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When I was pregnant I wrote my "Diary of a Pregnancy" for a magazine and took part in a photo shoot to illustrate the story. Fun, I thought, I’ll get some great pics.
Ahem.Three hours of sticking my bloated feet into strappy heels as I tried to balance and pose and smile and remember to keep my chin up for fear of double chins, while stamping a hand on my waist for "skinny arm" and turning to one side to try and create an illusion of a slim silhouette, the photographer said to me,
"Come on, gimme sexy, think sexy, gimme sexy!"
"Listen!" I snapped, "the last thing I feel right now is sexy."
Because honestly, who feels sexy while pregnant, when your feet are aching and all you want to do is lie down? If you did, then props to you! I don’t know how you managed it and please can you share your secret?
Sure, I felt great – healthy, happy, glowing from within, I had a fantastic pregnancy. But sexy? Nope.
And to think he actually believed the hype.
"Oh," he said, surprised, "I thought all pregnant women felt sexy."
He’s lucky I didn’t sit on his camera.
It’s the proliferation of this thought that not only do we have to make the baby, which is hard enough as it is with our bodies working overtime, pumping more than two-thirds extra blood through our systems as we create a human being (yes, that’s right, we’re making the babies folks, as well as carrying them) but now we have to be sexy while doing it?
Give me a break!
It doesn’t stop at pregnancy either. It continues, right into motherhood. The idea that on roughly two or three hours sleep we’re going to feel awake enough in the morning to go for a run/put on an "outfit"/make up our face/style our hair. I was at the hospital when my male best friend said to me "So Neds, when are you getting your body back?"
In the first few weeks, most women I know are lucky enough to have a shower, let alone get their yummy mummy on. Sure, that fog clears eventually and we have time to get back to our sense of self, but the whole expectation from society that we’re supposed to be these mythological creatures, these "yummy mummies" who sexily swathe our way through pregnancy whilst instantly losing weight afterwards, looking supremely fabulous, easily carrying a baby on one hip and juggling a three course dinner on the other, is quite simply ridiculous.
We can blame, and I do, all those celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Alessandra Ambrosio for perpetuating the myth that women can snap into yummy mumminess in the blink of an eye, but it more likely due to the fold of a few thousand dollars in personal chefs, nannies and personal trainers that make the transition look instant. And that’s not real life.
Yummy mummy? Maybe in a few months. Right now it’s a good day for me if I can brush my hair without finding banana in it.
Nedahl is the former Editor–in-Chief of Cleo magazine, Deputy Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and is now the director of fashion website cocolee.com.au. She writes for Shop Til you Drop, Madison, Cosmopolitan Pregnancy amongst others and can be seen regularly as a commentator on A Current Affair, Today Tonight and Sunrise.
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