pregnancy

If pregnancy is a competition, how do you win?

How pregnant are you, really?

No, no, not in terms of weeks or months. Not the fact-y stuff. How pregnant do you look?

Do you have a great big bump? Swollen ankles? Puffy lips? God forbid, are you… pregnant from behind? Like, your bum seems to be growing in line with your bump?

Gross.

You might have heard about a show that dropped this week called Yummy Mummies. It truly is excellent fun. It takes some of the usual reality show schtick – warring women, rampant consumerism – and adds in something else fun: pregnancy body image.

Listen to Mia Freedman, Jessie Stephens and Holly talk about the rules of baby bodies, here. Post continues… 

Actually, really, it is a whole lot of fun, but please, unsuspecting women of the world, do not get this reality show confused with real life.

In the Insta-perfect world of Yummy Mummies, being ‘pregnant from behind’ is a cardinal sin. The stars of the Channel Seven show so far all exhibit the approved body-shape for the stylish expectant mum – slim and toned with a mere basketball-bump disrupting your skin-tight dress. Like maybe you swallowed a watermelon along with your green smoothie and your chia pudding this morning.

There are too many Internet pixels dedicated to dissecting women’s bodies already, so I won’t fling out any more describing these gorgeous examples of womanhood in bloom. But if you are a pregnant, not-yet-pregnant or a may-be-pregnant-one-day woman, there are a few things you might not be seeing on Yummy Mummies that you really need to know:

1. Pregnancy might have become a competition, but you don’t have to play.

If you don’t have an LV nappy bag, a Christian Dior baby bottle and the ability to still walk in heels at 38-weeks, you are not losing. If you do have those things, you are not winning. Or losing. There is not actually a way to “win” at pregnancy. It is the human body’s method of growing a new person and ensuring the succession of the human race, not retail opportunity. Hard to believe, I know.

2. How big your baby bump is is not in your control.

You might be in the ‘swallowed a basketball’ brigade, and if you are, happy days. Baby bump sizes and shapes are varied and many, and there’s nothing less helpful than commenting and comparing them. “But you’re so small!” is every bit as upsetting as “But you’re so big!”

3. For some of us, everything swells. Deal with it.

When Kim Kardashian was pregnant with North West back in 2013, magazines loved to run ever-so-tight close ups of her bloated feet pushed into ever-pointier, ever-more-tightly-laced pairs of improbably high heels. The suggestion was that this was some sort of shame. Some sort of failing. It was messy, out-of-control, something to laugh at. “Kim’s Cankles” became a thing. The message that was missed here is a simple one. If even KIM KARDASHIAN can’t control swollen ankles, with more money to consult more baby experts than any mere mortal could ever hope for, what chance of escaping this does anyone else have?

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4. Sometimes, there’s acne.

Chronic pelvic pain. Crippling back ache. Some people vomit uncontrollably for months. Some people lose weight. That is not a good thing. Are you getting the message? Pregnancy is beyond your control.

5. None of this matters.

How you look when you are pregnant is not the important part. Some people absolutely love those nine months. They have never felt more healthy and powerful and potent and sexy. Some women hate every long, long moment. But none of that matters either, because pregnancy is not the destination. That, as I’m sure you’re aware if you paid any attention in biology class whatsoever, is birthing an actual baby.

That’s right. A baby who has no idea whether it’s drinking out of a Christian Dior bottle. Who has no concept of whether your maternity look was boho or Beckham. They don’t know that their wardrobe is designer, that their pram cost more than your first car, and that you managed to squeeze them out without breaking a nail.

The Yummy Mummies are winning at pregnancy, apparently.(Image via Channel Seven.)

The pressure for pregnant women to be hot, for new mums to be hot, for women to just be hot, hot, hot, all the time, at any age, is not helping any of us.

So enjoy Yummy Mummies for the guilty pleasure that it is, but remember, there's more than one pregnancy body, there's more than one view of a "perfect" mum, and there are millions of ways to be yummy.

As yummy as the ice cream you're likely to be craving sometime.

You can follow Holly on Facebook, here.

Listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here:

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