The Skinny Mom: Does She Think She’s Better Than You?

by Svea Boyda-Vikander on August 6, 2013

“When my daughter was about a week old I was at the grocery store and a woman asked how old my baby was, I told her one week with a smile. Her response was “well you don’t look like you f***ing had a baby a week ago.” and turned and walked away from me. It hurts to be ostracized by other mothers in that way.” – Jonelle, of Aware Beginnings Doula Services, commenting on Mothering the Mother Part II: How Postpartum Care Helps Us Love Our Bodies

I’m a skinny mom. Not too skinny. But on the slender side.

I gained about 25 lbs in each of my two pregnancies and shed it within a few weeks of giving birth.

When I’m pregnant, people tell me I don’t look it.

I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans until seven months in.

I wore a short black dress to a party a few days before our second was born.

party

My K’taan is a size small, I can still squeeze into the back seat between my two babies’ carseats, and I still have no stretch marks.

Do you hate me yet?

What if I told you that I don’t diet and my only exercise is babywearing? Would you hate me then?

My body looks the way it does for a number of reasons (including socio-economic status and access to real food) but mostly because of a genetic lottery. In the eyes of our society, it’s a lottery I’ve won. But ‘winning’ isn’t everything. I have a history of starving, purging, cutting, and risking my body. This history is invisible when you look at me. It can be covered up by a short black dress and gold high heels.

Maybe you assume that I have my shit together, that I am in control; maybe you think I’m happy.
Maybe you assume that I am superficial.
Maybe you assume that I diet constantly.
Maybe you assume that I diet constantly even when I’m pregnant and therefore do not have my baby’s best interest at heart.
Maybe you assume that I’m mean and manipulative.
Maybe you just know that I think I’m better than you. (I don’t. And I don’t think the skinnier mom standing next to me is better than me, either.)

Other people’s ugly assumptions aside, I know and enjoy the advantages of being a skinny mom:

I still get to be seen as cute and slightly sexy (even though I’m a mom, which is, apparently, the least sexy thing in the world).
I don’t have to buy a new wardrobe when I get pregnant.
When I look at pictures of mothers in magazines and advertisements, they look like me (I also happen to be caucasian and able-bodied. Bonus!).
I wasn’t automatically classed as a ‘high risk’ pregnancy due to my weight.
I could satisfy all my pregnancy cravings without feeling guilty.
I receive most of the advantages of being a skinny girl – I get served first at deli counters, customs officers are always nice to me, my in-laws think me an appropriate match – but since I’m a mom, these days I get a lot less harassment from skeezy men.

These are important social advantages. It will be hard for me to lose them as I get older. But they’re all from the outside. Inside is a different landscape.

Some nights I tell my husband I don’t want to have sex because I’m tired and covered in milk and I imagine my body has been taken over by a hungry parasite who just also happens to be a baby I love. It feels there is no more space in my body for receiving or giving anything.
If I do compare myself to the mothers in an advertisement, they are still thinner than me, happier than me, prettier than me, less milk-stained than me. I am still lacking.
I wasn’t classified as ‘high-risk’, but I had to pay three months’ rent for out-of-pocket for decent healthcare during my last pregnancy. It was hard to convince myself that my baby and I were worth it.
I could satisfy all my pregnancy cravings without feeling guilty, but I didn’t (I still satisfied them – I just felt guilty).
I don’t do it anymore, but I have thrown up or skipped more meals than I can count. Other people liking your body doesn’t make you love your body.
I’m a happy person but I still feel out of control sometimes – especially when my toddler is eating spaghetti with a spoon.
I love breastfeeding now, but when I first lactated colostrum, I felt disgusted by my pregnant body.
The flip side of being told I don’t look pregnant is people thinking that I am not my baby’s mom. “Is this your baby?” they ask, and I try to take it as a compliment but I know there’s an edge in my voice when I answer, “Yes, this is my baby. This is my baby.” This is my body that birthed this baby and I hate that you looked at it and thought otherwise.

My body is real and I am learning to love my postpartum pooch (below: a few days PP in ye olde disposable panties).

Postpartum

My claim is not that, “I too, my full-bodied sisters, am a daily victim of unfair physical ideals!” I know that, on the whole, I benefit from them. And I’m not saying that BWF should have a ‘skinny moms’ day for every plus-sized mama day. I know that every day is ‘skinny mom day’ in all the rest of social media. I’m just saying that in a country where at least 80% of women dislike their bodies and Miss America is perpetually malnourished, we are all capable of hating ourselves. You don’t know how someone feels about their body just by looking at them. You only know how you feel about their body. And your own.

In my better days, this is how I like to think of my body: as a powerful vessel. A vessel for my thoughts and actions; a vessel for my creativity; and of course, a vessel for my babies. It is through this body that I show my love for other people. This body lets me laugh. This vessel has (love) handles but it is tall and deep. It will get old and its enamel will crack. Someday it will disintegrate entirely. I can only hope that when it does, I’m not worried about how it looks.

So, do you hate me yet?

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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

natalie August 6, 2013 at 2:00 am

No i dont hate you, im skinny too!

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The Milk Meg August 6, 2013 at 6:04 am

Awesome post and no, I don’t hate you :) as a “skinny” mum of 3, I can relate. Thanks for putting this so beautifully and honest.

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melanie August 6, 2013 at 6:46 am

I can relate to all of this. I was/am a skinny mom and especially during pregnancy the comments really hurt. No one believed me when I said I wished I could put a bowl of food on my belly, or how everyone always expected an explanation of why I was so skinny. Especially with my past pregnancy and having IUGR. Wishing every day that I gained something and not, was pretty devastating.

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Bridget W August 6, 2013 at 8:17 am

This is great. Coming from a size 4 mom of triplets, I can tell you that, while I am glad I am thin, I do not love my body, and I certainly don’t think I am better than anyone with a different size or shape. I had someone ask me if I was dieting while pregnant as well. I was so hurt by that. To imply that I would potentially starve my 3 babies, so that I didn’t get “too big”.. ugh, I didn’t even know what to say. I just matter of factly told her that I was indeed on a diet, the increased calorie diet suggested by my high risk OB. End mini rant. ;)

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Devon August 6, 2013 at 11:18 am

Thank you for sharing this! For those moms out there who didn’t gain a lot of weight and went back to pre- pregnancy size within weeks; We get looks, stares, and negative comments. No woman, skinny or otherwise should ever have to put up with that and I’m so happy your shared your story because those of us who are struggling with our own hatred of our new “mom bodies” feel guilt for disliking ourselves when others tell us we are so lucky! Every woman feels a different way about themselves and we shouldn’t judge other women. We need to lift each other up and be proud no matter what our size and shape. Thank you! As a young mom who was 10lbs lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight 2 weeks after my daughter was born I had to deal with my family asking if I was eating and how I was producing milk and that my child must be “starving”. There needs to be more awareness to not comment on us skinny moms either!

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Heather August 6, 2013 at 11:22 am

You have written my story to a tee! I have always been thin, but after having my son, I lost so much weight from nursing. People were so judgy, my doctor even accused me of having an eating disorder (which I 100% didn’t and was appalled she thought I’d risk my baby’s health)! I am 2 years postpartum, still nursing my son, and just found out I am expecting again. I’m 12# less than when I got pregnant w/ my 1st and a good 20# away from a “healthy” body weight. I strive to eat 3000 calories/day, but it just doesn’t matter. This is me. This is how my body works. Yes, I was back in regular clothes by 2 months postpartum. No, I didn’t get any stretch marks. But, I still struggle daily with being comfortable in my own skin. Skinny moms are self conscious too. I HATE that it’s okay for other people to make comments about our weight, but if we were to ever make a comment towards a plus sized mama, we’d be ostracized. Every woman deserves to be treated the same regardless of their weight. Skinny or not…

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megan August 6, 2013 at 11:37 am

yes I do!

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Newborn photographer Perth August 6, 2013 at 11:41 am

There should be more articles like this written!

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Beth August 6, 2013 at 11:48 am

I love you for sharing this! There are other moms out there that go through this as well and their voices need to be heard. I am one of them. When I was 8 months pregnant, someone asked me, “What did you have, a boy or girl?” And I had to explain that I didn’t have my baby yet, I just carry small, and she gave me a dirty look as if that wasn’t fair to her or something. Somehow I always felt judged for having a tiny belly and being petite, as if I was not growing a healthy baby for being tiny.

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Brandi August 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

Good for you momma! Thank you for this post. I always try to be sympathetic to any mom with a baby. No matter how old that baby is, or if it even looks like they’ve had a baby or if the baby is a different colour. Its a baby. And you are obviously its mother! This post has shed light on how critical some people can be and I am going to try harder to not be like that. I know I have been, but I will stop now. Thank you. and you are beautiful!

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Lynette August 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm

My daughter (not me) was 85 lbs, 5′ 10″, at age 20 when she got pregnant. She reached almost 130 lbs at 42 weeks. She is now down to under 95 lbs. in less than 6 mths. after having him. She got and gets comments about her weight all the time and it tears her up.

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Darlene August 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I don’t hate you, coming from a mom who has gained fifty pounds and being 5’1″. I have a few sisters who stay thin and I do envy them, yet I still love what has happened to me. I couldn’t change much the second I did do better but still gained quite a bit. I find you beautiful for your strength, physically and mentally. You are strong and healthy, a blessing god has given you. I personally couldn’t hate the woman and mother you are.

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Jennifer August 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for sharing :) I am on the opposite spectrum yet the same one!! I am normally 97 – 100 lbs and while I am a skinny small mama it is a whole different story when I become pregnant. With my 1st two I gained 50-55 lbs and my girls were 6.14 and 7.1 at birth. Lost the weight within 6-8 months. I am due any day now with my 3rd :) A BOY :) and well I have gained at least 80 lbs … people ask me if I am having twins!! I have envied small pregnant woman and wished that I could be small all they way through because of how HARD it is on my body!! I have accepted my stretch marks (for the most part as they still get me down every now and then) although I praise God for taking down an idol that I didn’t realize I had … My Body … because before having children I didn’t do anything and had almost an 8 pack-abs …. I think that all pregnant woman are beautiful no matter what size they are during, or after pregnancy!!!

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Rachel August 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I am *not* a “skinny” mom — I’ve never been a “skinny” anything — but I think you hit the nail on the head with this:
“You don’t know how someone feels about their body just by looking at them. You only know how you feel about their body. And your own.”
I DO wish we would all stop worrying about other people’s bodies so much and just take the best care that we can of our own. And maybe teach our children to do the same.
We could all do with less judgement and more acceptance.

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Heather Liv August 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I am skinny and I don’t care. I don’t hate my body. I’m 39 years old. I’ve been over my bizarre body images for over 15-20 years. I worked for so long and so hard to have this baby. I am so proud to finally have a little jelly belly I can jiggle. When I stand up it disappears:( I will lift my shirt and show it to you if you want to see it! I no longer feel the need to defend myself for the way I look. People can say I’m big or people can say I’m too small. Either way, I take it as a compliment. We are talking about the fact that my body just made a baby, a whole new person. I am so happy and proud no one can rain on my parade!

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Alita August 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm

“Curvy women are real women. Skinny women are real women. Women who have had boob jobs or lip enhancements or liposuction are still real women. Size 0 may make no sense mathematically, but a woman who wears that size is as real as the one who wears a size 16. What makes us “real” people is not the shape of our flesh but our basic humanity. And we lose our humanity when we judge – not when we lose weight, gain weight, or make the intensely personal decision to undergo cosmetic surgery.

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JDNappers August 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm

This is such a foreign concept to me, and not just because I’m a dude. I think pregnant women are stunningly beautiful and moms too! Big or small I love them all! It’s not a matter of attraction mind you, just an appreciation for them. I understand that a lot of women have self image issues and pregnancy can exacerbate those feelings (my wife is constantly fearful of what her first pregnancy is going to do to her body). Everytime I meet an expectant or early post pregnancy mom I always look for an opportunity to tell them how fantastic they look. Be proud of ladies!

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Valerie August 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I’m not a “skinny mom,” more like “average.” But I felt really bad when I couldn’t gain over 17lbs with my last baby and seriously felt like I was going to get the hammer of judgment… especially from my doctor.

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Meg A. August 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I’ve always been skinny (genetics) and have received comments my whole life… people asking if I’m eating enough… if I have an eating disorder… it’s pretty crazy. Would you ever ask an overweight woman if she eats too much or if there is something medically wrong with her? I think not. After Baby #1, I developed a hyperthyroid which made me lose weight rapidly, which only made things worse. My pre-pregnancy clothes were too big… cue more comments! So yeah, just because our body types are “socially acceptable” and portrayed by the media as desirable… doesn’t mean we think we’re high and mighty.

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Svea Boyda-Vikander August 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Meg,

Thanks for your comment. I agree that those comments are inappropriate – and highly personal. But I do think that overweight women get negative comments and intrusive questions about their bodies, almost exactly like you describe. It’s unfortunate that, by virtue of being female, our bodies are seen as public property. <3

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Michala August 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm

It’s not hate, but jealousy. But then I suppose they can be closely linked. People who allow one to be clouded by the other are missing out on so many positive things. And am I jealous? Well to be honest I would suppose a little as I am rather on the large side, well we all dislike something. But I would never judge. I believe you shouldn’t, not until you have ‘walked a mile in their shoes’. So congratulations on two beautiful children, enjoy. And remember people who make snap shot assumptions without getting to know you are not worth worrying about!!

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Rachel August 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I loved this :)
All bodies are good bodies,
thanks for sharing!

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Angie August 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I don’t hate you actually I am you! I am the skinny mom who doesn’t exercise and eats a whole foods diet but I too have the history that you have. Thank you for writing this!

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C August 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm

But I do agree that no person should be judged by the size, shape or color of their body. And it’s not fair to us women that we should be told how to look.

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Katie Jacobson August 6, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Thank you for the different perspective!

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Tiggi August 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm

No I don’t hate you and i am plus sized. I know enough skinny women (some mums some not) and I know you have your own pitfalls.

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Melissa August 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I don’t hate you but i am so not surprised that you have a history of eating disorders…you look like you are fighting HARD to stay “skinny and sexy”.

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Svea Boyda-Vikander August 8, 2013 at 1:55 am

I suppose you can also tell that I like blue cheese by the colour of my skin… Maybe my IQ by the slope of my forehead…?

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Rach August 11, 2013 at 12:15 am

>:(
That is a HUGE assumption.

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Tauni August 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I used to get so upset when people would say, “You don’t even look pregnant!” As if it was supposed to be a compliment. I was often quite jealous of pregnant women that could sport the “swallowed a basketball” look. But even still, I loved my belly! Most days I felt quite pregnant; exhaustion, morning sickness, and leg cramps. I think what frustrated me most about people saying I didn’t ‘look’ pregnant was the assumption that pregnancy had only one look. Women are women regardless of our size or shape. Pregnant women come in many shapes and sizes; each one is beautiful!

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Siné August 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm

As a little momma who has an incredibly hard time gaining weight during pregnancy and has been below pre-pregnancy weight upon birthing my babies, I really appreciate this post. It’s not always easy being skinny/tiny/petite etc. Yes there are plenty of benefits, but those don’t completely displace all of the out of place comments.

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Alison August 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I was skinny with my three, and later found out that I had celiac disease…two of my sons have it, too. They were between 7.6 and 8.2-pound babies.

Mothering toughens you up…there seems to be a lot of competition and clanning that happens. I was ostracized because my boys played with “war toys”– made guns out of legos and pieces of wood. It’s always something…

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Katie August 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm

As a plus size Mama and newly training doula on my own journey of learning to love and accept my body in it’s entirety and find empowerment through it’s form and function, while on a mission to help other women do the same; I can say I certainly do not hate you! This piece is powerful and beautifully written. As women, as moms, as fellow human beings walking on this earth together, we’re all going to get a lot further treating each other with empathy and respect, rather than judgement and condemnation. Our struggles really are far more similar than they are different, and that you recognize your privilege is an important step to helping create positive change.
A mom is a mom is a mom, a person is a person is a person! We NEED to start changing the size language in our culture and toward each other and stop being another woman’s biggest enemy because it’s destroying our daughters (our sons), and each other!
My hats off to you for being one of the people having this conversation :-)

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Honey Rowland August 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Oh, and you look adorable in that pic with your partner!

~Honey

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Joi Ananda August 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm

You Go Girl!!!!!!So delighted to see You so powerfull and and Blessed!!!!Be Happy!!!!!!

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jenny August 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Im a skinny mom who also hears all the comments that come with it. I just wish I could stop caring that I’m the “skinny” mom & just be me. Thank you for your story!

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S August 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Why should we hate people for the way they look, ya know? It’s the heart that matters. I am 238 lbs, mama of 6, and have friends who are 120lbs and are moms of 6. We love our babies, our bodies, and our husbands, We need to enjoy ourselves in motherhood and teach our daughters that size doesn’t matter. As long as you love who God made you to be, others’ opinions shouldn’t matter. Rock on “skinny mama”! I know I am! :-P

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catfish August 6, 2013 at 9:23 pm

yes. This is a great piece. So sad to me when skinny ladies get fake boobs. Love your body. I have been a size 4 and flat pancake breasts and at other times(now) insulated with a D cup. Neither is better and I try to focus on the parts I love, no matter what size I am. But that isn’t always easy.

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Whitney August 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Thanks for saying something! I don’t deserve a “fuck you” from other mother’s just because I am still so thin after having my first child. Those (obviously jealous) mother’s don’t know how hard of a time I had TRYING to gain weight during my pregnancy. I was sick, nauseated, and had such bad heartburn the entire third trimester and while my baby continued to pack on the pounds (8 lb even at birth) I did not. I actually weighed 10 lbs less the day after she was born than I did before I got pregnant. I had to FORCE FEED myself to gain 15 lbs that my doctor ordered me to gain in three weeks. If I hadn’t, I would have weighed 25 lbs less… does that deserve a “fuck you” – I understand if you’ve struggled to lose weight your whole life it might be frustrating to see my slim figure carrying around a new baby but you have no idea what struggles I’ve had. So next time – keep your comments to yourself!

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kristi August 7, 2013 at 12:27 am

I don’t hate you, and I’m NOT a skinny mom!!! <3 I have to admit I've been a hater towards skinny moms….(JEALOUS) but my best friend, is a skinny mom, and I see how even though she is, she still HATES this or that about her body.

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Heather August 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

o man!! I can totally relate! I gained 25 pounds in my pregnancy and had to deal with comments at work for the last 3 months of pregnancy “are you eating?”, “you’re tiny! I gained like 60 pounds!”, “are you sure you’re 8 months pregnant..?” I eventually started lying to people and telling them I was 6 months when I was 8.5 months pregnant because I was so self conscious of my size. 1 week after giving birth I was in my old jeans, and never had to wear mat clothing. I was asked if I was the nanny at least 4 times and when I said no the mother and asked why would they think that?….they always said well you’re so skinny etc…. I never thought I would feel so self conscious about by body because I am fit and thin!!!

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me self August 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Seriously! This is your problem?! This…being skinny?! May God have mercy on your selfish soul. I pity your children, having to grow-up with such a self indulged mother. Get over yourself!

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Svea Boyda-Vikander August 8, 2013 at 1:52 am

I know, my poor kids, right?
Every morning I leave them wailing in their own filth so I can preen in front of the mirror.
Then I throw them a bag of potato chips and go online to make nasty, anonymous comments.

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Cady August 11, 2013 at 2:05 am

Dont worry dear, you’re not “self-indulged” for opening the eyes of some of us plus sized gals. I know I needed to hear this! Everybody has something they dont like: I want to be skinny, you want not to be looked down on for something you cant control, and “me self” here wishes she had friends. More power to ya! (By the way, LOVE your postpartum pic!)

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Maria August 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I really found this pretty uncomfortable reading to be honest.. Found that it was quite smug and slightly arrogant the way you spoke about getting served first, stared at by men, and that your where perceived as a good match to your husband, all due to being slim… Bizarre?! Does slim equal beautiful/attractive.
I also found the socio economy comment pretty condescending and rediculous, we are a low income family but I understand food and I am able to provide healthy balanced food for my family.
Do we have to be skinny to get approval, some pretty unhealthy attitudes and ideas in this piece?
There are plenty of attractive women who get lots attention from men who are not slim or skinny.
I get the general point about judgement from other mums if you stay super skinny but I still feel this article was quite unhealthy??

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Svea Boyda-Vikander August 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Maria,

Thank you for your feedback. My point in writing this article was to be real about the pressure and prejudices that women in America face today. I absolutely do not equate being slim with being attractive; but many, many people in this society do. Hatred towards women whose bodies do not fit the (evermore ridiculous) standards is all over the place – in the movies, the ‘fat’ friend is always the butt of the joke; Kim Kardashian gains a bit of weight and suddenly it’s the biggest news event; and on a daily basis, heavyset people are discriminated against in many small ways (including being passed over at the deli counter, or being pressured by one’s MIL to lose weight).

This bothers me. In fact, it enrages me. But I am not a full-bodied woman. So I can’t very well go online and claim to be an expert on these matters. What I am an expert on is my own experience. I can say, “This is the unfair advantage I have because of some random genetic and social thing. My experience of it is complicated.” Part of starting a discussion on these issues is acknowledging one’s own privilege and the ways that it gives one power. I’m not saying, “Oooh, it’s so great my MIL tells me I have great legs” (she doesn’t, that’s just an example). I’m saying, “It’s absurd that if I were overweight, certain members of my extended family would make fun of me behind my back.”

We can’t change things until we see them the way they are. In this society, in this time and in this place, the shape of my body has given me a heckuva leg up (even though: I am not my body!). It’s also been easy for people to project a very specific set of assumptions onto me (even though: I am not my body!). Both are issues that need to be addressed.

And about the socio-economic status thing: I’m sorry that it came across as condescending. You are absolutely right that many low-income families eat well (I grew up in one of them). But there are parts of America where that is just not possible. Some rural areas (and some inner cities) do not have grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or any point of access to fresh, unprocessed foods. In some places, it is more expensive to buy a good old-fashioned tomato than to buy a whole pizza. When I talk about body image and health in America, I will always take that into account.

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate the chance to explain myself more fully. This post was originally inspired by a comment someone left on another post; maybe I should do the same with yours. :)

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Maria August 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Thanks for your reply, it helped me understand your point of view and experiences more.. I think maybe it’s quite different for me and my friends here in the Uk… Most of my friends are SAHM and all eat real food and prepare from scratch wherever possible.. Some of us are skinny, some curvy and some bigger but it dosnt seem to be a really big deal…. It dosnt seem to effect how we are treated, how successful or not successful we are or how men find us attractive or not.. I mean obviously there are extremes and no doubt that can alter people’s appearance… I just think it’s so important not to equate success and beauty to skinny or slim and it’s difficult to do that when we talk about ourselves being treated better and being successful because we are thin???

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Ann August 9, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I so love this!!! I’m a small mother of 2, baby is 8 months. Someone told me the other day “you are wasting away.” I think she meant it as a compliment. People constantly ask me how much “extra” weight I’ve lost. I have no idea because I don’t have a scale and I don’t care! (Oh and even though I’m smallish, I still got stretch marks. Both pregnancies. Oh we’ll.)

Thank you for this!

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Hadley August 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

Thanks for posting this!! I’m 6 months pregnant now and still no bump. I started religiously taking belly shots since the day I found out I was pregnant so I could do as a lot of pregnant friends did and compare my growth week by week…. but after months and months of no change, its honestly gotten really old.

I know I’m “blessed” to be smaller. Less weight means less strain on my back so less pain. I can sleep fairly comfortable without belly in the way. And honestly if I’d never have announced my pregnancy, no one would ever have guessed. I still wear all my pre-pregnancy clothing. But in all reality its also hurtful because people are very inconsiderate of how I feel about my body. I’ve gotten MANY comments of “are you even eating?” and “are you gaining ANY weight?” which I AM. I’ve not changed my every day activities. I eat mostly the same minus a few food aversions. Someone will mention a pregnancy to me and I’ll chime in “Oh yeah I know how you feel!” and I’ll get dirty looks and people walk away.

Its upsetting that I’m 6 months pregnant and can’t even take real maternity pictures with my OH. And its really hurtful to act as if I’m lying about my pregnancy just because I didn’t pop as early as others. And its funny how people are so quick to defend pregnant women who gain loads of weight and are insecure, yet completely disregard how it feels to be on the other end of the spectrum.

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Svea Boyda-Vikander August 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Hadley,

Take some maternity pics! You can! You’re a mama and you have a beautiful little being growing inside.

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Dani Floyd August 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I tend to be all belly I’m pregnant, and I too was amazed at the negative reactions i received from other mothers. I remember walking through the store when i was pregnant with my first and then woman came up to me and said “you’re so beautiful, what are you? 4-5 months” and when I told her i was actually 2 weeks overdue I completely surprised by her look of disgust and the angry way she walked off. I’ve also noticed the same kind of thing from women who have really long labors when I say my first was only 7 hours. Does it really matter if your labor was 2 hours or 26? if you have a healthy baby why do you care how long it took him/her/them to get here. How does the amount of time I was labor or the amount of weight I gained/didn’t gain during MY pregnancy affect YOUR pregnancy? As moms she would be way more supportive of each other then we are. Being a mom is hard enough without other moms trying to bring you down especially over something that is so trivial. I support all moms, because at the end of the day you have no idea what that mom is going through in her life and a little support from another mommy can make a BIG difference.

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Michelle Abernathy August 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I’ve gained 40# during each of my 2 pregnancies. With my first I had HG and threw up for 7 months straight. I was swimming in maternity pants (normal pants were just uncomfortable around my belly), but I could still wear many of my pregnancy clothes until 40 weeks (went to 42). But I hated hearing “you’re so small”, “you’re HOW far along?”, “I didn’t even know you were pregnant!”. On the one hand, sure, no stretch marks. On the other hand, the nausea, vomiting, and heartburn I endured are not visible on my body either. I felt that I should love being pregnant, but the truth is I hated it. I still do. I just had my 2nd and I found a way to control the would-be-HG (it wasn’t HG this time). It still lasted 4 months, with food aversions lasting the entire pregnancy, but I gained more weight this time. Still the “you’re so small” comments, but I felt like a boat. And post-partm I haven’t lost the weight like I did the first time. So I’m having my own adjustment to my body, which people keep inadvertently shooting down by saying I’m so much smaller than they are/were while pregnant. I’m getting there. I don’t think about it most days – my body, that is. Just that people don’t always know what others are feeling. Just because I’m small by genetics (without starving or dieting or trying and while eating all the butter and cream and coconut oil I want) doesn’t mean I don’t, on occasion, struggle with my body image too.

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Terra August 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Thank you for this post! I too am a thin mom. I always wanted to look pregnant when I was but it took until month 7 with my first baby. I hate being called one of those “skinny *itches.” I am far from that. As women, we should never judge each other based on our size.

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Meagan Lane August 10, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Thank you for making me feel like its “ok” to be a teeny-weeny-itty-bitty,skinny mom of 2! I will no longer let others guilt me!

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Ashley August 10, 2013 at 9:28 pm

ya know, I haven’t really thought of it going the other way before. I have a habit of thinking that skinnier women have it easier. Which is ridiculous for me personally…I have an eating disorder and have been in treatment with lots of other women of all shapes and sizes. Nobody in that treatment center had it easy with their bodies. Im very accepting of women regardless of size but I think the deal with childbirth is that it does things to your body. A lot of women choose to hide their mommy figures due to negative comments received from people around them. Come to think of it, the moment a woman becomes pregnant the first thing that becomes gossip (after the word spreads about her pregnancy) is her size…(I think some people forget there is a growing/developing baby in there)
Every woman is different! And thats ok!
Thanks for your honest share!
<3

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Svea Boyda-Vikander August 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Ashley,

Thanks for sharing your story. I have a lot of love and respect for women who have looked the demons of eating disorders straight in the eye.

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Jessica August 10, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I am a woman who was obese class II and lost 95 lbs. I have never hated those skinnier than me. In a flip of genetics I was the largest of three sisters, my youngest sister naturally sits under her healthy BMI even. Maybe because I worked hard at self love I never equated my size with my worth or value. It upsets me now and upset me then when I would hear larger women speak in derogatory ways toward skinnier women. Even when I was obese I was annoyed at the implication that larger women were “real” and skinnier women were not, how is one more real than the other? I’m sorry you’ve been treated that way. Having battled and beaten my obesity I find myself in the odd place of now being criticized for having lost “too much” weight. When will women stop being their own worst enemies? Power to you Mamma.

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Melonie August 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I am six months pregnant with my first baby and I was doing just fine until my birth assistants told me straight up that I needed to gain more weight. I had just met them and we had not even discussed my eating habits or genetics. I don’t suppose the whole milk and the butter and the sprouted bread and the heavier appetite are enough to satisfy them. When I started caring about their “norms” is when I started going downhill for the first time in my health, experiencing the worry they expressed. But I know myself and my body and I forget how much I know myself at times. Your article was very timely. Thank you.

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