• Sun, Aug 19 2012

Moms Shouldn’t Look To Celebrities As Role Models For Baby Weight Loss

Jessica SimpsonNew mothers have been feeling a lot of stress lately. I mean, outside from the stress of caring for a newborn, trying to breastfeed, getting no sleep and listening to the most stressful sound in the universe. (That would be a baby crying.) Aside from that whole idea of keeping another human being alive that depends solely on you, there’s a new pressure facing new moms. That’s the pressure to lose all that baby weight almost immediately after giving birth.

It used to be that moms all had a friend of a friend who left the hospital in their pre-pregnancy jeans. We talked about that random lady in hushed tones, annoyed with her for possibly existing and making the rest of us feel bad. We rolled our eyes at the idea of that lady, even as we packed our pregnancy yoga pants into our hospital bag. Sure, losing the baby weight was a thought back then, but it wasn’t a huge concern. It was something you worried about once your little one’s first birthday rolled around.

Now, the pressure to lose baby weight immediately has hit an all-time high. Celebrities are partnering with Weight Watchers before they even give birth. Models are walking the runway weeks after delivery. Tabloids are shoving pictures of “Post Baby Bikini Bodies” down our throats from the supermarket aisles every week. We’re decided that losing the baby weight is basically a mandate for new moms in their first couple of months.

And oddly enough, one of the women responsible for that shift in mommy culture is now lamenting it’s influence. In the pages of the New York Times today, Janice Min asked, “Can a Mom Get a Break?” Min, a previous editor for US Weekly and their constant new mommy gossip coverage, is a new mom herself. She, like many other moms, is having a hard time dropping the pounds as quickly as she’d like. She’s realizing that all those immediately svelte mothers that her magazine was covering weren’t exactly the norm. She describes the new pressure like this:

“You see, in today’s celebrity narrative, just two kinds of desirable maternal female physiques exist: the adorable gestating one (with bellies called “bumps”) and its follow-up, the body that boomerangs back from birth possibly even better than before. Me? I’m currently stranded on an island like the one on “Lost,” only this one is inhabited exclusively by still-pudgy moms struggling to find their way back.”

That island is not alone. There are a whole lot of mothers who are there, feeling like they’re failing to meet the new expectations.

Min seems to want to undo some of the cultural changes her own work helped usher in. She wonders how to tear down “our ideal of this near-emaciated, sexy and well-dressed Frankenmom we’ve created.” I think that the only way we’re going to achieve that is to stop holding up those rare “friend of a friend” moms as if they are the ideal. We have to stop harping on celebrity moms and analyzing every postpartum moment. We need tabloids, like Min’s current employer The Hollywood Reporter, to stop sensationalizing one woman and her baby weight loss.

Even while decrying the intense pressure moms are under, Min seems unable to let go of the celebrity ideal. She qualifies, “We all can learn a little from people whose profession is to be attractive. If our livelihood depended on wearing a swimsuit in front of millions, we’d probably put down the doughnut too.” But the fact is that most of us aren’t getting paid to wear a size zero, and yet we’re still feeling the same pressure. We’re allowing models and actresses to dictate how the rest of us are expected to behave.

Moms spend years explaining to their children that celebrities aren’t role models. We tell our girls that the Katy Perry’s of the world shouldn’t be their inspiration. We direct them towards everyday girls who use their intelligence and independence to make a difference. Maybe moms need to listen to their ow advice.

Moms need to stop looking up to celebrities. We need to stop assuming that they can be our role models, as mothers or as women.

(Photo: WENN)

Share This Post:
  • C.J.

    New mom’s need to understand that many celebrity mom’s have nanny’s to watch the baby while they go see their personal trainers after the eat their lunch prepared by a certified nutritionist. Not to say that being a celebrity mom isn’t just as hard but I’m sure it is very different. They are very pressured to lose the weight immediately. Just because celebrities are pressured to lose the weight right away (not that I agree with that expectation) doesn’t mean it is a reasonable expectation for everone else, we don’t have the same resources. If a mom doesn’t lose the weight right away, doesn’t breastfeed successfully, doesn’t co-sleep or does co-sleep, lets their baby cry for 5 seconds, let’s their child wear a tank top, has their child in too many activities, has their child in not enough activities, you get my point, then there must be something wrong with them. It is just terrible how much mom’s (dad’s too sometimes) are being judged for every little thing they do. Then we wonder why new mom’s feel so pressured to look like the celebrities. They are being judged about everything else they do and then hear on tv – oh look, so and so still hasn’t lost that last 5 ponds and her baby is already a month old. I am so glad I stopped having kids 7 years ago. I don’t know how new mom’s can handle all the judgement and pressure surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and babyhood that there is now. Nobody is perfect, I don’t know why we expect everyone else to be. I really hope new mom’s start to realize that they only thing that is important is that they brought a wonderful new little life into the world. Follow your own instincts and do what is best for you and your family and everthing else will work it’s self out in time.

  • lawcat

    I’ve never understood this. Do people not get that those images are photoshopped? Or that a celebrity’s paycheck generally hinges on their image, so they have pressure from the industry and those who also rely on them to lose baby weight faster?

  • Pingback: Maggie Gyllenhaal Is Not A Judgemental Mom.

  • Pingback: Jane Fonda Wants To Teach Your Teen About Sex