I found out this week that hashtag ‘#fitmom’ is a thing. Far and wide across Instagram you can find photos of mini bumps, six packs, women working out the morning they give birth, and post pregnancy snaps of ‘bikini ready’ bodies.
#slummymummy is also a thing. You’ll find photos of women shopping in their pyjama bottoms, women drinking wine and women 6 months post-partum who weigh exactly the same as they did 40 weeks pregnant.
These hashtags offer the world a chance to critique pregnant bodies of all shapes and sizes. Behind the anonymity of a computer screen people can comment on women’s lifestyle choices and body shapes. ‘Fitmoms’ are deemed vapid show offs. Slummy mummies are fat slobs with no self control. It’s all part of the same modern shame culture which aims to define how women should look, act and think.
Pregnant bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Isn’t body shaming utterly depressing? The internet makes it so easy. I can’t remember ever feeling concerned about my shape and size growing up in the 80s and early 90s. I wonder how girls these days cope with it all. My single mum brought me up to be confident and strong – I didn’t have anyone telling me I was too fat/too thin/too lazy/too fit.Photographs were few and far between and likely to be a group shot of me and my friends in baggy Soundgarden t shirts. I wasn’t photographing my ‘thigh gap’, ‘muffin top’ or ‘hot dog legs’ and inviting the world to comment. I worry about the 2 girls I’m currently growing. Will they be Youtubing their hair straightening adventures in 15 years time?
So, there’s no escape during pregnancy. I hereby declare that whatever women decide to do with their pregnant bodies is their own choice. If you want to sit around and eat doughnuts, fine. If you want to go to the gym and use your babies as handweights, that’s also fine. Let’s just stop judging one another’s choices.