Celebrity Moms’ Super Fit Bodies Send the Wrong Message

A recent photo of a svelte and fit mom, published after giving birth only four days earlier, sent the blogosphere in an uproar. It was the post-pregnancy body of Norwegian soccer wife and fitness blogger Caroline Berg Eriksen that had women commenting on both sides of the issue.

The photo of Eriksen with a flat-stomach in her bra-and-panties, that she shared with her 245,000 Instagram followers, focused a spotlight on the high expectations the media, and much of the public, have for a woman to bounce back after childbirth.

The idea that Eriksen is a role model had me up in arms. It’s not enough women are encouraged to return to work as soon as possible, but now we are required to look as if we never even had a baby after a mere two, four, or six weeks.
Yahoo’s Parenting website offered this quote from one Australian woman in response to the image, “This is not a selfie. This is an act of war,”

“This whole situation has become ludicrous,” another wrote. “The competition for women to give birth and then immediately remove any trace from their bodies that they ever carried a child is OBSCENE. There is no other word for it.”

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that on Instagram itself, Eriksen’s photo had been “liked” more than 21,000 times, and comments have been overwhelmingly positive; I guess her followers are expected to support her fitness achievements.

In their book, DOES THIS PREGNANCY MAKE ME LOOK FAT? the authors and researchers said people joke that pregnancy is the one time women in our American culture are permitted to eat whatever they want and to gain weight without someone wagging a finger at them. But, that’s not true, they added. Their studies show that women are subjected to constant pressure to eat and weigh as little as possible, despite the effect on self-esteem, mental health, or pregnancies.

In the most severe cases of body image, women may develop a condition called pregorexia, which refers to anorexia in pregnant women, or who recently gave birth. Most have a history of anorexia or bulimia and the typical weight gain may resurrect past eating disorders.

An important takeaway from all of this is for women who find themselves preoccupied with body image, to the point of excessive dieting, to seek help. Our priority needs to be on the developing baby, and maintaining our own health in order to care for that baby after it’s birth.

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~ by ppdsus on December 24, 2013.

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