I found myself completely disgusted yesterday to read about the comments that were made to Giovanna Fletcher (wife to Tom Fletcher from the band McFly) by a complete and utter stranger. Just eleven days after giving birth to her second son, Buddy Bob, a woman approached Giovanna and body shamed her for still having a baby bump! Yes you read right – another woman felt compelled to point, laugh and say “Oh look, Mummy’s still got her tummy!”
Anyone who has welcomed a child into the World will know that, just because your baby is now in your arms, doesn’t mean that your bump is going to magically shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size. And lets face it, why should that even matter?! At eleven days post childbirth, why should any woman be concerned about carrying a little extra weight? I know I wasn’t following the births of my two daughters – I was far too besotted with the little healthy bundles my body had given me to even notice, or care for that matter!
I think what has really stayed with me after reading Giovanna’s story is the fact that such insensitive comments were made by another woman; someone who in my mind should have been supportive, not judgemental. My guess (and it is merely a guess) is that the woman in question, whoever she is, probably hasn’t yet experienced the joys of motherhood. Or she’s an avid follower of celebrity gossip columns and assumes that everyone has the money, time and inclination to hire a personal trainer (as so many celebrities are reported as doing), so that they ‘ping’ back to their pre-pregnancy shape in a week.
Yes I fear that the media (be it newspaper, magazine, TV, internet or social networks) may once again be (partly) responsible for ensuring that some women in today’s society hold an unrealistic perception of body image following childbirth. Of course there will always be exceptions; individuals who are financially comfortable enough to employ a personal trainer and regain their post-pregnancy figure relatively quickly, but for most new Mums this just isn’t an option. The reality is that many women retain a baby bump for a number of weeks, months or in some cases even years after having a baby (and most, who have produced new life, are perfectly OK with that!).
I’m pleased to see that Giovanna has taken a pragmatic approach to motherhood; embracing her post-pregnancy curves and fighting back against this one particular hater, whilst encouraging other women to spread love to each other rather than pointing the finger of judgement. As I, myself, enter my seventh month of pregnancy with my third baby, I am reminded by Giovanna that my bump is an amazing thing; a miracle worker, that produces life. And I’ll always be thankful to it for that!