Bravo, Jennifer Garner!

Published: October 15, 2014
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Like Jennifer Garner, more celebrities should come out with a normal body image and diversify the definition of beauty and fitness. PHOTO: REUTERS

Jennifer Garner just did something wonderful, not just for herself, but for women globally. She accepted and celebrated her ‘baby bump’ and made the lives of her millions of followers easy.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, she graciously accepted,

“Yes I have a ‘baby bump’. Hold up, I am not pregnant, but I’ve had three kids and there is a ‘bump’. From now on ladies, I will have a ‘bump’ and it will be my ‘baby bump’ and, let’s just all settle in and get used to it, it’s not going anywhere.”

Her statement provoked an instant uproar, laughter and approval from the audience in the studio and confirmed the fact that she had struck a chord with mothers globally. All of us heaved a sigh of relief; if Jennifer Garner can have bit of tummy flab and accept its perpetual existence as part of motherhood then why can’t we?

The question raised here is crucial to the happiness of the new mothers around the world. Yes, the first myth buster is that there is something else important in a new mother’s life, other than her precious baby, and that is her own body. Procreating a life starts a slurry of changes in a woman’s body and no matter how cute that bump looks in the pregnancy months , it is the first thing to be scrutinised and criticised once she has given birth.

All those extra fats and flags are expected to disappear like hideous symptoms once the cause has been treated. God forbid, if you don’t manage to come out clean then you are instantly judged as too lame to be careful of your pregnancy diet, to realise this problem and too lazy to leave the couch and hit the gym. No one cares about the cyclone of emotions heaving wreckage inside her and making it impossible to assimilate the expected pace.

The media plays a huge part in setting unrealistic body statistics and standards for new mothers. Here comes Victoria Beckham, straight out of hospital as if nothing has happened. The bump, along with other hideous symptoms, just vanished. Let’s see who the trainer was and how successfully he brought her back to ‘normal’.

Alessandra Corine Ambrósio, a Brazilian model, is a mother of two yet she is ranked as one of the most successful Victoria Secret models. You see no baby residue there. All these ladies must be super healthy and super successful but what about the horrific beauty standards they are setting for average women.

“Look if Gisele Caroline Bündchen can do it then why can’t you?” Hence implying you are too incapable to catch up.

These larger than life beauty standards play a pivotal part in postpartum depression. The young mother naively expects to return to her pre-baby shape soon after the baby’s birth and the first time she stands up on her feet, the full length mirror shatters all her expectations. The baby has come into the world but her body shows no sign of it. It might vary genetically and physiologically but mostly the body ends up with stubborn baby fat. The father is sprightly and gets the parenting status without any body changes which makes it impossible for him to understand the trauma his wife is going through. Your body image faces a severe shock. You don’t feel beautiful anymore and this is where the vicious cycle of baby blues spirals.

In order to make happy mothers and let women enjoy the best time of their lives, we must create acceptance for all body types. Beauty is a diverse idea and by confining it to the media and the beauty industry’s defined rules, we are battering the souls of numerous new mothers. Like Jennifer Garner, more celebrities should come out with a normal body image and diversify the definition of beauty and fitness.

Fatima Majeed

Fatima Majeed

An avid reader, freelance writer and home-maker.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.