I’ve thought about writing this post for a while now, and put it off because I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but it’s something that has been on my mind, now more than ever as pregnancy is becoming more of a reality to me.
I’m calling this the Pregnancy Paradox. The definition of paradox is a statement or proposition that, despite sound reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory. This “Pregnancy Paradox” applies to women as a whole, well, women who want to become pregnant, because as women, staying in shape has been something that has been instilled in us and strive for since we were very, very young. While this statement may portray women in a shallow light, and that we conform to social norms, it is the truth.* What I’m trying to get to is that women spend a lifetime of diet and exercise to maintain their figure, then can’t wait to get pregnant – and for many work really hard at it – for their stomachs to expand exponentially for the next nine months. It is this that I find to be self-contradictory.
It seems like it was overnight that my Facebook feed went from a series of bikini selfies, showing off thin and toned stomachs, to baby bumps. It’s like the competition of being the skinniest transitioned to whose baby bump is the cutest.
Recently, I went to brunch with my childhood friends, one of whom is pregnant. As she sat there eating french fries, something I don’t think I’ve seen her eat since we had our teenage metabolisms 15 years ago, she said that it so great to be able to eat anything she wants now. Since I’ve known her she has always been on a diet, constantly struggling to maintain a thin physique.
Look, I get it, you have to be healthy for the baby. You’re creating a human being that is living inside of you for over nine months. But are there some women out there using pregnancy as an excuse to not watch their weight? Do these women see being pregnant as a pass on having to watch your figure?
Or maybe these girls are growing up and becoming women? Retraining our brains now that we are becoming mothers? I’m not so sure, because there’s pressure everywhere for women to shed their baby weight that was put on in almost a year, as soon as not-so-humanly possible.
We see it in the media; magazine covers of Kendra Wilkinson and Kourtney Kardashian showing off their post-baby bodies. But we don’t anymore just see the after product, we see the measures of which it takes for them to get there via their reality shows Kendra on Top and Keeping up with the Kardashians. Kendra is shown grabbing her tummy with disgust saying she’d layer up and run around the neighborhood not shedding any weight, while Kourtney actually collapsed on a beach in Miami trying to rid the pounds.
Then what is it? What is that tipping point? Is it evolution? That now as women, we are finally doing what we are put on this earth to do (you know, in theory) and procreate? Take care of the new life inside ofs?
I really just have so many questions. I think maybe with the explosion of social media the past decade this subject has become amplified. I’m not judging anyone, I honestly find this paradox, so to speak, very interesting and intriguing. Maybe I should do a research project?
*I can really get into a women and society tangent right now, but it would really derail this entire piece, so stay tuned for more