It’s Okay To Feel Weird About Your Pregnant Body

23 Feb

Dear Fug Girls,

I like you. I like you a lot. I’ve been reading your site for, like, probably ten years now. I remember the days when Jessica wrote X-Files recaps for Television Without Pity (and those were some good days!). So, suffice to say I’m a pretty big fan.

And, as a fan, I want to tell you that what you wrote yesterday about Kim Kardashian wasn’t cool. Like, really not cool.

I get that hearing women talking about their weight can be stressful, maybe even triggering, and that one of the ways to deal with that is through humour, but I don’t think that it’s ever okay to make fun of a woman for being uncomfortable about her body. Because you know what? Everything in the freaking world is conspiring to make her feel uncomfortable about her body, and mocking her is not helping.

Look, pregnancy sucks. I mean, in some ways it’s kinda neat, but in a lot of ways it sucks big time. Your body, which has probably remained fairly static for most of your adult life, is suddenly taken over by a parasite and starts expanding in all kinds of weird ways. And suddenly, it’s not your body anymore. I mean, it is, but it’s totally unfamiliar to you, and also its housing a weird tiny thing that kicks and squirms a bunch. I spent a lot of my pregnancy feeling like the dude in Alien, to be honest, although thankfully I gave birth to an actual human being who was surgically removed from my abdomen rather than bursting out in a totally badass, metal way.

Anyway, what I’m trying to get at here is that even though I’m a thin woman, and even though my pregnancy weight looked perfectly fine on me, I still felt uncomfortable gaining weight. And I am not someone whose appearance is routinely picked apart by tabloids. I am not someone who felt obligated to prove that she’s “bikini ready” at six weeks postpartum. So if pregnancy made me feel weird about my body, I can only imagine how hard this must be for Kim Kardashian.

I’ll be honest: I don’t know a whole lot about Kim. I know that she’s with Kanye West, and I know that she’s done a bunch of reality shows, and I know that people love to hate her. I know that people like to make comments about how she’s famous for “nothing” (which is a hilarious criticism, because if anyone offered to let me be famous for nothing, I’d be like, “sign me up, bro” – who wouldn’t want to get tons of money for doing nothing?), although the number of times I see her out promoting stuff make me have a hard time believing that she really does nothing. I know that she’s a woman of colour who’s got hips and boobs, and I know that she’s already endured tons of criticism about her size from the media, long before she ever got pregnant. I know that she’s a woman, and as such she’s going to be scrutinized and mocked and ridiculed far more than her male counterparts.

At the end of the day, I’m just not really interested in shaming anyone for their feelings. Especially when those feelings have totally valid roots in the way our media and culture treat women. If Kim Kardashian wants to talk about how gaining weight while pregnant is upsetting, then more power to her. I’ll be happy to tell her a thousand times that she looks fantastic no matter what. Because there’s absolutely no good that can come from telling someone that their feelings are wrong, or bad, or stupid.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. I hope you guys will consider this the next time you post about someone’s weight gain. I mean, as much as I know that making fun of the way people dress is your gig (and usually it’s a pretty funny gig!), maybe you’ll be able to be a bit more empathetic the next time something like this comes up.

Sincerely,

Annabelle

p.s. The pants were pretty ugly, though, I’ll give you that

p.p.s. Say hi to the Mulder and Scully action figures for me! I hope they’re locked in an eternal embrace now that they’re retired from TWOP

p.p.p.s. I kinda hope these crazy kids make it, not gonna lie

kim-kardashian-kanye-west

 

ETA: Go Fug Yourself put an addendum on their post, which is pretty awesome:

** I may need to clarify that I am not trying to say that pregnant women can’t be thrown off by the changes in their bodies. But there is a difference between that and denial. To me, wearing those pants doesn’t say, “I am feeling awkward about my changing form.” Rather, that garment, to me, is a fingers-in-ears scream of, “LA LA LA NOTHING IS
CHANGING AT ALL.” My point was, don’t let denial get in the way of biological necessity — and also, those trousers are odious. But the former is dipping into armchair psychoanalysis, so I apologize if I overstepped…

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12 Responses to “It’s Okay To Feel Weird About Your Pregnant Body”

  1. Heather (GFY) February 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    Thanks for the thoughtful response! Here’s where I was coming from: I have been pregnant. With twins. I am a smallish person — enough that the pronounced weight gain was strange for me. But it’s all part of the process. Viewing the babies as parasites wasn’t an option for me — they are tiny people, and they needed me. I didn’t binge eat, but when I needed fuel, I found some, without worrying about my waistline. And I enjoyed the freedom of being proud of my belly — something women don’t usually feel on a regular day — because of what was inside it. It was neat.

    So my concern was rooted in how backward it is to be upset that you are gaining weight when you are pregnant. Because that’s what the whole thing is about. I wasn’t trying to make fun of the weight gain (which by the way is so marginal right now) so much as the reluctance to do it and/or the resistance to something that is a necessary part of the childbearing journey she chose. The pants,
    and her whole attitude, seem to speak less of a natural awkwardness than of denial and extreme vanity at a time when she needs to be letting that go and trying to enjoy the ride. I didn’t mean to shame her, truly. There is something inherently ridiculous in that to me, butI probably should’ve saved that for my own blog and not our more public one.

    In short, I recognize that what I said and/or the way I said it blurred a line, and that I should’ve saved my armchair psychoanalysis for another forum. But I hope you at least know that I was coming from a place of experience with her journey, and from a place of good intentions even if they were snarkily or artlessly expressed (indeed, this comment may have been just as artless!). Thanks for your patience and for reading! And for the feedback.

    • bellejarblog February 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      Thanks for the comment! I am only fangirling a little bit (because I think you guys are great).

      I guess I take issue with the idea that because something is a part of pregnancy, you’re not supposed to complain about it, because it’s all part of the amazing process of making a baby (the parasite thing was mostly a joke). But I think it’s okay to be like, yeah, I want to have a kid and I want it to be healthy and I want to make sure my body is providing everything it needs, but also this kind of sucks. And I think that any time a woman talks about her weight it becomes this really loaded topic, and we tend to have knee-jerk reactions to it. One of those reactions, when the weight is pregnancy-related, is to say, “Well, what did you think was going to happen?” And I’m not 100% sure where that reaction comes from, but I’ll admit that I find it troubling.

      I think that you can know that things like weight gain and stretch marks and morning sickness and swollen feet are a part of pregnancy, but still feel uncomfortable about them. And even though you know that they’re the price you pay for a baby, and even though they’re a price that you’re more than willing to pay, I don’t think that it’s unfair to complain or be upset about them, or that disliking these things is indicative of being ungrateful for your pregnancy.

      I also feel like Kim’s comments about her weight gain might have been her way of nipping outside comments in the bud – like, beating the tabloids to the punch before they can say anything about how huge she is or whatever.

      Anyway, I hope all this makes sense! Thanks again for the comment. I do understand better where you’re coming from. And the pants were, admittedly, pretty terrible.

      Keep up the awesome work!

  2. Jenna February 24, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this.

    I don’t understand why people have to be so hateful towards someone expressing their insecurities. I have noticed this since becoming pregnant. For the most part I love my round baby bump. I don’t like all the additional weight gain, or the stretch marks, or the cellulite or the horrible vains that I have developed.

    I don’t talk about it often, but it seems if I ever dare mention it all I get is lots of negative “well your’e pregnant, what do expect” or I get treated as If I am unhappy about being pregnant, when really all I actually needed was a little bit of reassurance.

  3. sunbonnetsmart February 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Well, Annabelle, you are taking me back, because I had the same sense of carrying an alien life force. The longer it went on, the weirder it got. Yeah, I don’t know why the world thinks they own a pregnant woman. The realization was a strange phenomenon, as people I didn’t know came up to “share” my experience and put a hand on my stomach. Yuck, I did not take to it kindly. As for the comments? Just another instance of women not being seen as doing enough to justify their existence. Not enough to create life, one must be physically appealing and up to outsiders standards as well. And, have a pleasant demeanor as your stomach is fondled without consent, otherwise you’re seen as “hormonal.” Great post.

  4. nurseplummer February 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Kim is an easy target, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to take shots at her. And, she is not a role model for anyone that I know, so I don’t worry about her too much. Hope in the end that she has an easy delivery and moves beyond the superficial. Bet she and her babe will be a whole lot happier. Though my first inclination was to say, who cares about Kanye, I guess I do because I hope he is a great dad and focuses on the important stuff, like unconditional love and being a nurturing dad figure to his child.

    I really appreciate your perspective on this.

  5. Laura February 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    That ‘dude’ is John Hurt, one of the most distinguished British actors of all time. Perhaps a Paris Hilton quote would be more appropriate for your blog’s title.

    • bellejarblog February 25, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Oh Laura, you know I always love when you come comment. You’re the best.

      p.s. Paris Hilton is so passé – no one talks about her anymore! There are plenty of other women the media likes to perceive as being stupid – you should’ve referenced one of them!

      • Laura February 25, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

        What’s interesting is you have no inclination to understand why your dude comment is willfully ignorant, perhaps even sexist. If I someone called Judy Dench ‘that chick from the James Bond films” you’d no doubt take umbrage.

        Oh, and I did find Paris Hilton rather lacking in wit when I met her in 2006. It took her three restroom breaks (weed smoking breaks) to get through a 30 min interview.

        But who needs evidence or real world experience when you can create straw men to knock down from the comfort of your PJs in Canada.

    • Matt February 27, 2013 at 3:45 am #

      John Hurt’s awesome. But his identity is also immaterial to the sensation of having something squirming inside of you trying to get out. Could’ve been Bruce Campbell getting the face hugger for all it matters.

  6. Quinn March 3, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    Yes, we all feel weird about our bodies for lots of reasons. And yes, most of us aren’t in the spotlight. Some of us wanted to be and aren’t, others chose not to be.

    But those who are, CHOSE to be. It’s part of the package. Do i like it? Absolutely not. Is it something you should know going in? Most definitely.

    • Quinn March 3, 2013 at 5:45 am #

      no, a caveat. Not everyone CHOSE to be. Kids of celebrities are the ones I feel sorry for. Not somebody that will do just about anything to get attention. Those people are making a choice.

  7. Caitlin McGregor November 26, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Kudos & thanks from a young pregnant woman! It’s such a confronting thing to watch your body change so quickly and so much, especially when we’re analysed all the time. Great post!

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