mommyrexia

In September 2004, New York Magazine published a piece on the “perfect pregnancy.” They cited a Johns Hopkins study revealing that 21% of the women in the study engaged in “weight-restrictive behavior” during their pregnancy and fasted before doctors visits in order to weigh less at the time of their exam.

Just a note about those women suffering from eating disorders: conversely, these women tend to control their eating disordered symptoms during pregnancy, as their focus becomes more on the baby and away from themselves. In fact, oftentimes, women who suffer from eating disorders are more able to resist their eating disordered behaviors for the sake of the baby.

Recently there seems to be more and more discussion about “mommyrexia” being a new trend in pregnancy. I’ve heard about it from lots of people, on the internet, in magazines and on the news. It seems what Johns Hopkins revealed in their study has dramatically increased. While I have not heard statistics to back it up, what I have seen are magazine covers and articles splashed with photos of very thin celebrities who maintain most of their shape throughout their pregnancy (other than the baby bump) and then, seemingly overnight, make dramatic changes washing away any evidence that they even went through a pregnancy. I’ve heard about pregnancy exercise boot camps, and I’ve heard great fear from many women about gaining pregnancy weight and a lot of pre-planning on how to lose it quickly after giving birth.

There’s something very wrong when we begin to view the beauty and magnificence of pregnancy as something to be controlled and manipulated. In addition to the physical detriment this imposes on both the mother and the baby, this type of societal expectation and personal pressure cuts self-esteem at the knees. It riddles an otherwise beautiful experience with anxieties and fears about not doing pregnancy “right.” Why are we celebrating women who barely look pregnant? What do you think about all of this?

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About Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS

Jodi graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY at New Paltz and earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University. In addition to over a decade of work as an LCSW and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist with individuals, families and groups in her private practice, Jodi is a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer and created Destructively Fit®, a training that addresses eating disorders within the fitness industry. She is a former director of Day Treatment at The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders and a founding member of Metropolitan Psychotherapy and Family Counseling Practice. Jodi also specializes in infertility and has served on the Clinical Advisory Board of Seleni Institute since its inception. Jodi is the creator of a curriculum on eating disorders for the Graduate School of Social Work at New York University and has been teaching this course, as well as guest lecturing in the NYU Post-Master’s Program, since 2007. Jodi actively lectures and teaches students, families and professionals throughout the metropolitan area about the etiology, prevention, treatment, assessment and work with eating disorders. Through psychotherapy and supportive work with adolescents, adults and families, Jodi works to create a secure sense of self, increased self-esteem and a healthy relationship with self and others. She works with an eclectic person-centered approach and tailors her practice techniques to the unique needs of each individual. Please feel free to contact Jodi directly in her Greenwich Village office, 212.529.5811. View all posts by Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS

2 responses to “mommyrexia

  • Linda Corradina

    Hey Jodi, I think your onto something here. In my humble opinion, as the mother of three healthy daughters,The best way to get in shape after pregnancy is to go into pregnancy in good shape. (physically and mentally) Once you are lucky enough to be pregnant, just listen to your body and it tells you what you need. It’s important to keep moving, swimming, walking, doing yoga, dancing etc. But to starve yourself and your baby is insane! Pregnancy is wonderful and it’s thrilling to see nature essentially invade your body. You become a vessel and all you can do is be good to yourself and your baby by giving it the food and the rest that it calls for. Nature does the rest. I gained 40 pounds with each pregnancy. Today, maybe doctors would say that is too much. I’m not sure. I lost half of that weight within days after having the baby. The other 20 pounds takes a full year to come off. The great thing is that you shouldn’t care. Because when you are holding your baby against your chest or on your shoulder, no one is looking at your belly or your ass. It’s all about the beautiful contented baby you produced, because you were good to yourself and your body before, during and after pregnancy.

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