Beyonce’s pregnant belly is everywhere. Mariah Carey won’t stop showing off her twins and now Jessica Simpson (finally) announced on Halloween that she’s going to be a “mummy.” With celebs carting their new babies around like expensive handbags and tabloids touting pregnant bellies as the latest trend, it would seem like pregnancy is as easy as getting dressed for an awards show.
It’s not. And despite how good Beyonce looks or how skinny Heidi Klum is, pregnancy isn’t that pretty either.
For those of us without stylists and designer maternity brands begging us to shill their expensive clothes, pregnancy can get dowdy, fussy and downright painful. Even women who loved being pregnant will tell you about the days they didn’t put on pants because nothing fit, the shooting pelvic pain that confined them to the couch and their ugliest shoes, the cellulite, the stretch marks and having to wear pads in their undies because there was leaking down there. Ew you say? Well, that’s the reality of pregnancy. And it’s a reality that I wish celebrities would be honest about.
The unrealistic expectations of pregnancy set by celebrities causes women to feel ashamed of the flab, the bulge and budge that are a normal part of having a child. According to New York Magazine, when you combine our celeb-obsessed culture with our cultural struggle with our waistlines you have a problem. “Toss into this roiling mix the Atkins and South Beach diets—the latest devotionals in New York’s Church of Divine Diminishment—and you’ve got a freshly-minted group neurosis. You’ve also got an unnerving question: Are women starving their babies by starving themselves?”
Let’s get real. Heidi Klum talks about baby weight just dropping off, and while mine did too (I’m even down 7 pounds from where I was before), the reality is nothing fits right. Jeans sag in places they used to bulge and bulge in places I never had before.
Angelina Jolie walks around in a bikini after having twins and, while I don’t doubt she can get her stomach back (with the help of a fleet of personal trainers), it’s never going to be the same. Pretending otherwise is just false marketing. I was lucky enough not to get stretch marks and my stomach still looks like pockmarked flubber and that’s seven months out, one half-marathon and a million sit ups later. A friend of mine who is a personal trainer and ran a marathon three months after giving birth admits that she’s got a pile of skin that flops over her size four jeans when she sits down.
You don’t see Denise Richards pretending marriage is a breeze or Jessica Alba talking about how high school was a cinch, so why, when it comes to pregnancies, do celebrities feel the need to airbrush the stretch marks and deny all knowledge of cankles?
Pregnancy is such a personal journey, consisting of a woman, her body and the baby and while other people are involved—family, doctors, spouses—no one knows the intimate uglies of and joys of the experience more than you. And while it may be many things—exciting, scary, elating, downright exhausting—glamorous is not one of them.
The best thing Beyonce can do after she gives birth is to let us see her with a post-partum belly that looks like she might be hiding another baby in there. Then, admit that her butt will probably never be the same.
About the Author:
Lyz Lenz is a writer, a mom and a midwesterner. Although, not in that order. She lives in Iowa and on the web at LyzLenz.com