Monday, October 3, 2022
HomeOpinionWe’re all to blame for mums’ baby bod guilt, says Ulrika Jonsson

We’re all to blame for mums’ baby bod guilt, says Ulrika Jonsson

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FORMER Strictly dancer Ola Jordan said she was nervous about posting a picture of herself online in a bikini with a fuller, post-baby body.

She said she is horrified and shocked about her larger figure and feels she has “let herself go”.

Former Strictly dancer Ola Jordan said she was nervous about posting this picture of herself online in a bikini with a fuller, post-baby body

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Former Strictly dancer Ola Jordan said she was nervous about posting this picture of herself online in a bikini with a fuller, post-baby bodyCredit: Instagram
Meanwhile, in some glamorous foreign holiday location, Chloe Madeley poses naked and heavily pregnant

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Meanwhile, in some glamorous foreign holiday location, Chloe Madeley poses naked and heavily pregnantCredit: instagram

Meanwhile, in some glamorous foreign holiday location, Chloe Madeley poses naked and heavily pregnant.

Nervous, too, about posting a shot of her changed body shape, Chloe stated she can’t wait to return to training post-pregnancy and get back in trim.

What a jarring dichotomy to have one woman burdened by an inability to get her former body back and another chomping at the bit to redefine her bigger shape.

Madeley was anxious about posting her picture because she was clear she did not want people to think she was promoting a need and obligation for women to revert to shape after pregnancy.

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Physical training is obviously as much part of her life as teeth cleaning is for the rest of us.

I applaud her for that but feel bad that she felt the need to justify herself.

I was also saddened by Ola’s comments because a lot of women will identify with that enormous battle of the post-pregnancy bulge. I found it a struggle.

What makes it worse is that Ola feels horrified and shocked by her larger figure and doubts she will ever get her dancing body back — acknowledging she finds it hard to accept who she is now.

We’re all to blame for Ola’s negative thoughts. We’ve all become so utterly obsessed with body sizes and shapes; with perfection; with labelling and judging. It’s all so wrong and horribly damaging.

The burden of constantly evaluating their weight disproportionately affects women.

Women are judged more harshly than men. No doubt about it.

Ola’s body has gone through so much over the past three years — being pregnant and giving birth.

But despite being incredibly fit before her daughter Ella came along in February 2020, she can’t seem to find her way back to her former svelte self.

And to be quite honest, if a dancer is struggling, what hope is there for us mere mortals?

I’ve endured four pregnancies. Yes, I say endured because I was definitely not a “yummy mummy”. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant. I gained three and a half stone during my last one and life seemed quite unbearable. I couldn’t wait to get the baby out because I wanted to lose the cumbersome weight.

But I never rushed. No matter how much I looked in the mirror and hated how big I was post-natally, at no time did I starve myself.

I was even able to bat away any subliminal societal pressure to “get back into shape” because I always had the rule that it took nine months to put the weight on, so it will take at least the same amount of time to come off.

What I did find infuriating at the time, however, was those bloody women who looked like they had swallowed a broad bean at the end of pregnancy and then swiftly snapped into their size 8 jeans as soon as the placenta had been delivered.

I was also saddened by Ola’s comments because a lot of women will identify with that enormous battle of the post-pregnancy bulge. I found it a struggle.

The sight of women like that made me feel terrible about myself and lowered my self-esteem dangerously.

It was my mistake to compare my body and my metabolism to theirs and it was society’s fault for praising and crediting those women with an ability I seemingly didn’t have.

The irony of Ola feeling bad because she can’t find her way back to her former figure and Chloe being desperate to do so, and both feeling anxious about expressing it, is not lost on me.

Why should we have to pussy-foot around like this — be scared to state what and how we feel about our bodies?

Why can’t we just be accepted as people rather than constantly assessing our bodies for public approval?

The point is I’m imploring people to stop constantly referring to and commenting on women’s body shapes.

I’ve been wholly guilty of having had preconceived ideas about sizes and ­judging my own body in the past.

But the truth is we all need a massive shift in mindset.

As I wrote here earlier this week, collectively we need to find a way forward where we look at women for who they are and not what shape or age they are.

If we normalise the sight of differing body shapes, maybe, just maybe, we will stop commenting and judging.

For all those women who have been busy getting themselves “beach body ready” these past few months, leave behind the strain of that societal obligation and remember: You were born ready.

GRAFTER STACEY SO INSPIRING

WELL, who’d have thought it? When we first saw Stacey Solomon on The X Factor in 2009, she was a sweet, funny, talented and slightly kooky young woman from Essex.

She had talent, that was for sure, but her backstory was one of a girl who had become pregnant at 17 and given birth to her first child at 18. She was a single mum.

Stacey Solomon finally married the love of her life, actor Joe Swash last weekend

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Stacey Solomon finally married the love of her life, actor Joe Swash last weekendCredit: Instagram/@staceysolomon

Four years later, she had her second child by another man.

And, to that end, most probably considered her life to be over.

She would have been written off by many – most of all those who think that if you have children when you’re young (God forbid, by different men, too) – accidentally or planned – you’re stoopid and you’re resigned to the bin of life full of losers and failures.

I’m sure she could easily have chosen not to become a mum at such a tender age – and instead showed blind ambition and pursued a musical career.

But Stacey clearly followed her heart. And being a mother appears to be at the very core of everything she does. She is now the proud mum of four and stepmum of one.

All the while, juggling motherhood with what has turned out to be a highly successful and lucrative media career and finally marrying the love of her life, actor Joe Swash last weekend.

She’s making millions. She’s a grafter and a mum.

And she is a stark reminder that women are surprisingly versatile, capable and multi-dimensional.

Wonder what all those people who dismissed her are thinking now?

SHOES-OFF IS SHOO-IN AT MY HOUSE

FIRST World Problem No459: Do you ask house guests to take their shoes off when they come in?

This is the hot and highly contentious issue raging on Mumsnet, apparently.

I run a strict 'shoes off' policy and have no hesitation in telling people to take off their shoes

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I run a strict ‘shoes off’ policy and have no hesitation in telling people to take off their shoesCredit: Shutterstock

I wouldn’t know, I’m not a Mumsnetter.

But one woman threw a grenade into the mix, dividing mums nattering about stuff and nonsense by asking whether it was the right thing to do because her home has cream carpets.

Well, everyone was up in arms. Who’d have thought such a simple act could be so divisive?

Asking people in the first place is the height of madness, said some – highly “unwelcoming” said others. Many said it was a class thing – the lower and working class are more likely to take their shoes off than the middle class. WHAT?

Where has all this nonsense come from? Surely it’s a practicality thing?

I run a strict “shoes off” policy and have no hesitation in telling people to take off their dirty, outdoor footwear when they venture into my house.

I take pride in my home. Cleanliness and tidiness are of utmost importance.

In fact, in many cases I joke to first-time visitors that they might want to think about wearing matching socks before they arrive because “dem’s da rules”.

Having said that, of course, being the obsessive, judgmental person   I am, I have been to many filthy homes where the best rule is to take your shoes off when you leave the house.

SUCH A CLASSY CAUSE

I’M sure we’d all like to bring an end to snobbery – and if the British Psychological Society gets its way, equality laws would include social class.

It claims children are at particular risk of being judged in school, and the working class are often discriminated against by doctors and in the workplace.

Children should not be discriminated against, whatever their background

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Children should not be discriminated against, whatever their backgroundCredit: Getty

It is looking to outlaw the condemnation and belittling of anyone due to their social standing because a person’s social class should be protected under law in much the same way as race and religion.

This is all well and good.

The UK is, after all, obsessed with class.

Coming as I did from an almost wholly egalitarian country where the vast majority would view themselves as middle class, I never understood this peculiar but very real snobbery.

I quickly learnt that it was best to lower the evaluation of your class and actually, you were more likely to be considered and taken seriously if you were lower and working class because somehow you were seen as more real; more in touch and more of a grafter.

And a grafter I certainly am.

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Obviously this would also slot nicely in with the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

That does somehow beg the question of what we do about “inverted snobbery”, when people are denigrated or vilified purely based on their upper class ways and poshness.





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