‘Mommyrexia’: When Mommies Go Anorexic

I’ll admit it: I’m totally obsessed with Victoria Beckham‘s pregnancy bump – like the fact that you pretty much need a magnifying glass to see it despite the fact that she’s due to give birth in less than three weeks. Ditto celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, who went from being all skeleton-like, pre-pregnancy, to looking fabulous (i.e., normal) while pregs, and then back to total waif mere weeks after giving birth to little baby Skyler back in March.

Turns out I’m not alone in my observations. A recent article in The New York Post, “Mommyrexia Takes Manhattan,” looks at New York women’s obsession with being thin – even while pregnant. The piece mentions celebrities like Beckham and Zoe, as well as a tiny and pregnant Ivanka Trump, but also at everyday neurotic New Yorkers (are there any other kind?).

They speak to “Karen,” for example, a mother who worked out so much during her pregnancy that her doctor struggled to slice through her core muscles during her C-section (and yet she was horrified about going from an extra-small to a medium while pregs). And Bryce Gruber, a 27-year-old who says she’s heard of women opting to skip breastfeeding altogether so that their schedules are free for spin class, hot yoga and long jogs through the park. “I actually knew of a mom that was skipping meals and drinking a ton of diet sodas for energy without the calories after her baby was born,” Gruber tells the Post.

The article dubs these women “mommyrexics,” which they define as a new breed of moms pressuring themselves to bounce back to fighting weight days after they’ve left the hospital.

Of course, none of this is all that surprising. Disturbing, sure, but is anyone truly shocked? There is so much pressure for women in general to be thin and gorgeous. And so when a woman actually looks normal – i.e., healthy – it’s often perceived to mean she’s given up or stopped caring.

Case in point: Pink recently took her five-day-old baby girl (Willow Sage) to the beach. The Paparazzi snapped a photo of her looking totally appropriate for someone who had given birth five days prior (as in, she still had a belly and wasn’t yet stick thin). The response? A disturbingly high number of people making comments such as: “Oh wow!! She does NOT look good. I am so shocked that she lost NONE of the weight since delivering.” (This is five days postpartum, people!)


(Photo: rachelzoe.com)

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  • ALS

    This is sick, sick and wrong. I’m currently 8 months pregnant. I wasn’t stick thin before pregnancy and I know I won’t be after. I’ve definitely gained weight during pregnancy, nothing unhealthy and I have been eating super healthy (with the occasional ice cream) during my pregnancy. I’m proud of my bump and I know my baby is healthy and getting all he needs. That’s all that should matter to someone who’s pregnant. If you are so concerned with your weight that you are depriving your baby of things it needs during and after pregnancy (if breastfeeding) you have no right to have a child. It’s just selfish.

  • Kate

    I loved seeing that picture of Pink! It was so nice to see a celebrity mom out and about looking like a “normal” new mom.

  • Meh

    Call me crazy, but I think people have the right to do be whatever weight they want, so long as they’re healthy. I know a LOT of women who have used their pregnancy as an excuse to shove anything they want into their mouths, and it resulted in weight gain that they NEVER lost after the baby, resulting in heart disease and increased pressure on joints.

    And I think, too, that the choice to breastfeed or not is entirely up to an individual.

    Lots of judgment here. Not sure I like it.

  • GMV

    So if all the women in Hollywood jump off a bridge, would you do it too?

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  • ilovecookies

    I have never heard someone saying a woman looks bad when she is normal. Maybe when she is actually flabby and gross, yes.