We need to talk about the language around pregnancy. It’s a problem. From blooming to glowing, the very words associated with pregnant bodies pile on the pressure.
The world is obsessed with how women look. We’re so often bombarded with images of thin, youthful bodies dehumanized for advertising and pawed over for news content. While the woman in the picture may change, the body is usually the same: young, slim and Caucasian. So, it’s no wonder that pregnant women can struggle to see their bodies changing at a rapid rate away from this learned ideal. Call it peer pressure or ingrained sexism, it’s a real problem.
‘Hi old body 👋🏽 I’ll see you very soon! I promise’ Khloe Kardashian decried on Instagram, driving home the point with a wailing emoji. She’s not alone in missing her pre-pregnancy physique.
‘That the "pregnancy glow" is a fucking myth. The reality is spots, exhaustion, a throbbing coccyx, hormonal migraines, a three month aversion to vegetables and chronic constipation.' Pandora Sykes divulged in an article titled ‘The Things No One Tells You About Being Pregnant’.
Sykes has been forthcoming on her Instagram about the trials of carrying a child has on the mother-to-be’s body. She’s joked it feels like ’18 months of pregnancy’ and that she’s ’Settling in for my 88th trimester’. She’s not the only one for Leandra Medine (of Man Repeller) has documented how her limbs have ballooned, how her clothes no longer fit her and how this supposedly special moment in a woman’s life is lined with rarely talked about woes.
While Sykes and Kardashian are not alone in their mixed feelings about their gestating figures, their careers evidently exasperate the feelings. Khloe has an empire built around the ‘Revenge Body’, which requires her to propagate the idealised slim, toned body. And, Sykes as a fashion editor and commentator with 190,000 Instagram followers watching her every sartorial step is equally required by the world-at-large to fit into a standardized shape if only to be able to wear the brands and clothes she so often talks about. That said, the debate is open and now is the time for more women to discuss what it’s really to be pregnant without the shackles of language weighing on them.