"Pregnancy-shaming" needs to stop

Actress Elsa Pataky and her husband Chris Hemsworth arrive on the red carpet at the 86th Academy...

Actress Elsa Pataky and her husband Chris Hemsworth arrive on the red carpet at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Joanne Richard, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

 

What the frock? More bump-bashing going on. Chris Hemsworth’s pregnant wife, Elsa Pataky, received major snark on Oscar night. Her baby bump “looks like a beer belly,” slammed George Kotsiopoulos, catty co-host of E’s Fashion Police. Joan Rivers and Kelly Osborne joined in on the jabs.

Pataky’s appearance in a glittering turquoise dropped-waist dress displayed her baby bump in all its glory. She’s beautiful, glowing and carrying twins – a picture of health and trashed for it.

When it comes to celebrity pregnancy, there is a 24/7 obsession with the star’s weight gain and how quickly she loses it. “Those who stay thin during pregnancy are admired, and the ones who don’t are ridiculed,” says therapist Kimberly Moffit, of kmatherapy.com.

Celebrity moms-to-be are tortured with unflattering pictures and criticism of their new growing body, says Moffit, new mom to eight-week old Kassandra.

Pregnancy-shaming appears to be growing, agree experts. “Celebrities are observed almost constantly and when pregnant, there is even more to scrutinize and criticize,” says Dr. Barbara Greenberg, clinical psychologist at drbarbaragreenberg.com.

Body assassination is a free for all, and past pregnant recipients of painful bashing include Jessica Simpson, Beyonce and Amber Rose. Kim Kardashian got publicly lynched regularly for showing off her growing baby bump with tight-fitting clothes. “A fright in frills” is how the Daily Mail referred to her a year ago in a story accompanied by more than a dozen unflattering photos to illustrate there was “no hiding the fact that a Kardashian baby is on its way.”

Hide it? Pregnant pause here. I say flaunt it. You glow, girl! I’m no fan of any Kardashian, but picking on a pregnant woman, her weight, shape or wardrobe, is not ok, so frock off.

The Fashion Police are welcome to their opinion, says Dr. Robyn Silverman, however criticizing her pregnant body in the dress gets a big fail.

“Women need to be able to celebrate their bodies at every stage of life - I say if it makes you feel beautiful, go ahead. Be your own fashion police!” adds Silverman, body image specialist at drrobynsilverman.com.

According to therapist Mary Jo Rapini (maryjorapini.com), the pressure for women to weigh a certain amount and barely show during pregnancy has never been stronger. “Celebrities have perhaps modeled this aspect the worse, but celebrities also suffer the most with their self-esteem and body image.”

The majority of shaming is coming from the sexualization of pregnant women - judgment is cast on them when they are viewed as getting too big or dressing in a way that doesn’t match society’s very limited vision of a sexual pregnant woman. “It is sick, but it is the culture,” adds Rapini.

“Get a grip, people!” says Wendy Walsh (drwendywalsh.com). “The discrimination against mothers in media and in business is a disgrace to our species! Women hold enormous reproductive and nurturing power, yet the porn culture that we live in seems to only accept women as sex objects.

“It is bad enough that new mothers are being pressured to fit back into their skinny jeans and hooker pumps by the time their breast milk comes in, and now, gorgeous pregnant madonnas are being slammed as not hot enough?” adds Walsh, a relationship therapist who regularly appears on Dr. Drew On Call.

Wiping out body bashing begins at home

“Mothers, raise your daughter to value her interests, her healthy body, and her smart mind. These are the keys to healthy body image and self esteem,” says Mary Jo Rapini.

Women who are self assured and value their brains do not get sucked into hyperbole from media or judgmental people who unfortunately are loud with their ignorance, adds Rapini.

Be kind to yourself. Research shows that a mother’s self-image and how she comments on her own body can positively or negatively affect her child’s own self-image, says therapist Kimberly Moffit.

“Children who develop eating disorders are statistically linked to mothers who have their own issues with their weight and low self-esteem. So stay positive during this time and revel in the beautiful baby growing inside you!” adds Moffit.


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