Friday, 27 March 2009
Posted by Sarah Pellew
I watched a tv programme last night about pregnancy and the weight women put on during this time. It was presented by Louise Redknapp, wife of footballer, Jamie Redknapp. At the time of filming she was 8 months pregnant with her second son and glowingly beautiful.
She was, however, worried about the weight she had put on - 35 pounds. She obviously was feeling the pressure of being a celebrity mum to be, and all that entails. Apparently the current trend is to be skinny during pregnancy if possible, but failing that, to lose all pregnancy weight very rapidly after the baby is born.She seemed to be torn between her sensible head, wanting to be healthy, and the pressure to be thin. She was admirably honest throughout the whole programme - reflecting the dilemma faced by many women in the Western world today.
As a woman who is 5' and put on 5 stone or 70lb during my first pregnancy,I found the thought of such folly fascinating.During my second pregnancy I didn't bother with the whole weighing thing.I knew that I was healthy, my babies were healthy and that, in time, I would get back to my normal weight and size. The last thing I was going to worry about was whether I could fit into my jeans after 2 weeks!!I couldn't get my jeans over my knees after 2 months....
As I watched the documentary I was appalled to see a woman who had opted for the "Mommy Makeover" - a 10 hour operation which included liposuction to arms, back, belly, waist and legs, a tummy tuck, breast reduction and Goodness knows what else. There was footage of huge lumps of this woman's abdomen being removed. Hideous.
To give her her due Louise Redknapp was equally dismayed by the procedure and did all she could to promote the idea that pregnancy is a wonderful, natural thing that should not be marred by this obsession with body image, but her own worries, honestly portrayed, really showed how much she cared about what people thought of her and her figure. Photographs in a glossy mag showed her at 8months pregnant, looking gorgeous but being described as "massive".Of course, I don't have a job that entails modelling lingerie, but maybe if we saw more "normal" size women in these ads it would be better for all of us. Louise Redknapp is gorgeous and, to be honest, would look lovely whetter she was a size zero or a size 16.In fact, photos of her pregnant and just post natal were more beautiful, if anything, than when she was a size zero.Its just a shame that she, maybe, doesn't think so...
What is wrong with society?Why do people care so much about the external image of a woman and not about the internal beauty? Of course, there is nothing wrong with looking lovely.I do my best to look the best I can, but I would not dream of doing anything that would jeopardise my health or that of my child. Some women featured were suffering from what the progamme termed "Pregnorexia" - starving themselves and thus their unborn babies -to remain tiny. One woman had gained, at 8 and a half months, only 8 and a half pounds... The very thought that women are willing to harm their unborn child in order to look slim and good in clothes is obscene.
Perhaps I am lucky. Yes, I put on lots of weight, but it came off over the years and I am fit and healthy. I never suffered from stretch marks or a saggy belly or boobs. I am happy with "me" and fortunate to feel that way.I know that I have a far from "perfect" body, but I am fine with that. I think that the problem is not a physical one... it is emotional. Women are trying to live up to some impossible ideal, created by airbrushing and dangerous dieting. I remember reading once that one of the actresses on Desperate Housewives said she couldn't remember a time when she wasn't hungry, she was trying so desperately ( pardon the pun) to stay slim. What kind of life is that for anyone?