Baby Bump Watch
I love looking at baby bumps. Wait, does that sound weird?
Because I really don’t mean it in a weird way. I just mean, like much of the world, I am obsessed with babies and pregnancy and I spend a good portion of my online time browsing pictures of celebrity baby bumps.
Admit it—you’ve been curious about Kate’s baby bump a time or two. I mean, come on, a royal baby bump on a beautiful princess? Does it get much better than that?
I love looking at adorable baby bumps, because I genuinely am fascinated by the miracle of pregnancy and I do think there is nothing more beautiful. But underneath all of my noble baby bump watching justifications is a much uglier truth:
I compare baby bumps just like I compare myself to other women—comparing baby bumps and postpartum bodies and who looks better as a pregnant woman—it’s all part of the body-bashing game that women can fall prey to so easily.
What’s better than a celebrity who joins us mere mortals in swollen pregnancy faces and leg cellulite? Doesn’t it make us feel better to see a pregnant mom admit that she is struggling not to inhale a pan of brownies?
Sadly, my baby bump watching is not limited to celebrities alone. I eagerly log on to the computer, browsing friends and fellow bloggers’ posted baby bumps, comparing and contrasting. Wow, she is so tiny! She looks so much better than I ever did! Oh, wait, there is one mom I’ve done better than at least!
It’s horrible and it’s awful and it’s an ugly reflection of our own insecurities as women and as mothers. If there is any time in our lives as women that we shouldn’t be judged on our appearance, it has to be pregnancy. And yet, there is still so much for pressure for women to “look good” during their pregnancies. To display the perfectly cute basketball-under-the-shirt look instead of the water-elephant look that I sported so nicely.
So here’s my challenge, to you and myself:
The next time you catch yourself judging a pregnant woman on her appearance or the size of her baby bump—just stop.
Praise her for the incredible job that she is doing in growing another human being, tell her she looks beautiful, and whatever you do, don’t compare her to you or another pregnant woman.
Give yourself permission to relax the reins on the constant need to seek approval for our outward appearance. Pregnant women — in all shapes and sizes — are beautiful. And we don’t need to compare baby bumps to realize that.
Image via iStock