It's no secret that the desire to live up to society’s image
(and especially Hollywood's image) of a glamorous, desirable, and sexy body has plunged many women into anorexic territory. Now, there is a growing trend that has a certain group of women–pregnant women, that is–going to Herculean efforts to gain as little weight as possible during the nine months of developing another human being.
The trend is called “Mommyrexia” and is attributed to some of the A-list Hollywood celebrities who gained shockingly little weight during pregnancy and kept their skinny figures. Victoria Beckham, Rachel Zoe, Avanka Trump, and Bethany Frankel were quick to show off their barely discernable pregnant bellies at events and photo shoots. While most of us are conditioned to expect celebrities will always look thin and fabulous no matter what, many expectant women still feel insecure when they compare their bodies to the stars’.
Who are the most likely victims of mommyrexia?
According to Isaac Hershkopf, a Manhattan psychiatrist who treats celebrities with eating disorders
, “Women whose beauty is part of their allure, women who are frightened about losing their husband's attention. You do see women–and it's a vicious cycle–who are worried about losing their husbands, and will ignore the baby and even come to resent the baby.” Hershkopf goes on to say that now mommyrexia has trickled down from Hollywood to mainstream women, especially wealthy ones. Powerful professional women pressure themselves into not only gaining a scant amount of weight
but also bouncing back to their fighting weight -sometimes mere days after delivery. Forget about squeezing into maternity Spanx. These moms are willing to starve and exercise themselves skinny at almost any cost.They become obsessed.
They take their babies out for a walk in the park and see skinny moms everywhere they look. In their eyes, these women look perfect. The result is that these new moms put ridiculous expectations on themselves to look the same way.
The same pressure is felt during pregnancy, too. It's not uncommon to see women in their eighth month working out at the gym with their own personal trainer. One woman's abdominal muscles became so strong from workouts, her gynecologist had a hard time slicing through during a C-section.Misplaced priorities?
Most women who have gone through nine months of pregnancy with a “normal” weight gain, and then took time to lose it slowly and consistently may very well find all of this ludicrous. Not only that, they may be thinking that if they could have afforded the luxuries that come with a fancy lifestyle - such as physical trainers, a private chef, and daily yoga -perhaps they would have been able to keep their weight to a minimum and bounced back into pre-baby shape a lot sooner. What’s really important here is that at the end of nine months you’re left with a strong, healthy baby and
Growing and developing a new tiny person requires sound nutrition and gaining up to 35 pounds for most women. By celebrating women who keep their baby bump barely perceptible and look stick-thin just weeks after giving birth, we’re simply reinforcing the unhealthy attitudes that place physical appearance as the most important thing in life.