Mommyrexia: Growing Trend or Trendy Term?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Currently pregnant with my third child, I know what it's like to struggle with all of the changes a pregnant woman's body goes through.  It can be hard to see your belly expanding in ways you never though possible, and dealing with other "fun" side effects like varicose veins, stretch marks and swelling.  Although it's not easy, the end product (a beautiful baby) is worth it.  Some pregnant women have a harder time with the weight gain than others, which has lead to a new trend called "mommyrexia."  Is this really a widespread problem, or just media hype?

One recent article cites celebrity moms like Victoria Beckham, Rachel Zoe and Bethenny Frankel, who either didn't gain a lot of weight during their pregnancies, or lost most of it within a month of delivery.  The fear is that other women look at celebrities like these as the standard, feeling disappointed with themselves if they aren't back to their pre-pregnancy size right away.  Some maternity shops in the New York City area are now stocking extra-small sizes based on customer demand.  The article also mentions that some websites are offering more maternity workout clothes "which meet the needs of pregnant woman who exercise, sometimes excessively."  Personally, I think it's great that more pregnant women are staying active, and also appreciate having more choices when it comes to workout clothes (besides wearing my husband's t-shirts and a pair of baggy shorts.) 

I've been lucky in that I don't usually feel good for most of my pregnancies, but I look pretty good.  I don't experience much swelling, don't gain an excessive amount of weight, and from behind, you might not know I was pregnant.  It's not intentional- I do exercise regularly and try to make healthy food choices, but I'm not strict about it.  For nine months, I just look like I'm growing a basketball in my belly.  I can relate to the pressure after birth to return to a certain size, because I've felt that in the past.  My body has never returned to exactly what it was before I had kids, but I've learned to accept that.    

After the birth of my first child, a close friend made some very hurtful comments about my weight gain.  She said she was very concerned about me because of how I looked.  She assumed I was trying to stay as tiny as possible, when in reality, it's just how I happened to grow.  Because I didn't gain an excessive amount of weight, something must be wrong with me.  I didn't appreciate that someone would jump to uneducated conclusions, assuming that I would put my own vanity ahead of the health of my growing child.   I do think the idea of "mommyrexia" is very disturbing, but I also think it's important to remember that everyone is different, and it's never a good idea to rush to judgment about how healthy or unhealthy a pregnant woman is based on how she looks.

Want to learn about being healthy throughout pregnancy? Check out SparkPeople's sister site, BabyFit for more information.

What do you think?