Two gorgeous celebrity mums, Blake Lively and Anne Hathaway, have spoken out recently about accepting their post- and during-pregnancy bodies, and while I appreciate the gesture, I’m not sure all of us normal mums can truly relate. Blake Lively, currently preggo with baby #2, recently told Sunrise, “I think a woman’s body after having a baby is pretty amazing. You don’t have to have be Victoria’s Secret-ready right away, because you’ve just done this incredible miracle that life has to offer. You gave birth to a human being! I would really like to see that celebrated.”
You see, that’s nice and all, but this was on the heels of an exchange about high-intensity workouts that got Lively bikini-ready for a film a mere eight months after giving birth. And I get it. She’s a woman, too. Her body definitely changed to during pregnancy. But even though she’s trying to be nice to “normal mums” plagued by awkward rolls of post-baby fat, unable to pawn the baby off on someone else to get a yoga class in, her sentiment doesn’t necessarily make me feel better. She, essentially, got paid to get back in shape and goes into her second pregnancy with the promise of nannies and personal trainers at the other end of it. Thanks, Blake, but I still feel kind of crappy about the way I look in a bikini 21 months postnatal. You look amazing, and that’s great. But we don’t relate to each other. Sorry.
Then there’s Anne Hathaway, who became a mummy in March. I’m a big fan of hers and always have been, but even when she played awkward Mia Thermopolis in her breakout role in The Princess Diaries, the girl has always been perfect-looking. She recently posted a snap on Instagram showing a pair of jeans she’s cut at the knee because last year’s shorts are “just too dang short for this summer’s thighs,” going on to say, “Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink. It’s all love (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.) Peace xx #noshame #lovewhatyouhavebeengiven” and she’s on to something. Really. But I’m not buying the bit about her thighs for a minute.
Anne Hathaway doesn’t know that we used to live on the same block in Brooklyn. I saw her willowy legs in breezy sundresses and (yes) adorable cut-offs all the time, and believe me when I tell you that no post-baby changes could make those long, toned legs any less enviable. Plus, I’m doing the maths and if her baby was born in March, that means she got pregnant around June of last year. I don’t know about all mums everywhere, but my thighs thickened right up in my first trimester. Not Anne’s, apparently.
I don’t mean to sound bitter. In fact, I truly appreciate that pregnancy is so celebrated now in the public, more than ever before. When I was pregnant with my little girl two years ago, my mum couldn’t get over how many maternity fashion choices I had. When she was having her babies in the ’80s, the clothes were awful, and I’m guessing that our celebrity fashion culture has something to do with all the stylish maternity clothes on the racks these days.
And I get it — Blake, Anne, and all of Hollywood’s new mummies who’ve experienced changes in their bodies feel the impact just like us all. But that’s where the similarities end, and so I have a rough time accepting the whole “love your new body” words of wisdom when they come from a source who can’t relate to what so many “normal” new mums deal with.
After my C-section, I couldn’t work out for eight weeks. By that point, my husband was long-since back to work. It was the dead of winter, we had no family nearby to help out with the baby, and I was breastfeeding a cluster-feeder, so even with a sitter it would have been nearly impossible to start a workout routine. Dinner consisted of whatever randoms scraps of freezer food we could pull together that I could eat with one hand. I never slept, so my energy was low. In short, I was a new mum. My squishy midsection and newly touching thighs were hardly something I accepted — I hated them, but I simply didn’t have the time, energy, or resources to transform my body to its former glory.
Now that I’ve exited Newbornville and have an active toddler on my hands, workouts are easier and so is meal prep. I’m back in (most of) my old jeans and I’ve (sort of) come to appreciate the fact that after giving birth to a nine-pounder at 40 weeks 1 day, the chances of my former abs returning in this lifetime are slim-to-none. I’m working on accepting the changes, which post-baby also included severe acne and hair loss, neither of which I was emotionally prepared for. And I’m learning, day by day and month by month, to adjust to new styles that flatter my body while figuring out how to feel attractive again. But it sure isn’t easy.
I agree with Blake and Anne that new mums should feel proud of what their bodies have accomplished. After all, pregnancy is a means to a very beautiful end, and I wouldn’t trade my daughter for my former body — or any celebrity’s bikini bod, either. But I just have a hard time accepting that celebs “get it” because their lives are just so different from ours. From the nannies and personal assistants to private trainers and chefs, they can shoot for empathy all they want, but at the end of the day they just don’t know what it’s like to come back from pregnancy without all that help.
So while I appreciate the sentiment, I’d rather hear it from a girlfriend, whether post-spin class over detoxifying veggie juice or on a lazy Sunday with a well-earned plate of cheese fries between us. Since we’re accepting our bodies and all. I’ll say this though — they both look amazing. Anne, post-babe and Blake, now pregnant again. Forgive me the stings of jealousy. After all, I’m only human.
More from celeb mums: