Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Pregnancy Myth

Congratulations to Jessica Simpson on the birth of her baby girl!

Does anybody else think that the media treated Jessica unfairly in regards to her pregnancy weight gain?  I mean, the girl is 5'3".  Even if she hadn't been carrying the spawn of a football player, she still would have wound up looking like a Weeble--and what's wrong with that?

I think the problem is the media itself.

When I was pregnant, I gained at least as much as Jessica Simpson did--probably more, considering that I'm five and a half inches taller than she is and I spent the last 5 months on modified bed rest.  Here I am right before checking in to the hospital:

Very windy day, but I've got no excuse for my expression.

They look like they could pop...in three months.
The thing is, I don't think people really understand what a pregnant person looks like.  Movies and TV shows strap a little pillow to the front of a stick-thin actress and call her 8 months along.  Of course, I don't expect the actresses to gain weight for these roles (the horror!), but maybe they could pad them up in other areas as well.  News flash:  when you're pregnant, most women gain weight all over, not just in their midsections.

Oh, sure, there are some women who get pregnant and look like they're smuggling a basketball.  It happens.  Those women are very fortunate, but they are in the minority.

I remember when I was incubating The Kid and the movie Knocked Up came out.  I loved the movie, but left feeling really self-conscious and disappointed.  At the end, when she's supposed to be 9 months pregnant, she looked like me when I was about six months pregnant.  In fact, I remember reading that Katherine Heigl was actually asked to lose weight for that role.  WTF? 

As a service to men and women out there who want to know what a real-life woman looks like at various stages of pregnancy, here is a series of photos I took while I was pregnant, from 13 to 37 weeks:

Right-click and open in a new tab/window to zoom--this chart is pretty big

No, I wasn't pregnant with twins.  Just one 8 lb. baby boy and lots of water weight.  See how my face blew up?  That's what happens.  I'm not saying that I represent every woman, but I think my pregnancy was pretty average, as far as weight gain goes. 

I can't remember the last time I watched a movie or TV show with a pregnant woman in it who looked like she was actually carrying a baby.

Yeah, I get it, it's Hollywood and all--but it skews reality.  Now, when the general public sees someone like Jessica Simpson pregnant, everyone looks at her and thinks that something is wrong with her weight gain because they're not used to seeing real-life pregnant women.  That's messed up.

I guess I just wish that movies and TV would start showing more realistic representations of pregnancy so that maybe real-life pregnant women wouldn't be made to feel bad about their bodies.  Growing a baby is hard enough without adding body image issues into the mix.

Let the knocked up ladies eat their weird foods and stop telling them they're too fat.  Unless you want a kick in the head...or groin, depending on how high she can lift her leg.  And she'll do it, trust me.  I've been her.
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