Even the ‘Most Beautiful Woman’ in the World Could Not Escape the Pressures of Losing Baby Weight Fast. Image Credit: ABC News

There used to be a time when you would see pictures of only celebrity moms holding their newborn baby in their arms, while flaunting their new mom thighs in their size 2 skinny jeans, just weeks after having given birth.

I want to say this phenomenon of blinking and losing baby weight began with superhuman Supermodel, Heidi Klum who pops out babies and then rushes back to the Victoria Secret runway. But really who can trace back the exact time people became this shallow?

We used to only expect this kind of crazy fast weight loss from famous people because well, they weren’t really considered as human as the rest of us. When in the blink of an eye moms like Jessica Alba and Victoria Beckham would bounce back to their pre-baby weight, we would think, “Wow, that is only possible for famous people.”

After Much Scrutiny, The New Mom Makes Her First Appearance in Cannes, France After Giving Birth to Her Daughter. Image Credit: Beauty Diverse

Well, times have changed. Somewhere between celebrities speaking more directly to their audience via social media platforms, and our booming reality TV culture, the boundaries between ordinary people and famous people got blurred.

Now not only do we expect celebrities to show no evidence of having grown a human being in their body, we expect the same of ourselves. The price of failure? Scrutiny and shame. While regular folks suffer in the hands of friends and family, celebrities suffer in our hands. Case in point: Bollywood icon and one of the world’s most beautiful women, Aishwariya Rai.

When Rai failed to drop her pregnancy pounds fast enough for her fans, the wrath unleashed upon her was loud and clear. The news even made headlines beyond India in Western press. Ironically, the disappointment and disgust people seemed to direct at Rai demonstrated more about ourselves than it revealed about her.

Before & After: Aishwariya Angered Fans by Reminding Them She is Human. Image Credit: Flickr

Columnist, Shobha Dee, attempted to explain the intense scrutiny against Rai  in India by explaining that “Aishwarya is like a goddess. She is held up as the ideal of beauty and so there is an expectation for her to look perfect at all times.”

The sad fact is not only has our obsession with quick weight loss post-partum gone global, but the whole point of motherhood is getting skewed by our focus on how skinny you get and how fast. If this much pressure is put on us to lose weight, where is the time to celebrate what we have just accomplished? In case you had any doubts, giving birth is no easy task, people!

I remember looking at the mirror for the first time at my Caesarean scar, feeling the thick, pink flesh, the light purple stretch marks tracing the sides of my hips. I quietly laughed at the thought, and cost, of countless bottles of anti-stretch mark creams and oils I endlessly applied on myself during my pregnancy.

If Aishwariya Suffered Such Level of Intense Scrutiny, None of Us Are Safe. Image Credit: Flickr

For a moment, I felt ashamed and sorry for myself. I mourned the body I had when I was 23. When I caught myself internalizing everything society tells women to be after becoming mothers, and compared it with the reality of having a child, I consciously turned my shame into pride.

I reminded myself that the changes in my body were beautiful because they were scars from the journey my body took to have my daughter. I made myself feel beautiful, and more importantly, I allowed myself to indulge in the strength of being a woman. I love that feeling.

Every time someone told me I still had weight to lose, or every time I caught myself holding a picture of myself in my 20’s, I reminded myself that nine months ago, I did not have a baby.  I also remind myself that everything in my life has completely changed since I became a mom. My whole manner of thinking has altered, and for the better.

Yes, my hips are definitely bigger, but so is my heart. Growing a human being in your body and then focusing all your energy into losing weight after you give birth is not only unrealistic for the mass majority of us, but it is also unhealthy. Women should be congratulated after giving birth, not chided for how our bodies have changed.

Sadly, after watching what we have put one of the world’s most famous women through, the fact is that no woman is safe from suffering the same fate as Aishwariya.

*This post of mine was also published on Forbes Woman.

8 comments

  1. Brilliant post!
    Can’t agree more with all that you have written.

    I have to add, the reaction to the post-baby Aishwarya has accentuated a tenacious social approach too, found most evidently in the India-Pakistan region.
    One that obsesses with and asserts psychological pressure on the point of physical characteristics, especially that of a woman: her weight, height, complexion. With complete disregard to the natural processes that she goes through and the biological and hormonal changes that ensue.

    1. Thank you, Hafsa! I agree. The hormonal and biological changes your body goes through are completely disregarded. It is critical we put the emphasis back on the health of mother & child, not the weight of the new mom. Thanks for reading my work!

  2. I usually don’t keep up with Indian cinema, and admittedly sometimes go out of my way to ignore friends’ posts about that Indian actress or this love story, but all the hype about “fat” Aishwarya had spread to such an extant that I couldn’t avoid it anymore. The news apps on Facebook had articles about her trending, with pictures highlighting where the fat was, and where it should not be. That first article took me to another talking about how worried designers were about “dressing her presentably” – these are the same designers that would clamor to dress the thin, super-successful Aishwarya.

    Then there was one about Christina Aguilera as a judge on The Voice UK about how she’s gained so much weight. She was confronted with disapproving remarks and strongly commented that she loved her body and felt no insecurities.

    Not all women can be so confident, and no woman should have to be confident in the face of such unjustified criticism. Many would do well to remember that they too were the cause of such “weight gain” for their mothers.

    Great post, btw 🙂

  3. Anushay, I found your blog through an alum, and just love it. I couldn’t agree more; why so much disregard for the natural process of bearing children? We’re in such an age of overriding nature with science such as diet pills, that we no longer recognize a natural process when it slaps us in the face!

  4. Anushay, I love reading your blog. I was good friends with your sister and family in DC and visited your home in Dhaka when you were a baby. It is so wonderful to read your blog now and I revel in what an intelligent and insightful woman you have become!

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