Thursday, August 1, 2013

Oh Shut Me Up! On Mummy Tummies

By Stacy Trasancos

When I first saw Kate’s post-partum baby bump, I barely gave it a passing thought. Yep, that’s how it looks. Yep, best not to try to hide it. Yep, she’s got one. I was actually shocked to see the media talking about it. You can read some of it here:

Is Kate Middleton’s ‘mummy tummy’ coverage disrespectful to women?

At least not everyone’s criticizing her, but some fashionistas went too far wondering about how long it will take for her to get that “bod” back. Young mothers hear this and it cements a false idea of beauty. Those early days of new motherhood are difficult enough, for any woman, royalty or not. Muscles stretched for 38-40 weeks do not just snap back into place in a few days.

I have several little books that are supposed to inspire new mothers, little collections of advice. I remember one comment from an author that made me so sad, and it stuck with me for all four full-term pregnancies after that. It was supposed to be funny, but it wasn’t.

“Before you have the baby you are full of life, big and round. After you have the baby, you’re just big and round.” -Some Clueless Mom

I had to work each time to counter that negative feeling in the emotional days that follow childbirth. The way your body looks is disconcerting, and there are a million other things that require adjustment — your hormones, the 100% dependency of the detached baby whose quiet and calm days in the womb are over, the struggles with nursing, the loss of sleep, the needs of the other children, the relationship with your husband. There is plenty to make a woman feel like a failure, focusing on a bump is just…stupid.

Childbirth is just one part of the miracle of motherhood. There’s a new little soul that first lived in your womb. Even the ones that live there and die before birth, they are always a part of you. The gift of a child is everlasting. Once it begins, it never, ever ends. Motherhood is large, larger than life.

Mothers are not just “bodies” but whole persons capable of bringing forth and nurturing children. Bumps come and go. (Sometimes they stay.) It’s the virtues we pursue in the Christian life. We strive to be beautiful on the inside and out, to live a life growing in charity so we can be happy with God in Heaven forever. A mother’s job is to lead her children to eternal joy and safety. I guess that sounds cliché to some, but it’s the truth.

So all the critics of Kate’s bump can just shut up and get real already. Feminism? Try again ladies. Here’s my little show of support. Look — a post-partum baby bump! Who cares? Yep, that’s where babies grow. Did the critics think babies are grown and delivered by magic or something?

She’s 9 years old now and my hair is back to its real color. Life goes on…

Stacy Trasancos, Ph.D. is a chemist turned homemaker and joyful convert to Catholicism who is currently pursuing an MA in Theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. She is Editor-in-Chief of Catholic Stand and Ignitum Today, and writes often about science and theology. Follow Stacy's blog, where this article originally appeared, at

1 comment:

  1. Life goes on, and our babies grow up. My babies are now having babies of their own, and my "bumps" still haven't really disappeared. However, God thinks I'm beautiful, and so does my husband. That's all that matters. Thanks for the perspective.


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