The good old days…
I don’t miss them much, really. However, once in a great while a trend comes along that just makes me long for the days when it didn’t exist. Do you ever have those moments? Instances when you think that if you were hanging from a cliff and a genie popped up and gave you one wish, you’d actually use it to wish away some ridiculous energy-sucking zeitgeist instead of saving yourself?
For example, have you noticed the trend on so-called “news” sites to post articles and pictures of celebrity post-baby bodies? Beyoncé is the latest celeb to show off her newly trim physique just weeks after giving birth, and the corresponding slideshow offers up at least six other celebrity moms who returned to the land of hot from the land of pre-birth not. In league with these posts are those applauding the “sexy mommas,” famous women who—gasp!—look great even when pregnant.
Am I the only person who finds this kind of insulting? I realize that perhaps this is an attempt to prove that women can be pregnant (translation: fat) and still be beautiful or to celebrate motherhood. The thought is appreciated, but the how of the matter is just not hitting the mark. Quite honestly, I think all pregnant women are beautiful. My daughter literally glowed when she was pregnant with her kids. She didn’t need a Christian Dior gown and make-up to celebrate her baby bump—her mommy-to-be grin did the job just fine. Pregnancy is a very individual journey that doesn’t look or feel the same for every woman, and although it’s nice to see it’s not a forbidden subject anymore, it’s hard to reconcile how the media has chosen to portray it.
I’m not sure what it says about society that we even bombard our pregnant women, not just our teens, with unrealistic body images and health messages. No, it is not healthy to gain too much weight during pregnancy; however, the amount of weight can vary according to body type and size. A good doctor can guide you through a healthy pregnancy and into a fit post-birth lifestyle. Not every woman loses her baby weight immediately after giving birth, and it is important to remember that celebrities can afford the best doctors, the best nutrition, the best stylists, and the best trainers money can buy.
I guess I’m just sensitive because I once had a friend whose family insisted she not gain too much weight during her pregnancy, as none of them ever had. She shouldn’t have listened, but she did and her health suffered to the point she started passing out. Finally, concerned friends convinced her to take care of herself, and both mother and baby did well throughout the rest of the pregnancy.
I’m also thinking about this subject because I’ve been contemplating having a pregnant heroine in one of my stories. I’ve seen it done and done well, and I think that it’s an element that I’d really like to explore. In our writing, we strive for realistic characters that readers can connect with in some way, and so I think it would be a fun and rewarding challenge to give maternity a nod in one of my next capers.
Have you read a book with a pregnant heroine? Did you like it? Please share your experiences!