Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Baby Weight Q & A

We are over on demodirt talking about the growing trend of pregnant women who fear their pregnant bellies. Read the interview.

Pregnancy & Body Image: Illustrated in Women's Words

We interviewed more than 400 women for Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? When we asked expectant mothers to describe their bodies, there was little hesitation. We were struck by the visceral quality of their descriptions, which were filled with enthusiasm, awe, and sometimes sheer frustration and disgust. These illustrations from our book represent a sampling of the actual words women shared with us.

What words would you use/have used to describe your pregnant body?

Illustrations by Monica Martinez

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bridget Moynahan On Why Women Should Be Wary of Celebrity Baby Fever

Did you know that the number of People magazine headlines mentioning celebrity pregnancies, babies, and baby weight loss makeovers more than doubled between 2003 and 2005 and has been holding steady since?

How are all those stories affecting women? For starters, an endless parade of "perfect" postbaby bodies is not the biggest confidence booster for new moms, most of whom are already feeling vulnerable and prone to self-doubt. But there's something else. Now that baby fever has become big business, it's the Mommy Brand that's being sold to us--the must-have maternity wear and baby gear, the designer diets and fitness plans. None of that has anything to do with Mommy Reality.

We talked to actress Bridget Moynahan, a celebrity mom who is all too familiar with the paparazzi. Here's a sneak peek of what she told us in her interview for Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?:

"I think it's horrible for young girls and women to see all these pictures of celebrities and the way they bounce back and they're strolling around and they have all these nice things. It's all about how cute the baby looks. It's not that easy and it's not that glamorous. It's not like having the new bag or shoe."

Motherhood is not about diets, workouts, and products. It's about new responsibilities and hopes and dreams for your child. As Moynahan points out, the danger with this "baby (or 'baby bump') as accessory" treatment is that it steers us away form the big picture: what it's really like to be a mother.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Halle Berry Reacts to "Bump Watch" on Jay Leno

For weeks, the tabloids have been speculating that Halle Berry is pregnant. Her crime? Apparently the wearing of loose-fitting sundresses in L.A. (where the average temperature these days is about 85 degrees) is a big no-no. An A-lister who is not constantly showing off her perfectly slim and trim body MUST be pregnant, right? Wrong. Halle went on Jay Leno's show last week to put a stop to the chatter the Hollywood way: she wore a teeny tiny dress with no room for any lumps, let alone bumps. "All these pregnancy rumors can be put to bed," she declared. "I was getting a complex. I was like, I gotta stop with the burgers or something!"

If tabloids can make Halle Berry feel like there's something wrong with her body, let's reflect for a moment on how those messages make the rest of us feel. Here's what one new mom told us when we interviewed her for Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?:

"If the bump isn't big enough the celebrities are starving themselves, but if it's too big they're pigging out. And of course, they're failures if they're not in a bikini six days after giving birth. If women aren't allowed to have even a millimeter of fat on their bodies in pregnancy and postpregnancy, then it's like we're not allowed to be human." --Mara, 35

What do you think about Hollywood's fixation with "bump watch"? How does it affect you?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Model Crystal Renn Gets Real About the Fashion Industry, Weight Pressures, and the Success that Came with Body Acceptance

For years, Crystal Renn was told that modeling success would come if she could manage to make herself thinner. Of course that has long been the party line of the fashion industry--lose the curves if you want to make any gains as a model. But, like most women who starve themselves to fit others' expectations, Renn discovered that her attempts to slim down were making her miserable and insecure. She gave up the quest for thinness, learned how to trust her own appetite again, and went on to become one of the world's most sought-after plus-size models.

Renn's story is detailed in her new memoir, Hungry. She is interviewed by Salon's Kate Harding this week:
Since I was 14 years old, I had a dream: I want to be in Vogue. I want to travel the world doing editorials, and working in high fashion. That is why I starved myself. That is why I almost lost my life. Because I wanted it that bad.

So when my body wouldn't allow me to do that, I decided I'd rather not lose my life, and I would like to continue my dream. I thought, you know what? I'm gonna keep the dream, different path. I didn't lose hope, I didn't lose confidence, I just said let's channel it differently. I think that's why I've accomplished the things I have, even at this size, because I never gave up.

What's especially inspiring about Renn's experience is that she found happiness and success by letting go of her obsession with weight. Whether you are in the fashion industry or not, that is a lesson every woman can learn from. It's hard to fight the pervasive message that there is a magic number on the scale that is the key to our confidence. But when we take the focus away from weight, it's amazing how much easier it is to find health and fulfillment in all aspects of our lives.

"Dying to be the next Gisele" [Salon]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? Reviewed in Publishers Weekly

Just about three weeks until the release of Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? We were pretty excited to read this review in Publishers Weekly. A few highlights:

"[T]he authors do a great service in bringing to light a fear that women may believe they suffer with alone...The concepts and solidarity offered here should prove valuable for millions of American women."

Thanks again to all of YOU for your continued support of this project. We can't wait to see our "baby" out into the world!