Body Shaming & The Pressure To Be a Yummy Mummy
*Disclaimer* If you fit my satirical description of a ‘yummy mummy’, please don’t be offended; you rock, and I have total admiration for anyone able to meet this insanely unattainable ideal whilst juggling motherhood! My perception and opinions in here are my own; generalisations not intended.
Pregnancy Body Shaming, Post Partum Body Shaming, Insane Goals, and The Intense Pressure To ‘Snap Back’;
Why I dislike the term ‘yummy mummy’
When I hear the term ‘yummy mummy‘, it brings images to mind of a toned, svelte MILF who ‘snapped back’ straight after birth, in her expensive Lularoe leggings, pushing her top of the range pram containing a perfectly coiffed, well behaved baby down to their baby yoga session before congregating with other yummy mummies for a skinny latte/green juice and a wholewheat chia seed muffin.
If you can relate to that description then fair fucking play to you. Kudos!
My point is, that ‘ideal’ is unrealistic for the majority.
When you look up the term ‘yummy mummy’, you’re bombarded with adjectives such as ‘attractive’, ‘fit’, ‘stylish’… I mean, who wouldn’t want to join this club?!
The media pushes this in our faces, perfectly characterised by this quiz by the Daily Mail; are you a ‘yummy mummy’ or a ‘slummy mummy’?
It becomes a goal for many mummies to be to achieve this; when they struggle, they face criticism and body shaming from those around them, and often start to loathe themselves at failing to juggle a newborn, housework, other important tasks and the effort it takes to be pristine!
The term ‘yummy mummy’ perpetuates post partum and pregnancy body shaming.
I was naive before I had my son; I had noooo idea how far from a YM I’d be. I mean, I was no Victoria’s Secret model before I got pregnant, I never was, but I foolishly set myself insane goals that meant I set myself up to fail. And in all honesty, this naivety was borne out of the unrealistic post partum images splashed around in the mainstream media.
When Max was born, I was 6 stone heavier than when I’d got knocked up (and about 9 stone above my goal weight, ouch!), sweating like a PIG with the preeclampsia fluid retention coming off me in the height of summer, and I could barely move my behemoth arse off the sweaty leather sofa because I’d been sawn in half and lost a shitload of blood.
Not far off 8 months down the line, I am well and truly floundering. Struggling more than ever to shift the weight, hardly any time or energy to groom myself anywhere near as fastidiously as before I became a mama.
Hair like a fucking chip pan half the time.
Usually covered in various bodily fluids.
Make up?! Ha. Hahaha! What is ‘make up’?!
I can recall being told by well meaning folk repeatedly that I was definitely going to be a yummy mummy, as if it’s THAT easy and to be expected.
Some people may not pay much attention to this but ladies like me, we dwell on it, it becomes something that takes up far too much of our mental energy obsessing over and torturing ourselves over each time we look in the mirror. It puts too much pressure on us.
Since giving birth, how many people have called me a yummy mummy?
Because I didn’t snap back… Because I retained the baby weight… Because I rarely even wear make up and my clothes, 90% of the time, are splashed with something be it baby bodily fluids or food. I’m the other end of the spectrum and I was surprised to see how many new mums are in the same boat!
We are spoon fed images of post partum perfection, of celebrities with washboard abs and no bags under their sparkling eyes.
But along came Rebecca Vardy!
Ladies in the public eye like Rebecca Vardy are game changers. I cannot emphasise strongly enough how much we need celebrities/public figures to follow suit against the stats quo.
Yeah… so to me, her post partum body is really Hot with a capital H, and lots of us would kill to look like that even before getting pregnant, but my point is that she isn’t trying to portray this ideal yummy mummy with a toned tummy and perky tits that we have SHOVED in our damn faces in the media, in magazines, on posters.
Unbelievably, she has been body shamed for having the balls to show her mum tum publicly.
I cannot fathom why people think that post partum body shaming is acceptable. So fucking what, she’s not posing with a washboard stomach? She’s just had a baby.
And DON’T GET ME STARTED ON BEYONCE.
^ This photo has attracted so many vile comments shaming her for gaining weight (because being pregnant with twins isn’t a fucking valid excuse?!), it’s driven me insaaaaane reading them.
And Chantelle Hayes! Already under intense scrutiny for her new curves, pregnancy has attracted even more hate. Lets just appreciate how glowing and healthy she looks!
In all honesty, these 3 should epitomise what it truly means to be a ‘Yummy Mummy’. Fuck society!
Is society really SO desensitised to the realities of pregnancy and childbirth?
In the Bump Baby and You private support group for which I help to admin, I did a poll to establish how many ladies have been subjected to post partum body shaming, and what was said to these new mummies. I was pretty shocked, truth be told.
‘You’re too skinny.’
‘You must have a bucket!’
‘Your body looks like my nan’s and your stomach looks like Freddy Krueger!’
‘I bet you miss being as slim as you used to be!’
‘I bet you have some good knickers for that c-section flab!’
‘Why don’t you go for a walk to shift some of that baby weight?’
‘Bloody hell, them stretchmarks are bad!’
‘When are you due? Oh, baby is 12 hours old? You’re still fat!’
‘Are you sure you’re not pregnant again…?’
‘You haven’t lost your baby weight yet!’ [5 days post-partum]
‘You’re becoming a bit of a lard arse!’
‘You weren’t this fat before you got pregnant!’
In total, well over half of participating mummies told me they’d experienced post partum body shaming. This sucks. I know only too well how it feels.
I feel that this happens because people are only ever shown the lucky few, the elite, the power mummies who have either masses of time, mountains of disposable income, or both, allowing them to achieve the status of yummy mummy, and have their gorgeous photos printed on glossy magazines, or 100k followers on Instagram where they show off snippets of an idyllic life.
On one end of the spectrum, you get the adulation and admiration if you are able to achieve the ultimate status of ‘yummy mummy’, but god forbid you take your time to get yourself together before working on regaining your mojo!
I honestly, truly thought that I never thought I’d have to write this!
Never did I expect that I’d be subjected to body shaming in a mummy group.
Surely, the ‘sisterhood‘ mentality should have helped me? Surely the ‘we’ve been in the same boat‘ with low self-esteem and common unhappiness with our post-partum bodies should have protected me from such ridicule?
Turns out, that’s not the case.
Cyber bullying is a sad reality of the 21st century. By being on social media in the first place, I obviously left myself open to it, but in the same instance, surely one would expect that fellow mums would know better than to pick on the appearance of other mums for shits and giggles?
Yeah. I’m fat.
But fat can be lost. A cunty personality is for liiiiiiiiife, bitch.
Having a baby fucks your body up, down, left, right and pissing centre for most ladies, so yeah, I’m fat and my post partum body looks like Mr Blobby but EXCUSE ME for having had a baby!
“It’s not that hard to lose weight, just stop being lazy!”
The person who directed this in a conversation about me has blatantly never struggled with being overweight. I gained 6 stone during my pregnancy; partially my fault, I hold my hands up to this. I was a HUNGRYpreggo lady.
However, it was also partially fluid retention from my preeclampsia, and the effect of a long and hard recovery from a traumatic birth experience.
It took me months to recover from the after-effects of the emergency caesarean, preeclampsia and serious post-op infection & sepsis, so as much as I’ve wanted to get up and go, I wasn’t able to for nearly 5 months. PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is also notorious for making weight loss hard.
I also have a condition known as Ehlers Danlos syndrome. I try to make sure I walk a few miles every day but it’s not like I can just get up and do high impact exercise.
I’m not lazy.
I’m not a yummy mummy.
I am an example of R E A L I T Y.
IN ESSENCE: you don’t know people’s medical histories and valid mitigating issues.
“Lost weight? Where has it gone then?! ????”
Upon losing 2 stone of my baby weight, I posted a photo of myself in a new outfit, feeling A-FUCKING-MAZING. The person who fat shamed me actually left a lovely, supportive comment, in massive contrast to the nastiness they aimed at me in conversation with other people a few weeks after this.
2 stone is like a lifeboat being taken off the Titanic, I admit it. Not much, but it’s progress and it shows that I want to change and improve myself. I have 7 more stone to lose, and I’ll do it because I fucking want to, I want to be healthy and happy.
If you have to resort to targeting someone’s appearance to assert power, that just shows how very weak you are. Yeah, so fucking what, I’m fat? I’m not a yummy mummy. I have a tummy. Fuck anyone who thinks that it’s appropriate to shame anyone for this!
I hate it. I hate the way the term makes lots of mums feel. I loathe the way it is used as a tool to belittle mums and pressurise them to fit in with the societal ideal.
As I said at the beginning, the term ‘yummy mummy’ perpetuates body shaming.
It puts new mums under immense pressure at the most difficult time of their lives.
It makes us feel inadequate next to the svelte, toned celebrities, free of tiger stripes and with not a spot of cellulite in sight.
We then put too much pressure on ourselves, are subjected to body shaming comments from ignoramuses, and spend too much time stressing when we have a baby to look after!
If you’re going to use the term, it would be awesome if the meaning could be altered to include all mummies, because to our babies, we are all yummy.
The connotations of superiority surrounding this seemingly innocuous term are, frankly, disturbing and dangerous in terms of empowering ladies (new mums in particular).
There is already too much pressure on us.
Pressure to have the ‘perfect’ birth.
Pressure to seamlessly ease into breastfeeding.
Pressure to juggle everything even after the hardcore experience of childbirth.
The pressure to go back to ‘normality’ in terms of our physical appearance could be the straw that broke the camels back for new mums, especially those suffering with post natal depression like myself.
Pressure from society, pressure from peoplegiving us shitty comments, and worst of all, pressure from ourselves to achieve, meet standards, smash it out of the ball park, at one of the most difficult and intense times of our lives.
Is it any wonder that 1 in 10 new mums develop Post Natal Depression, with all this pressure we are under?!
So, mummies-to-be and new mummies…
Please, don’t stress.
Don’t torture yourself, don’t pay any heed to quite frankly insane comments.
You are not alone.
Take your time.
Take the heat out of the pressure cooker that is new mum life, and chill.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to WANT to be a yummy mummy.
I’m not saying that it is WRONG to be a yummy mummy.
I’m saying, do it in your own sweet time. Be realistic.
Do it for you and your baby, not that bitch Sharon over the road who looks you up and down smugly on her way to pilates, or that old bastard Doris on the bus who asks if you’re pregnant again.
Rebecca Vardy is working it. Chantelle is working it. Beyonce (The one and ONLY Queen Bee) is working it.
And what’s good for Bey is good for me. ?
Scrap the ‘yummy’, we are all super mummies. Labels be damned!