There may as well be a sad face emoticon included in the title of Daily Mail‘s latest feature about “real women’s” bodies, “What pregnancy did to our bodies: Six brave mothers reveal the toll having a baby has taken on their figures.” We’ve seen this trick before–back when they wrote up a similar story about the average British woman’s weight, but even on the second try, they’re not quite getting it right.
Again, the spirit seems to be positive: Let’s show what really happens to women’s bodies during pregnancy to, you know, provide a counter-balance for the hundreds of articles idealizing celebrities’ bodies they’ve written this month! But in practice, it just looks like a lot of near-naked women in unflattering light being asked to smile really big, then pick apart their own bodies and describe how bad they feel about them.
Natalie Edmonds, a 26-year-old therapist with an 18-month-old son, gets a breif introduction: “She weighs 12st 3lb and is a size 14. She says her stretch marks were the worst her midwife had ever seen.” And Aimee Marshall, 22 and nine months into mommyhood, is described as 9st, a size 8-10, and “devastated by the way her breasts looked after giving birth.” The other moms get similar introductions, all focused on their weight, dress size, and the negative impact of pregnancy and birth on their bodies. Some of them do end on a high note, explaining that they’re generally happy with their bodies (despite the flaws they’ve just cataloged in detail), but the general tone is just pretty…sad.
One connects her body with her breakup and inability to date:
It has affected my confidence. Eadie’s dad and I split up when I was six months pregnant and I’m too embarrassed to even contemplate another physical relationship.
I haven’t been put off having more children but wish I’d been aware of the havoc it would cause my body. Mums-to-be should know that they will never look the same again.
Another says she’s resigned to feeling less attractive and the impact it has on her marriage:
Kevin says I’m still beautiful but it has affected our marriage — I always wear pyjamas in bed. I’ve accepted I’m going to remain this size and I’m learning to live with it.
And even one of the more positive reflections isn’t all that encouraging:
There’s not much opportunity for looking glamorous, but I’m proud of my body. As Mark says if I’m feeling low, my body may be bigger than it used to be, but it’s given us our son.
It’s great to hear about real women instead of celebs, and we’re all for people being honest about their bodies—because most of us don’t feel super sexy all the time, and that’s ok. But the Daily Mail‘s exhibits of “real women” seems to say that if you’re not a celebrity, you should probably be resigned to feeling somewhat crappy about yourself all the time.