Celebrity mothers can make ordinary mothers feel inadequate and unworthy, a University of Melbourne study has found.
Dr Christina Malatzky spoke with 29 women (mothers and non mothers) from Western Australia about the concept of “yummy mummies” and how they intersect with their own ideas of motherhood.
One participant, Susannah explained to the researcher how “impeccable” celebrity mums presented in the media impacted on her ideas of motherhood.
“If you see a celebrity pregnant one day, you know within two months [after giving birth] they’re down to size 0…[it] does have an effect on people because you don’t see a celebrity slopping in their leggings, with greasy hair, and their moccasins on. They’re impeccable,” she said in the study.
The 32-year-old said she was especially conscious of her body after delivering a stillborn because she wanted it to return to normal – as soon as possible – but she was also distressed that physically it was like the pregnancy and birth had “never happened”.
Mum of three, Freya, 30, told Dr Malatzky there was pressure for mothers to look like they’ve never had children.
In the study another mum, Jennifer, 31, said she struggled for many years to accept her body after having two children.
The 31-year-old said it was disabling to realise that her body is was “never going to be exactly the same” when the mainstream motherhood message is that “you can do it”.