life and something I will have to accept. I can try to be as healthy as possible and work out in ways that I can during pregnancy, but I need to accept what is going to happen to my body. This article is a great reminder that these changes are normal and that it happens to everyone. I know my mom had a tummy tuck after she had me. Different women choose to handle the situation differently. I just want to have healthy children, and then I will worry about how to get in shape. I think this article reminds women that they need to love their bodies and what they are doing. Creating life and that is beautiful. Women are allowed to hire personal trainers and get tummy tucks if they want, but they should never hate their bodies or how they have changed. It is a wonder of nature and should be valued. The workouts can come later, but love you. And I also liked the website, The Shape of a Mother. Some of the photos horrified me a little of what is to come, but I also had the realization that it happens to everyone. You cannot fight it so embrace it and love yourself.

  11. I have always found pregnant women to be beautiful. The way a woman’s body changes in order to bring new life into this world is not only beautiful, but magical. While I don’t plan on having any children for many years, I still look forward to the day when I can be one of those goddesses. While looking at it from the outside, I know it’s a much different story to be looking from the inside. While there are constant pressures from society to be thin, pregnancy is not a time when it is fully excluded. Nowadays we see celebrities bounce back just 6 months after giving birth. It’s important to realize that these celebrities also have teams of nannies, dieticians, and personal trainers to get them back on track. Giving birth is a beautiful thing, embrace it and embrace the body that made it happen.

  12. One thing that you touched upon that I think is wonderful is how media obsesses with at first the baby bump and then as soon as they have the baby they have to post pictures of how they look after. They a lot of the times have interviews with the new mothers and ask what they do to get back in shape. This is terrible for mothers everywhere. They see these famous mothers who look fabulous a couple weeks after having a baby and it makes other women feel terrible. I remember my mom was watching something on TV about a woman who just had a baby and she was saying how easy it was to get back she into shape so fast. She worked out every day with a personal trainer and hired a healthy cook. My mom was practically yelling at the TV screaming “I would be in shape too if I could afford all that and if I had a nanny that would raise my baby!” She was so mad because my mom understands how unrealistic it is to be “perfect” after having babies. I have never been pregnant but when I think about it, it’s not about how wonderful it would be to have a life within me I think about the possibility of getting stretch marks and which ointment I should use to minimize them. I understand that this is a terrible thought but by reading this article I now understand that my thoughts need to change. When I plan on having a baby I will definitely look into the book suggested so I can embrace my pregnancy instead of feeling fat and ugly.

  13. Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful things in this world. I personally have not been pregnant but I do know a few women that have expressed these feelings before. My two sisters have gone through the pregnancy experience and their biggest concern was how their bodies would look after the baby. My older sister had difficulties coping with her body; she was curvy before the pregnancy but notice the baby bump stating to show she felt ugly and disfigured. The experience women use to have with pregnancy is no longer their women hating their bodies and many go through extreme measure to keep their thin bodies. The media sure does not help because they show celebrates that had their babies a week ago and their bodies look like they never had a body. Women have multiple roles in society, which include mother, wives, working women, and domestic women. These roles often overlap and it is clear why “real” women bodies do not go back to normal right away. Being pregnant use to mean you were a goddess, a creator of life instead more and more women fear pregnancy because their bodies will never look the same. This idea has come to mine before; I get scared that someday I might be going through this experience. I often catch myself saying that I might never have kids because all they do is ruin your body. Although this process is part of life society looks down on pregnant women. They are seen as weak and inferior, which makes no sense because it used to be something that was valued and respected. Media has a distorted image on how pregnant women should look.

  14. I have not been pregnant before but mostly every woman I know has been. I honestly can’t say that I have heard any of them say that they just feel fat. I think that it is sad though that women worry about their wight and appearance instead of being happy that they have the chance to be a mother, since not all women can. I know that whenever I get pregnant, this thought will probably cross my mind at some point but I hope that it does not take over the joy of being pregnant. I do think that since the media is such a huge influence in our daily lives, we should have celebrities talking about their physical issues and pregnancy. Now that Beyonce had her baby, she is all over the magazines sowing her after baby body. I think that it is insane that even new mothers have to worry about their appearance instead of enjoying their baby. Women have to understand that celebrities lose weight so they won’t lose their job and they have personal trainers helping them every dingle day. Pregnancy should be harmonious and the last thing women should worry about is feeling fat because they are going to gain weight regardless.

  15. What society thinks when they see a pregnant women: “wow she is fat” “I wonder if she is having twins or triplets” “she is going to have a hard time loosing that weight” “I feel bad for the husband” “She needs to eat less” “I hope I don’t look like that when/if I get pregnant” “my wife better not look like that.” A lot of these thoughts is what people first think when they see a pregnant women, and yet they still don’t even acknowledge that she is carrying life insider her. Society makes it hard for pregnant women to skate by during their later weeks when they are at they max weight, due to the baby. Every guy I talk to says they are happy girls carry that burden because they wouldn’t want to be that huge walking around public. When women do get pregnant you hear they talk about their weight more than about their actual health and the health of their baby. The reason for this is “society” which makes life in general difficult. We have to conform to what society says is correct and acceptable. So society depicts a pregnant women as being super skinny in the limbs, with perfect breast, no facial fat, or blemishes, and with a perfect basketball size belly with smooth flawless skin. Therefore most pregnant woman use that image as a normal pregnancy and internalize that image/belief as correct and socially acceptable. We hardly see the real normal looking pregnant woman in magazines or on tv, instead we see a fake or rare image of what society sees as correct. Everyone needs to accept themselves for what they are and to only act in ways that will make themselves happy and not conform to the false belief of society.

  16. I find it very heartbreaking that even pregnant women get bombarded with the idea that being thin is such an essential concept in their lives. It isn’t enough that non-pregnant women are stressed to having a certain body image that now the media and people have affected them so much that even when pregnant they have to maintain that unhealthy mindset. Pregnant women are naturally going to gain weight, not because they are over-eating or getting fat but because they are PREGNANT and need changes to occur to be able to support the baby full term. It is very true that the media constantly points out how pregnant celebrities look in clothes and how they look after they have given birth. One of my cousin, unfortunately, had this mindset while she was pregnant and couldn’t seem to shake off the idea of how “terrible” her pregnancy would be because of what it would do to her body. It only adds to the already visible idea that women should be “5’7″, weigh 120 pounds, and be sexy 24/7” that affects not even just women but young girls as well. How badly will this affect young girls on their views of pregnancy when they are constantly shown and told what they should look like by the media? Will they ever even consider getting pregnant because of the fears that revolve around natural weight gain and changes in their bodies? It’s something that women and people in general need to support – the fact that a pregnant woman will go through body changes and that it is something beautiful and natural, and not to be tempered on the ideas that being thin 100% of the time is the only way to be even in such situations. Pregnant equals beautiful, no matter the body type and type of woman.

  17. It is very sad how women have the mindset that they are fat when they are pregnant. Pregnancy is suppose to be filled with happiness and excitement, but instead, women talk about feeling fat. I honestly think that it is a subliminal thing. As the article stated, we have the media showing us these celebs bouncing right back to their slim figures in a matter of a few months. And even my mother has told me to stay in good shape now so that when I become pregnant, I won’t be huge after the baby is born. I know that she doesn’t mean any harm by it, but weight somehow always seems to be a factor in some way with society. I do not have any kids now, but reading this article helps me to prepare and gives me a different mindset for when I do become pregnant. Well written and very insightful.

  18. What an interesting post. I really enjoyed this article. I think because women have been socialized to think “skinny”, pregnant or not, they will always have that fat fear. To me pregnancy is SUCH a beautiful part of life. When I see a pregnant woman I can’t help but just stare at her, not because she is large and pregnant, but because pregnant women are so radiant and beautiful. I had a talk with my sister the other day about having kids. (I myself am counting down the days until I have children. The miracle of life is just so beautiful). My sister told me that she is considering not having kids. I immediately attacked her with “WHY?”. She replied by saying “I worked hard to get to his weight, and I’m not going to ruin it by getting pregnant”. IN-SANE. I think it is absurd that media the media takes away attention from how beautiful pregnancy is and focuses on how women get LARGER. Is being skinny more important that bringing life into this world? Once again, pregnancy is beautiful. No matter how small or large a baby bump is, it is absolutely stunning.

  19. During my brief and only one pregnancy (three and a half months) I made some very interesting discoveries. I did feel fatter but I was completely alright with it. As long as I can remember, controlling my weight and what I ate has been a concern of mine. This time, however, although my body began to show the hormonal changes typical of an early pregnancy, I felt comfortable in a new self. In fact, I welcomed eating when I was hungry, wearing baggy clothes around my waist and not being overly concerned about showing a belly. Even a girlfriend of mine (who did not know I was pregnant) made observations such as “getting a little plumber, aren’t you?” and I was still fine.

    Yes, being pregnant made me aware of what Melanie Klein calls “an underlying fear of weight gain” and it made me realize how so many women live day after day with a mental restrain about our own bodies. It is an overwhelming reality in our society.
    Being pregnant made me feel “beautiful” and at peace with myself (and my physical appearance). It felt as if something greater took over my mind and let me “live” just as I am. I also remember feeling a new sense of clarity and groundlessness within –I did feel like a “goddess”, or close to it.
    Since then, I have gained a more realistic sense of my body and how beauty is “understood” in the society I live in. Although I continue to watch my weight and what I eat, I do so for health reasons not as a slave of my own distorted thinking.
    Unfortunately, I did not find this book until well after my son was born and deep into the throes of my own body loathing. I hope all pregnant women (or soon-to-be-pregnant) will find this book and that it will assist them.
    Women must watch very carefully what we see in the media because it prays on us “from every angle” if we are to deconstruct sexist images and create new images that are realistic and embrace our humanity.

  20. This makes me so sad for pregnant women. In what is supposed to be the most special time in your life, you are criticized for gaining too much weight, having too many stretch marks, or eating too much. It’s supposed to be about the person growing inside of you and that bond you are building. It should be about reading pregnancy books or getting tips from families, buying cute new clothes for your child, and getting excited for the chance to be a mother. It should not be about being unhappy in your own skin. For women, we have it so hard to go back to our original (or better!) bodies directly after childbirth. Instead of enjoying motherhood, you are expected to go back to a size 3. It is unfortunate that we are given these unrealistic expectations. Because of hormones raging through, it may not be possible and society should just have to deal with that.

  21. I think being pregnant is a wonderful thing, but the horrible weight gain is so damn frustrating and losing the weight afterwards is exhausting and most of the time it won’t come off. I’ve had trouble getting ride of the weight gain through 2 pregnancies and numerous birth control methods and to no vail have I succeeded. I didn’t glow I was sick through my whole to pregnancies and had to be bed ridden due to complications. If I could get pregnant again I wouldn’t just for the fact I don’t want to gain anymore weight. I’ve seen some beautiful women and they look great pregnant or some can lose the weight right after the pregnancy. To all moms I’m with you in your frustration. Good luck to all.

  22. I have never been pregnant. When I think about pregnancy I think about being fat, but I don’t care about getting fat during pregnancy, but being fat after. I think pregnancy is a beautiful thing for mothers even though they gain weight. But really that is all I worry about being fat I feel as if I were to be pregnant after giving birth and having stretch marks, the after math of pregnancy does not seem beautiful. I feel as if I would never be able to get my body back into the shape I was before getting pregnant. At times I think to myself how can I feel this way if my mother got fat for me and was fat after I was born and I have never heard her complain about gaining weight will being pregnant. I think most women are afraid to get fat and often I hear some say that they don’t want to have kids because they don’t want to be fat. Gaining weight should not stop anyone from conceiving a baby, because for mothers having a baby is such a precious gift.

  23. I myself have no kids and I am not sure if I ever plan to have kids. I do love kids but I feel that kids are a lot of responsibility. My sister has a five year old daughter and when she was pregnant I was able to see her happiness through her eyes. My grandmother also believed that her eyes changed through her pregnancy. My sister gained a lot of weight while she was pregnant. At that time my sister did not feel that she was fat but often people would tell her you’re big but she would not take it personal. She was much younger and she didn’t think anything of it, she thought it was normal. I myself would see her get bigger but I did not tell her anything because she was pregnant. My sister gained a lot of weight. After she had her daughter she then lost all her weight and she looked good. She just got pregnant and she is 14 weeks. I see her being very self-conscious of her weight and what she consumes. She is always saying she is fat and she is very insecure. I also notice that this time around my sister is scared of gaining weight. I think whether a woman gets fat or not a kid is a beautiful thing and women should accept their body while their pregnancy.

  24. Every time I think of a pregnancy I think of will I be fat after the baby is born, how can I get my figure back. I want 3-4 children as well, so I am scared to not to be how I am today toned and comfortable in my body. I always worry about being that mother that let herself go, just gave up on looking nice or always working then slaving in the kitchen to make that perfect meal. After reading this article, I don’t think I should stress it as much, 1. I am not worried about having any children as of now, 2. I would rather enjoy the moment of carrying something so precious, than to worry about a little weight gain.

  25. It is unfortunate that mothers are not able to enjoy there pregnancy because they feel “fat” instead of enjoying the moment. The media has a lot to do with this because they show all the celebrities looking beautiful and amazing during there pregnancies. Then, after they have the baby not even a month later they are back to their original weight and look amazing. However, it is not realistic and this increases the pressure on a real woman to lose weight after the birth of their child. Several of my friends that have had children are always paranoid about the weight and what they eat. For example, one of them used to put coco butter on like five times a day; you could smell the coco butter from a distant, that’s how much she would us. It is good that she took care of her self but she took it to an extreme. She was obsess with it just because she did not want a stretch mark, she would she every morning. I do not think that she fully enjoyed her pregnancy she was more worried about her image, which we can not blame her for do to our society. On the other hand, my sister in law just recently had my baby niece and during the pregnancy she always talked about how big she was. After, she gave birth to my niece she has been going through a depression do to her body weight. Since I am close to her my brother has asked me to help her by taking her to yoga with me. She actually loved it and started to feel better about herself and she even started to work out. I never imagine that someone could go through depression after giving birth to a precious baby. I had heard of it but I had never experienced it, but I been through it with my in law. Now after eight months she is feeling better and she has started to lose some weight by working out and eating healthy. I do think that the pressure of the media plays a huge roll on the emotional status of a soon to be mom or a mother.

  26. Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing, I remember being pregnant with my daughter and seeing other pregnant people and thinking about how beautiful they are… not how beautiful I was. I went from a size 5 to a size 11, I recieved stretch marks all over my breasts, belly and thighs and while all my other teenage friends were in bikinis at the beach over summer, I was 9 months pregnant, 200 pounds and giving birth to a 9 pound baby. Rather than embracing pregnancy, I looked at all the things I was losing… like my body. I felt fat, ugly and not in control over my own body and it drove me crazy. What people dont tell you, is while you look beautiful with a belly- as soon as the little rugrat comes out, you are left with this body that gained all this weight and now do not have an excuse. Now that I look back I wish I had embraced my belly more. Though there were times I felt pretty, I did not enjoy the feeling of being pregnant and excuseless ability to be “fat”. Why are we as women so critical on ourselves while we are creating another human being inside of us?

  27. I believe that pregnancy is such an amazing experience, the knowing that you a little human being in your body and that it is a part of the you and your partner. I have never been pregnant, but when I do I know that I will be very happy as well really scared. Although pregnancy is wonderful in knowing you are bringing a human being into life, it freaks me out on what it is going to do to my body, am I going to be a good mother, and am I going to lose the weight that I put on. All these questions race thru my mind. There is so much pressure now than before thanks to all the celebrities and their baby bump watch. These celebrities after giving birth within three to four weeks are back to their regular size or even smaller. It is a race to see which celebrity loses the baby weight fast, as well it puts the pressure on us normal people. I remember when my sister was pregnant. Before she got pregnant she use to weigh one hundred pounds, she was that type of girl that could eat anything at any time of the day and would not gain a pound. As she started to gain weight during her pregnancy I remember she would always say OMG I am getting fatter by the minute! It was something that she would always say, especially when she would go shopping. She went from being a size zero before pregnancy to a size five after. Now that she is a size five she has so much trouble accepting that her body changed and that she is not a size zero anymore. When I think she looks more beautiful and healthier than before. I do believe that the media plays a huge part on what we believe we should look like after having a baby and in reality all women are not the same and we have different body types and different metabolisms.

  28. I had never really thought about pregnancy or about what it does to a females body. However, I do know that before my mother had children, she was a size 2. Now, four children later and 30 years later, she’s a size 16. I asked my mother what happened to her body and she said that after she had her first, she gained about 20 lbs. After that she kept gaining weight after every pregnancy. When my mother was pregnant with my younger sister, I didn’t see my mother as pregnant, I just thought she had gotten fat. Now, I see a woman who is pregnant and I wonder if she enjoys being pregnant. I see that on the tv show E News, the media keeps watch on “celebrity baby bumps”; however, they say “o that dress is showing off her baby bump! she is glowing”. This doesnt sound very negative at all. However, after the celeb has a baby, the media watches to see how long it takes for a mother to shed the baby weight. This creates a standard that is supposed to apply to all women: shed the baby weight in the six months that follows or you are lazy, ugly and fat.The lesser known truth is that these celebs are paid to look they way they do, this is why they are so body conscious.

  29. I completely agree! I may not have a baby of my own but I have many friends who have had a baby, many of them while we were still in High School. I constantly remember having to aid many of my friend’s self-esteems during their pregnancies, especially because many of them continued to attend school while having their weight and bodies change. They tried so hard to present themselves in ways that would make them look “less fat” or more appealing. Looking back on it now, I realize that if looking perfect all the time, even during pregnancy, wasn’t so stressed in our society, many then future mothers wouldn’t feel so “gross and fat.” If the media didn’t present pregnant celebrities the way they do (which is still flawless) then maybe soon-to-be mothers wouldn’t try so hard to attain a certain look during and after pregnancy. I also have had many of my friends who have gotten their breasts done after pregnancy because they weren’t happy with their bodies anymore. This is what is most depressing to me because instead of embracing the experience they had with giving life to a child, they want to pretend that they were never fat and that what they looked like during pregnancy, never really happened. I do hope that in the future, when I do decide to become pregnant, I will embrace my hugeness and be happy about being fat.

  30. I have the same opinion that mothers do not speak and hate the fact to talk about how they feel “fat” when pregnant. For example, my older sister is actually pregnant, and I soon she found out she was pregnant, she ended up going to the store to buy creams such as cocoa-butter for stretch marks. I believe that many women when they are pregnant don’t actually end up eating what they should be eating since the fear of getting fat during the 9th month its fearful. Yet, we see how celebrities portray a huge part in women that are pregnant since majority of them, once they have a baby; they are back to the same weight. In realistic, I find it being beautiful to enjoy caring your baby for 9 months and eating healthy in which at the end of the day, a women would actually enjoy their pregnancy years. Once women hear the word FAT they feel that the world is going to come down on them. Not only knowing the fear of knowing of gaining weight, but also how women caring too much what other people say about them. I believe that every woman should feel grateful and appreciate to have pregnant since there are many women out there that want to have a baby but they cannot. Also this then leads how I do think pregnant women should feel isolated and embarrassed to talk about the way they are feeling. This then shows if many women are constantly worried about their body imagine and not talking about being grateful of having a child, it leads women self esteem down. When a women has the opportunity to be pregnant, women don’t believe the thought of being beautiful while there are pregnant. I consider that it is so sad that women are ashamed of their baby bump because according to the media mainstream, pregnant women suppose to be a certain weight. Unfortunately, we then see how celebrities portray a huge role in pregnant women. Even though all women gain weight in their pregnancy, but at the end of the day, women should be appreciate how they are able to bring a child into the world.

  31. 1. I have never been pregnant and don’t plan on it for a while, but I know the media has trained me to think that after pregnancy you must lose the weight instantly. Beyonce just had her baby and a couple weeks after she looked like she had already gotten her pre-baby body back. It seems like it has become a race to see what celebrity can lose their weight the fastest. I do think it is important to work out while pregnant and stay healthy, but this obsession to remain skinny enough to lose weight fast after giving birth is sickening. Our culture puts a massive amount of pressure for normal women to be skinny, but pre-pregnancy is held at just as a high of standard. I am guilty of watching MTV’s 16 and pregnant every so often and one of the girls was a recovering anorexic when she got pregnant. During her pregnancy she was freaking out about gaining weight and began to starve herself to prevent and weight, which is obviously not healthy for herself or the baby. It is sad that the pressures to be thin carry on to when women are pregnant and need to gain weight to keep them baby healthy. I totally understand how scary it would be to gain weight rapidly like that, but it’s a shame it is such a big stress on pregnant women.

  32. As a guy, I will say that pregnancy is a huge mystery to me. I will never know the chemical imbalance, the physical changes and everything that encompasses a pregnancy. I will say, however, that pregnancy in it self is such a beautiful thing. To know that a female body can produce a living and precious things out of an egg and sperm, it about baffles me! With that said, I can recall at the grocery store or at work, looking at many magazines always focusing on the body of celebs. Things like “5 ways to loose the belly fat after pregnancy” or “how she lost all the weight after pregnancy.” Prior to reading this article, I had no idea that pregnant women think of such things. Should it come to surplice? No. This was insightful and so encouraging to many other women who go thought the same things. Hope one day the media/tabloids will cover the beauty there is behind being pregnant instead of encouraging self-centeredness.

  33. After reading this article I was really surprised. I realize that many women at some point feel fat or ugly, but I didn’t realize that it was so often or that it was throughout the pregnancy or that it happened so early on. I don’t know really because I’ve never been pregnant nor have children, but in the past I have actually donated eggs to couples in order to help them have children. I know during that process that I actually did feel fat or nasty feeling, and that was only me taking medicines to make eggs for the couple, so I could only imagine how actually being pregnant can actually feel and make the person feel. I think when a woman is pregnant it is a beautiful thing and that is something that they should embrace, but unfortunately the media does mess with that image. When women are pregnant I think they shine and they are growing a child and this is just a beautiful natural thing! I agree that the media does put a negative image out there by putting celebrity pregnancies out there and talking about their miraculous baby weight loss, which everyday people do not have the means to lost the baby weight in one week, unless they have a personal trainer maybe. Just knowing that women already suffer from low-self esteem with body image because they are constantly being monitored or criticized, makes it difficult and their pregnancy a less joyous time in their life. I hope that many women read this article and realize that what is going on is beautiful and natural and that they are beautiful no matter!

  34. Unfortunately, I do not want to have any kids for many reasons and my body being one of them. I do not have this fear of being fat or anything because I am an athlete and I know that I can get my body back down to the size I want; but its like your skin get stretched out all around and you become loose. I personally do not like that for myself. I never looked at pregnant people and judged them about their weight. I was amazed at how a human is living in their belly. It was scary in a sense to me. I knew pregnant women who had problems like this. One of my closes friends got pregnant and went right back to her size and barely gained any weight. Then she got pregnant with her second child and gain like 40 pounds and felt so insecure. She began to have low self-esteem because she could not fit none of her close or shoes, she did not feel like she had any sex appeal or beauty to her. She said she stayed in leggings and a t-shirt through out her pregnancy. She felt all type of emotions and she thought it would be hard to get all the weight off of her. She started having doubts and felt regrets about her pregnancy. Then with society and media it makes it worse because they boast about skinny being the new sexy. Also how small waist and people wearing a size 0 in jeans is good. It screws with people head because a size 0 is not good. Be happy with yourself big, small, tall or skinny you make your own happiness because you live within yourself not others.

  35. As a young woman that aspires to have children one day, more than anything in life this topic scares me more than I would like to admit. Although, I foundly look at women in their early stages of pregnancy and admire how “motherly” they look. It seems that the farther along in their pregnancy they are the more I feel sympathy. They look so uncomfortable with all the extra weight, so much that it makes it difficult to move around. Their discomfort is off-putting. Yet, I still long to be in their shoes one day. This post made me think of my mother. During her pregnancy with me there were many complication and ended with a C-section that left a scar across her abdomen, a process many pregnant women have to endure. I remember seeing her scar for the first time when I was just a few years old, not old enough to really understand but the words my mother said to me where crystal clear and I can still recall them to this day. When I asked her how she got that scar on her tummy, she looked at me with the most kindhearted and loving look in her eyes and said to me, “those are my mommy marks and you wouldn’t be here without them so that makes them very special to me.” It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how confident my mother was. When others saw a scar she saw her daughter and that meant so much more. Motherhood is truly a journey that I can’t wait to embark on and although I know it will take a toll on my own body, the love for my future child will surpass all my body insecurities.

  36. As I was reading this, I realized that I too am guilty about having a negative self-image related to pregnancy. Even though I’ve never been pregnant, I do wish to have kids later in my future. Before even being pregnant, I’ve psyched myself out about weight and stretch marks. I’ve even considered not getting pregnant because I’m scared of the way my body is going to change. I don’t associate these thoughts to other women though; when I see pregnant women, I always think they look so beautiful and have a beautiful glow to them. Pregnancy is such a beautiful aspect of life, that to think that I’ve considered giving that up because of the way I’ll look is not only selfish, but also disappointing. I am past those thoughts, and even though I still am scared of the way I’ll look post-pregnancy, I know that I want to have children regardless.
    The media plays such a strong role on self-image. Celebrities that get pregnant and lose the weight fast are glorified. This just seems so unreal. Many women do not have access to the same things celebrities do, so their process after pregnancy can be challenging. The media downplays that by emphasizing skinny as beautiful, even after pregnancy.

  37. I really admire those individuals who are so transparent and honest when sharing views, feelings, and thoughts about experiences surrounded by expectation and “unsaid” rules. I believe that many women are unaware of their self-loathing and where it originates from; they can’t identify that the “fat,” “ugly,” “gross,” feelings go beyond the physical. Although I have never been pregnant, I feel I can connect with a lot of the body image struggles and the shaming of, I “should” be happy, I “shouldn’t” be thinking this way, I “should.”……..I will never be able to carry a child, and that has been a source of some sadness and loss. I have vacillated from having anger and resentment towards women who are able to carry a child and spend much of it hating their bodies, to having much compassion and empathy for them. At the center of those conflicting feelings are all of these socially constructed ideals and rules of how we, a man, a woman, pregnant or not, “should,” be. I have found that the awareness, identifying how we judge ouselves, and assuming how others will scrutinize our physical appearance, is a long and difficult process. I’m certain I will never find complete and perfect acceptance of my body, but I will continue to work on appreciating the process, and seeing what i do have. While I cannot carry a child through a pregnancy, I am blessed with arms that will one day hold my child and eyes able to see their smile.

  38. I have never been pregnant and don’t plan on it for a while, but I know the media has trained me to think that after pregnancy you must lose the weight instantly. Beyonce just had her baby and a couple weeks after she looked like she had already gotten her pre-baby body back. It seems like it has become a race to see what celebrity can lose their weight the fastest. I do think it is important to work out while pregnant and stay healthy, but this obsession to remain skinny enough to lose weight fast after giving birth is sickening. Our culture puts a massive amount of pressure for normal women to be skinny, but pre-pregnancy is held at just as a high of standard. I am guilty of watching MTV’s 16 and pregnant every so often and one of the girls was a recovering anorexic when she got pregnant. During her pregnancy she was freaking out about gaining weight and began to starve herself to prevent and weight, which is obviously not healthy for herself or the baby. It is sad that the pressures to be thin carry on to when women are pregnant and need to gain weight to keep them baby healthy. I totally understand how scary it would be to gain weight rapidly like that, but it’s a shame it is such a big stress on pregnant women.

  39. I am completely guilty of this. Although I do not have any children of my own, part of the reason is the fear; fear of being fat and fear of not being able to get the weight off. I was already scared and nervous about becoming pregnant because of the sickness, emotional roller-coasters and scary deliver process, that when I became aware of how unhappy women were with their pregnant body I was easily influenced.

    I have always thought of pregnancy as a beautiful experience. I sometimes imagine myself pregnant and singing my favorite love songs to my unborn child (my pregnant belly). For some reason, the beautiful aspect gets overlooked by the fear of being fat. I really did not realize how serious this was. Am I thinking too deeply about being fat while being pregnant? At least I will look fat for a beautiful reason right?

    Although I am not completely over my fear of appearing fat while pregnant, I do have something to think about and a new opinion to take into consideration.

    Great article as usual. Such a powerful human being!

  40. I don’t have any kids of my own, but admire women that are pregnant. They have a special glow to them. One of my cousins was pregnant and they would often tell her, “WOW, you’re fat.” Her response was, ” this is an accepted fat i am pregnant and hope to get bigger.” It’s a blessing to be able to have kids that means a healthy fetus is developing inside your body. There are many women who would love to be pregnant and are not able to. Yet, those women that are pregnant taking things as a misery?????

  41. My best friend’s sister is now 12 weeks pregnant and she thinks she looks fat. “YOUR PREGNANT”, I want to tell her, but I understand it’s a sensitive issue. Before she found out she was pregnant, she could not wait to have a child. Her and her husband had been trying for years, and now that she is pregnant, it seems that she is unhappy about herself. I know that she isn’t unhappy about having a baby, but that she’s unhappy with her growing belly. But a growing belly signifies health and life inside of you when you are pregnant. I think that it is so sad that women are ashamed of their baby bump, and it’s all because of images in the media. Any time a celebrity has a little bump they automatically assume that she is pregnant and if the celebrity is pregnant, all the media is talking about is how is she going to lose the baby weight. I don’t think it is right to focus on how much weight these new moms have lost after giving birth last week, they are already going through enough stress and confusion with how to live their life now with a new baby. I agree that there needs to be more positive images for pregnant women to look at and to help support them during a time where they are unsure of what is taking place in their body. I hope that if I do choose to become a mom, I’ll be happy with my weight gain because it’ll mean I’m bringing healthy life into this world. D.O.

  42. I wish I had read this article while being pregnant and after giving birth to my son I hated how my body looked. I was determent to lose all the extra weight I had gain, and after three years I still carry a couple of extra pounds. I think I have to learn to accept my body, and be thankful that I was able to have a child many women struggle to get pregnant. Reading those entire magazines were super models losing all the baby weight month’s after giving birth does not help other women. I think more realistic issues should be covered in magazine regarding the truth about the process of being pregnant and giving birth. Then more women can relate and comfort each other with pregnancy, and motherhood.

  43. I agree that mothers do not speak about how they feel fat when pregnant. I have been around a lot of pregnant women and actually have never heard anyone say the words “fat” but surely imply it. I do think pregnant women should feel like they have an outlet to speak about the way they are feeling. We are all so worried about our body image that we take away the beautiful moments in life worrying about these trivial things. Jessica Simpson admitted to gaining 40 pounds during her pregnancy and people are gasping and calling her fat. Not that pregnant women don’t have enough to worry and stress out about, now we should add staying thin on top of it all?

  44. Oh my goodness where do I begin. I am still working on my body from becoming pregnant and giving birth six years ago. In the beginning of my pregnancy about three months into it I felt like I looked fat and not pregnant. Looking at pictures I know see I actually looked great. Right after I would go in and out of diet work out mode continuously felt discouraged fat and disgusting furthermore six years later I now love myself I feel great however I am not going to lie I do feel like there is room for improvement. I have many friends who have had babies and have had a couple surgeries because of the changes their bodies have made. For example I have one friend who is my age, 24, has had two tummy tucks and two breast augmentations. My friends have tried to convince me to look into plastic surgery and although I considered it often I realized that although my body had changed I still look great I might not be skinny but have nice legs and hips haha. We moms need to learn to love ourselves and if we decide to work out and diet let it be for ourselves and our health and not for anyone else.
    Jessica N

  45. Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful stages in a woman’s life. To know that there is a human being that you are giving life to is a wonderful feeling. But what the media has managed to do to pregnancy has changed. Women instead of feeling beautiful and that the bump is completely normal has no changed to feeling fat. Feeling fat about having a having a baby inside your stomach is not what I envision for motherhood. I am no were close to having a child any time soon, but I would not want for the first feeling to have is feeling fat. It is horrible for women to have that sense during their pregnancy. I cannot say that will not occur to me if I ever have children, but I am completely sure it will and I do not want it to. The idea of being fitting back to those jeans before pregnancy is crazy I can never imagine women of being cable of doing such a thing. My fist friend to have her child was when we were both 19. She was terrified of gaining weight. At a young age she struggled with being over weight and gaining extra weight frightened her. Instead she decided to starve herself during her entire pregnancy. Eating apples and crackers was her solution to not gain weight, and in fact she did not. What she did end up with were stretch marks that now she hates more than the probably three pound she gained during her pregnancy. This feeling of fatness should not be sensed in women during their pregnancy, because it is a normal process that occurs and that feeling should not appear.

  46. Pregnancy from an outsider’s point of view seems to be such a beautiful time in your life. I’ve never been pregnant before, but I always admire how amazing pregnant women look as their body grows and changes for the little life growing inside of it. And yet it must be hard to get so big while living in a society that values such little women. It’s a lot like the post said: we give women a false sense of what pregnancy is really like by focusing on women like Gisele Bundchen or Ellen Pompeo who gained a TINY bit of weight during their pregnancies and lost it quickly right after giving birth. The media makes it seem that this is what’s normal for pregnant women and if your pregnancy isn’t like this than yours is wrong. Yet nobody seems to mention the loads of money and time these women spend with a personal trainer and dieting after their pregnancies in order to be “perfect” again. Pregnancy is beautiful in any form; not just physically beautiful, but beautiful because you are a part of nature as you carry your future child inside of you. More women should learn to accept the changes that come with it and all the ups and downs rather than focusing on celebrities’ unrealistic pregnant looks.

  47. I always thought that one of the many perks of being a man was being able to get pregnant. The stretch marks, the food cravings, the mood swings, morning sickness…no thanks. But know that i think about it, it kind of makes me sad that even if I do have kids, I will never feel what it is to watch something grow inside of me, to feel it kick for the first time, to actually bring a child into this world. It’s something that only a woman can now, and it must truly be an amazing experience. I love being a guy, but pregnancy just fascinates me.
    However, if I were a pregnant women, my body would definitely be a huge issue for me. I would obsess over every single pound and every single stretch mark. And afterwards, I know I would spend any second of freedom trying to shed that weight. That being said, I think it’s really important that women realize that this obsession with the body during pregnancy and after child birth is just going to take away from the experience of having just given birth. That little bit of extra weight should be the last thing on their mind.
    It’s also really sad how the media criticizes actresses just a few days after giving birth. Who cares how great Hillary Duff looks just a week after giving birth? How are mothers supposed to feel when they see these movie stars who look amazing within days, and they still have some extra fat on them? Probably like they are tubs of lard. It’s disgusting how the media tries to take away from something as wonderful as giving birth by focusing on the physical aspects of it.

  48. Reading the article on pregnancy and body image was exactly what I needed at the moment. I recently found out I am 5 weeks pregnant with my second child and could not be any happier. But, the thought of gaining weight strikes me every second of my day. I weigh myself everyday hoping I didn’t gain any weight just yet. With my first pregnancy I had gained a total of 60 pounds during the entire 40 weeks. I went from 130lbs to 190lbs, and hated the way I looked everyday of being pregnant. I know I was wrong to think this way, but like the article said, I looked fat, I forgot I was growing another human being in my belly, but all I can focus on was, why do I look this fat and round. With this pregnancy I am planning on eating much more healthier and try to exercise daily so that I wont gain so much weight. I weigh 120 now, and am hoping not to gain anything more that 30 pounds total. I don’t know why, but I am one of those girls who is just obsessed with my weight, and weighing my self every night before bed, and every morning when I wake up is just a bad habit. I have promised myself to getting those books and reading them over summer break, and hope to find myself in a better place with my second pregnancy, not only focusing on my weight but also focusing on the miracle behind it. It is amazing reading this article I have learned I am not the only one who thinks this way, and there are people out there with my same problem.

  49. I totally agree with you as well. It’s so sad how people feel like their fat instead of seeing the true fact of having life living in your belly. As a person people shouldn’t be looking at you as fat but as being wonderful of having a baby, and how beautiful you are. It could be your handsome son or your beautiful daughter. I had friends who would say they were too fat or ugly, and some wouldn’t eat. I do agree as well on the media, media has a great influence upon people especially women. It makes women feel that they need to look one way and not the other, which is being skinny. I myself feel that way which isn’t right. I and others should feel good about our bodies, and not letting anyone else make you feel bad about your body image. Many women have the tendency to feel that way. Your baby should be your life not your body, that baby fat will go away, it should be a blessing for having a living life within you.

  50. I was astonished after reading this article. Pregnant women should always feel beautiful and excited that they will soon be bringing a human being onto this earth. I would hope for them to be full of love, not just for their baby but for themselves as well. Although is it difficult and exhausting to be pregnant, self loathing is never a feeling a pregnant woman should feel. The media expose celebrities as flawless and beautiful pregnant women. Every woman who is pregnant is beautiful, but does not always feel that way. So by having the media portray pregnancy as an easy breezy thing makes it difficult for other pregnant women to be happy and content with themselves. After reading this article, I hope that I do not having these self hatred and insecure feelings about my body, because at the end of the day, all that matters is the health of my child. I would never want to be so obsessed with my figure that I risk the health of my child. Hopefully other pregnant women realize that and won’t go through extreme measures to maintain their figure before pregnancy.

  51. It is shocking for me to believe that body image is an issue even when a female is in the process of harbouring the development of a new life inside of her. How could a woman expect to maintain her normal size while her body is changing to accomodate the development of a human being? If anything I believe pregnancy is an excuse for one to take a leave from the pressures of body image because you have an excuse to eat whatever you want and relax as much as you want because you have the cumbersome burden of carrying a fetus and nobody could object to the cravings of pregnant woman. However after the pregnancy women should not have the idea that they could stop taking care of themselves or give up on their self esteem. It is important that a woman tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle and set some time to exercise and eat well. She must keep in mind that along with the gift of life comes the ugly truth that her body may not be what it used to be before the pregnancy but should strive to be the best she can be in terms of estabilishing a healthy lifestyle for herself and her child.

  52. I have looked at pictures of my mother when she was pregnant with me and she looks so happy. She, however, does mention the different sizes she became when she was pregnant with the three of us. She got the smallest with my oldest sister, a little bigger with my middle sister, and the biggest with me. I don’t believe that my mother’s size affected her like other women’s does but the fact that she mentions it makes me believe that when she was pregnant she did probably have some negative thoughts about the way she looked. I believe that pregnancy is beautiful and that the size you get does not matter. Seeing women pregnant is amazing to me and I can only hope that when I become a mother I can appreciate the beautiful miracle that is my child, accept the fact that bodily changes occur and that i should love myself no matter what.

  53. I’ve heard numerous stories of how beautiful my mother was when she was pregnant with me. When I am shown pictures from her pregnancy, all I see is happiness. Instead of looking at her stomach or her bloated feet, I look at her face, and her smile makes someone look past all the imperfections. She has never told me a sob story of hating her body, only stories of late night snacks and finishing whole boxes of cinnamon flavored pop-tarts. My mother was also born in the 1950’s.
    Today, at 21, a large amount of my friends are having children with images of their pregnant bodies appearing all over social media such as Facebook, and Instagram. One of my friends happens to have the cutest baby i’ve ever seen, in result she recieves quite a number of “likes” on her pictures of her daughter. On the other hand, one day she decided to post a picture of her body, specifically her stomach, and how she’s getting back into shape; this photo did not recieve a single “like”. Instead of everyone talking about how cute her daughter is, the topic of the conversation was now the stretch marks left on her stomach post child.
    Somewhere along the way the beauty in pregnancy has been lost. I do strongly agree media has had a strong influence on women and how they perceive their bodies. But pregnancy is BEAUTIFUL, bringing another life into this world has to be one of the hardest and most fufilling jobs there are.

  54. This issue should be blamed on the media, especially tabloid magazines. Tabloid magazines are constantly following celebrity moms thorough their pregnancy. They may give them great compliments when they are pregnant and fashion magazines have them pose nude by showing off their baby bump. But then tabloid magazines will bring up these women in negative ways by talking about their weight once the baby is born. They talk about how these celebrities lost the baby weight in just a few weeks. Or they depict them for still being overweight. This type of exposure isn’t right. Why do pregnant women need to be thin right after the baby is born or during the pregnancy? This whole pressure of having women looking thin has gone too far. It seems no matter if you are pregnant or not, women must keep their appearance good looking. Pregnant women shouldn’t be targeted to be thin; it isn’t good for the baby and themselves. Women should embrace their bodies. We should all acknowledge the greatness a women’s body can do, and that is making life.

  55. While my Fiancé was pregnant, I remember her saying “I’m fat!!”, after she did not fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans. I would tell her, “don’t worry about it, you’re pregnant”, and of course, she only thought was saying that because I felt I had to. There is tremendous pressure from the media to look a particular way, women who are depicted in the media look nothing like what the average women. Pregnant models are not an exception. Interestingly I found that my fiancé’s OB/GYN was very insistent on her only gaining 25lbs during the entire pregnancy. When she was 6 months along and had gained 22lbs, the DR. placed her on a strict no carbohydrate diet. This devastated her. She spent the rest of her pregnancy counting calories and reading nutrition fact. Though she claims that she was content during her entire pregnancy, I know that she, at least struggled with her appearance.

    It is a shame. I thought that she looked beautiful with her belly and when i told her that, she just assumed that i was saying that because that is what i thought she wanted to hear. These women should feel beautiful, as pregnancy is, itself a beautiful thing.

  56. The only reason women feel ‘fat’ in pregnancy now is that the media tells them they’re supposed to look like toothpicks. So of course when those women get pregnant, they ‘feel fat’.


  57. This topic of body image during pregnancy touches on many important points that are not brought up in day to day life. I think it is incredible how women are made to feel insecure about their weight during pregnancy. The woman is growing and nourishing a future person inside of their belly, of course they are going to get bigger! It is so sad to think that despite this beautiful process that is taking place, our media and images of beauty still manage to make things worse. Women in our society are constantly bombarded with body image ideals, and I think the extent to which this happens really shows when we see pregnant women still worrying that they look fat.

    If women cannot escape scrutiny over their weight during pregnancy, when can they? In my opinion, this problem seems to be perpetuated primarily by pregnant celebrities. We are always seeing celebrities who manage to stay very thin even during their pregnancies, and then magically lose all their pregnancy weight within a matter of weeks after delivery. So when we see something like this on TV, we see it as more of the norm. After we see this over and over again, we wonder what’s wrong with that average woman who isn’t so easily able to lose the baby weight. It’s simply unbelievable how much power something like the media can have on women in our society.

  58. The fact that a new human being is created and brought into this life by a woman and in a woman is fascinating. The fact that women feel in-superior to men is taunting to me. The fact that women are judged for their body images because they have to carry a baby in them for a period of time, than have society judge them is wrong. Only if men were to carry these babies around, and only if society understood the image it leaves on women, to have them look perfect and still carry the baby. Just because you gain a few pounds or even 30 pounds during pregnancy does not make you look any less attractive. Who cares!!! You can always get the weight off, just how you got it on. Pregnancy should do not talked about through the social media because women are already going through so many emotional, physical, and mental changes, and when they see all these celebrities with their bodies after birth or during birth, it makes pregnant women go even more crazy, and leaves a conception in their minds that they should look like that as well. I am a person who watches what I eat, and I like to take care of my body by working out. I know that when I get pregnant I will do everything I can to maintain my body and if I gain weight I will loose the weight. Not because I HAVE to be skinny after giving birth, but because I want to look the way I did before I got pregnant.

  59. This time in my life, I have come to learn a great deal about how we as individuals are encouraged, expected, and enticed to deliver a certain aesthetic standard of beauty within this culture. We are rewarded with specific positive sanctions for befitting such conceptual, idealistic, unrealistic, and stereotypical molds. Many people may agree to say that they at times beat themselves up over these notions. I for one am completely inclusive of this, as this culture is one by which people are making choices dictated by these extreme expectations placed on them. Resulting, as our bodies are not representative or begin to stray away from the strict guidelines we are cultivated to exemplify; commonly we begin to develop deep, negative complexes. In several ways, people may feel like failures in themselves for not falling into these characterizations, which is completely ridiculous. Without extreme emphases on physical beauty, people would not go out of their way to feel alienated by sheer notion of falling short of its standards. Pregnancy is such a critical, definitive, pivotal, and monumental moment in a woman’s world, by which she should never be subject to feeling any less of a woman because her body is changing. Instead, she should revel in the empowerment of such an ephemeral time, love herself, knowing that she is sustaining life within, nourishing her mind, body, and soul as being better to herself always, she can bring her child into this world with positivity and a clear mind.

  60. Personally, i never look at a pregnant woman and think “Ew, she is so fat! Gross!” It’s only natural and healthy to gain weight while pregnant There is absolutely nothing wrong with weight gain during pregnancy! True, many dislike their distorted body image while they are pregnant. Thanks to the media and other social factors women think they must always look skinny, be fit, and contain a positive body image. I don’t blame you for feeling isolated, alone and unhappy with your body image. Not only do women have raging hormones during this time(which may cause them to feel fat and ugly & emotional) but now they are also being judged on their appearance while pregnant? That’s ridiculous. Women are constantly being critiqued and criticized on their body image. Instead, women must focus on the beauty of carrying a child, they should not have to worry about their appearance in regards to weight gain.

  61. It is amazing how much society’s ideal of beauty of having to be skinny, tall and look like a super model has affected numerous women’s self-esteem, distorting their own idea of beauty to match up with the media’s. Sadly, media’s idea of beauty tends to interfere with a woman’s own happiness when she undergoes the pregnancy process. While I, along with many others, see pregnancy as this amazing miracle, unfortunately, not all pregnant women see it the same way. It is incredibly sad that the media takes away the excitement and happiness that a woman should feel knowing that they are bringing another human being into this world. It is horrible that someone who is bringing another life into this world hates how she looks and becomes extremely insecure that she is now ugly because she does not belong into the skinny category any longer. Giving birth is seen as a miraculous occurrence, one should not be ashamed or embarrassed. The media needs to start broadening their horizons of what beautiful actually means to help boast people’s self-esteem instead of looking at it with such a limited point of view.

  62. I have never looked at a pregnant woman and thought she looked fat. I have always thought they looked beautiful and were lucky. I can’t wait to experience pregnancy. It seems like such an amazing experience. I do think about how big I might get and how I will loose the weight after but I really don’t think I will be unhappy with how I look while I am pregnant. I will just be so excited. I feel bad that some women feel gross and ugly when they are pregnant. It is defiantly because of how society values thinness. All pregnant women should read that book and do whatever they can to fix their self image. Pregnancy should be a wonderful experience and not ruined by negative self image.

  63. Agreed. Pregnant woman should feel beautiful, excited and love themselves more than ever when they are pregnant. They should feel this way because they are carrying a life inside of them. Yes, at times being pregnant must be unbearable but never should a woman feel ugly.

    The media makes being pregnant seem like a just another phase that the celebrity is going through. Personally I don’t understand how a baby could possibly be born healthy when the mom weighs 115 pounds. And then 2 weeks after her pregnancy she goes back to her regular weight of 100 pounds. It’s ridiculous. Pregnant woman have cravings and must gain weight for the baby to be healthy.

    I always wonder how much weight I will gain when I get pregnant and if I could ever lose all that weight but I would never purposely refuse to have children because I will “lose my body.” Giving birth is a woman’s gift and all women must take advantage of it and love the feeling of it all 9 months. Also, I hope to remember to read “Does this pregnancy make me look fat?” when I’m pregnant and I will definitely recommend it to others so it can help them with their pregnancy journey.

  64. Although the birthing process should be viewed as a natural and beautiful process of life, I too have noticed that the media instills so many portrayals of the “perfect woman” that it taints the image of the pregnant woman. Moreover, my sister is about four months pregnant and I have already heard about her yearning for her old body. It was sad to know that instead of embracing her new body, she has a negative outlook on her baby bump. Soon after, my parents would comfort her by insisting that this phenomenon is one that should be looked upon with joy and embracement, not pessimism and discomfort. The childbearing process is a very difficult one and it is sad to see that instead of comforting these women who are responsible for life, the media is dictating patriarchal standards that are extremely unrealistic. Everyday people must go to the most severe measures, such as plastic surgery, in order to keep up with the standards that the media portrays. What happened to loving the imperfections in individuals that made them so unique? I hope I can convince my sister that, although extremely difficult, the process she is going through is one that she should embrace, for it only comes by a few times in life. Furthermore, I understand that it must be difficult for her to cope with a new physique, especially since it is her first time being pregnant, but once she grows accustomed to the changes I am certain that she can look past the impractical expectations of the media.

  65. I think it is amazing how one can create life and bring a baby into this world. I too fear the weight gain, self-esteem, and how my sexuality will change once I have a baby. I have always thought about being a mother but to go to the 9 month process really scares me. I have always been petite, slim body and I fear that once I get pregnant I will go to a size 26 like Ellen Pompeo. I really think that if you are just thrown out there into a pregnancy with no help or sources to assist you then you feel feel alone. I think it is wonderful that there is a book out there that can assist us and get us ready for motherhood. I plan on working out while pregnant just to ease my stress over the weight gain. I have a feeling that once I get pregnant, I will always say I am fat because my body is changing.

  66. I’m trying to recall how I felt exactly being. I was very young when I had my first baby, so I can’t say my body image was an issue, but emotionally I was very scared and confused being responsible for another person. My second child I still didn’t go through that phase and I usually lost what small amount of weight I did have very fast. My third and last child I did kind of feel that way but towards the end I really got big, my son was a big baby , you never know that now. I weighed about 200 pounds by time I had him and I did look like a whale especially since my feet swelled so bad I couldn’t walk on them. I was only 23 or 24 but my image wasn’t really to much of a concern up until the end even though I did feel good right before I had him, but after I had him is when I didn’t feel as good about my life or myself. It took me a whole year to drop that weight as I came out at the end in a size 6. I then changed and felt better again. I guess being as young as I was I would have liked to have embraced a fuller experience as a grown woman is able to when she’s pregnant. I just think its really important for women to love themselves even more when having a baby and to hell with what others say. People are to fixated on how much weight there going to gain, instead of the health and how you feel internally.

    As a woman you actually drop weight naturally when breastfeeding and a person can always work out after and lose it. I know its hurtful when people have comments but its a new experience. I just think its more important to focus on how your mentally and emotionally feel rather than how you look, when women are feeling really good when their pregnant, they glow and people can see your beauty and so can your baby.

  67. I have to say that as a mother of three each of my experiences with pregnancy were different. The first one was the most difficult. Even though I loved feeling my child grow inside me I gained 50 lbs and felt FAT from about month 4 until the end. What was even harder was realizing that after the baby was born…I WAS STILL FAT! It took 2.5 years to get close to pre-baby weight, but my old clothes still didn’t fit the same. During my second pregnancy I took better care of myself. I ate better foods and exercised. Gained only 24 lbs and felt so much better not only throughout my whole pregnancy, but after as well. By the time my third pregnancy came along I was able to totally relax and just enjoy being pregnant. I eat well most of the time, but still gave into those late night cravings for ice cream and did not feel guilty about it.

    I attribute my difficult time with body image and pregnancy in general were do to several factors:
    1. I did not know what to expect
    2. I was young and subscribed to the thin, model like image most young women do. Pregnancy took that away from me.
    3. Lack of contact and support from other pregnant women or new moms

    I agree that it takes educating to get a better mind set, but how do we do that?


  68. I completely agree with the way media distorts the image of pregnant women, and what it is like to “bounce back” to ones body after a pregnancy. Images of celebrities and movie stars who have “bounced back” after the weight gain of a pregnancy have brought lots of pressure on the average woman today. Pregnant woman are constantly being bombarded with these images everyday, affecting their self esteem and raises unrealistic expectations of what their body is supposed to look like.

    It is necessary that at this time, a woman has the constant support and reinforcement to understand that the process of pregnancy is an arduous but beautiful and rewarding experience. The struggle of accepting the changes of the body may undermine a woman’s experience, which is why I agree that it is important for women to look towards positive reinforcing outlets or people in their lives who can change the distorted view that media feeds them.

  69. i completely agree with you! it is insane how the mass media portrays being fat in such a negative connotation that even a woman undergoing pregnancy has to feel insecure and simply ugly. the media puts up pictures of celebrities and celebrates them for their small bellies and this makes normal women feel like they can never be able to measure up, leaving them depressed about their new body image. the whole focus is how to lose weight where according to melanie and me, the focus should be the beautiful child that is about to join the world and the “miraculous process” that they are undergoing. i am also glad that there are books such as Mysko’s book thats goal is to help women feel beautiful again during their pregnancy and after

  70. Wow…I never knew women seriously felt like this while going through pregnancy. To be worrying and stressing out about putting on weight (which is HEALTHY for the the baby) instead of focusing on the fact that you’re bringing a life to this world is a pretty disturbing thought when you sit down and think about it. What’s more important, the baby’s health and well being or not being able to fit in your favorite jeans?

    I’m definitely bookmarking this page for my future baby’s momma. Thank you for sharing!

  71. I am a single mother and throughout my pregnancy I not only felt fat and dis-proportioned, I was having this baby alone. I had aunts, and cousins who reassured me that I was beautiful and that my creation is beautiful in itself. Blah blah blah is all I heard and couldn’t feel beautiful because I was doing this pregnant thing on my own. The hormonal changes, the cravings, the weight gain, all the while looking at my thin cousins getting ready to go out to dance, did nothing for my self-esteem. Looking at those dam celebrities look so happy and wonderful while pregnant and postpartum made me feel more horrible inside. I’m sorry bad mommy police, but my pregnancy wasn’t enjoyable for me at all. I was not happy and I was not overjoyed, I was miserable. Don’t get me wrong I loved every inch of my baby girl and would die for her, but I just wasn’t excited about the weight gain or the feeling being bigger than ever before. If I ever decide to have another child, I will definitely seek the book, “Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?”

  72. I work doing clerical work for outreach counselors who are predominantly woman and are starting families. I have two bosses who are both pregnant. One of my bosses is an athletic woman, who is used to take care of her body image by watching what she eats and doing exercise daily. She is currently six months pregnant. One day she was going to get her monthly check up to see how her baby is doing and before that, she met with me for lunch. I order pizza and she order a salad, I gave her a slice and she refuse to eat it. She told me that it smelled delicious but that is all she prefers to do, smell it rather than eat it. She felt she was gaining a lot of weight and she could not tolerate gaining more weight because she felt ugly. Another one of my bosses just found out she is three months pregnant. She is happy about that that now she eats what she pleases. I can’t help wondering if when she gets six or more months pregnant, would her concern of weight increases. I feel that the concern of weight gaining during pregnancy is a big deal, but what I feel it is a bigger deal is after pregnancy because your body will never be the same. I know my mother every time she looks at me she says “it was a blessing having you,” but when she changes in the morning and looks in the mirror she says “look what you’ve done to me.” I feel now in days, body image is such a big deal that the concern of a woman’s weight is an issue during her pregnancy and is a bigger issue after her pregnancy.

  73. As I was reading this article before I was finished the first thing that came to my mind were celebrities. When I first open my Internet browser and goes to my homepage, which is Yahoo! There have been multiple times when I see as top news, that a week later or so after giving birth they are back to their hot body that looks even better than before they got pregnant. It is unfortunate that the media brainwashes us and tells us that if we are not skinny we are ugly and pretty much abnormal. I think that as long as we are healthy we should be accepted and respected regardless if we are skinny or not. Our society today in my opinion is very ignorant and I hope that this changes soon. I really hope that many women who are about to expect a child, or who are thinking of expecting a child and even the ones who already had a child come across this article.

  74. First and foremost, this is a truly beautifully written post. I enjoyed reading about your experiences as you progressed along your pregnancy and how there was an unwanted, but needed weight gain for your son to grow. I have to admit that I am personally scared of becoming pregnant, not only because I am not financially stable, but because my body will change. My partner thinks I should not be concerned about what will happen to my body, but then again my partner is a man who will never know what carrying a baby feels like. I have thought about how depressing my pregnancy might be because I will have a distorted self-image of my body. This is saddening now that I stop to read your post and think about all my negative pregnancy fears. I still have not been pregnant at all in my life, but hopefully when I do become pregnant I can refer to your post. This post can assist any pregnant woman in feeling better about themselves. I am glad that you have taken the time to describe your personal experience and feelings. I know when my sister was pregnant, she felt terrible about how her body looked like. The only thing my sister enjoyed about her pregnant body was that her breasts grew a lot and she would overly sexualize her breasts when going out. According to my sister, showing off he breasts made her feel a bit sexy since the rest of her body put on weight that she disliked. Overall, the media plays a major role in how a pregnant woman, and any non- pregnant woman, feels bad about their body image. Our society is stuck on how women should be thin in order to be beautiful by society’s standards. Then again, there is a quote: “Real women have curves” which when analyzing can be harmful. This quote can make thin or petite women without curves feel like they are not “real women.” It is a vicious cycle that keeps women feeling bad about their body, unlike men who are not as highly criticized for their bodies. This is the patriarchal society we live in which women’s bodies are criticized constantly. But through speaking out on posts like this one it can open the path towards changing this destructive criticism from oneself and society.

  75. Before reading this I was completely unaware of how emotionally draining pregnancy can be. I always thought pregnancy meat that a woman would always be in a cheery mood knowing that a bundle of joy was growing inside her. I also always believed that all women dealt with their weight gain in a graceful manner. I find it incredibly sad that society does not cut us women a break even when it comes to pregnancy. It is a full time job to keep up with societies ideals of perfection when we are in a normal state but for society to ask of us women to stay perfect in the midst of pregnancy it enough to make anyone crazy. Pregnancy alone is hard enough with all those hormones doing funny things women shouldn’t be expected to not gain weight that is what is needed for a baby to grow and develop. Although I’ve never been pregnant myself I know what its like to feel insecure about the way I look. I can only hope that in the future when I go through pregnancy I am able to deal with the pressure to be skinny with the right tools and optimism so I won’t be so overwhelmed.

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