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Are We There Yet?

“Pregorexia” and the “Yummy Mummy” syndrome

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

I like to read articles from newspapers outside the United States just to get a different perspective now and then. Yesterday, I ran across this story -- “Yummy mummies fashion dark underbelly” -- in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Unlike previous eras, pregnant women no longer have to stay indoors and hide their big bellies “beneath capacious smocks,” wrote Sue Goodwin and Kate Huppatz, who teach in the field of education and social work. Pregnant women are now viewed as beautiful and sometimes sexually attractive, they wrote.

“It is now more acceptable for women to invest more time in themselves. Martyrdom is not as chic as it used to be. It's OK to take time out for a manicure, a spa treatment, shopping or an exercise class. All of this means that women do not necessarily lose their former selves upon having children - motherhood is no longer only about being devoted to your family.”

But there’s a negative to all this, they pointed out. Some women, as a result, now suffer from “pregorexia,” the desire to stay thin during pregnancy. Some mothers also feel compelled to undergo cosmetic surgery to get rid of stretch marks and other effects of pregnancy.

“Both of these trends demonstrate how the idealisation of youthfulness has crossed into the maternal realm - women are expected to appear skinny and toned whatever their age and whether they've had children or not,” the authors wrote.

As liberated as I try to be from all the social pressures out there, I remember how horrified I was to gain 50 pounds during both my pregnancies. It wasn’t just because I was uncomfortable; I also was sad about looking like a blob.

Moms: Did you feel this pressure during pregnancy or soon after? Can you at all relate to the “Yummy Mummy” syndrome?

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