Too pregnant-looking, not pregnant-looking enough – it seems expecting mums just can't get it right in the media's eyes.
Case in point: the bipolar treatment of Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton's pregnant bodies.
Both women are due in July, and yet their figures look nothing alike. The logical conclusion is that these are two women who had vastly different body shapes to begin with – but why let that spoil everyone's fun?
In recent weeks, Kim's "baby weight" has been the subject of relentless and, in most cases, downright cruel scrutiny from the media and general public. Sensationalist headlines and memes comparing her to a whale only skim the surface of the vitriol aimed at Kim's voloptuous (and may we remind you – pregnant) figure.
Now, it's Kate's turn to have her body analysed – only she's copping the opposite end of the stick.
According to the Daily Mail, the sight of Kate's baby bump – or "lack" thereof – during a public appearance recently prompted comparisons to other famous mums-to-be at the same stage of their pregnancies – all of whom had more prominent stomachs. So apparently there is such thing as not looking 'pregnant enough'. Deep breaths.
From the Daily Mail:
"According to experts, Kate’s tiny bump is by no means a cause for concern, and could be the result of anything from her slim, muscular physique to the position of the baby in the womb. Simon Mehigan, consultant midwife at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, explains that smaller bumps are common in first pregnancies and are more an indicator of the woman’s body shape than anything about the baby itself.
‘It’s Kate’s first baby, so she’s going to have good abdominal muscles, meaning everything will be held in nice and tightly,’ he says.
‘It’s not unusual for women to not show very much during their first pregnancy.'"
Rather than being just another stage of a woman's life, pregnancy has somehow become a competitive sport. How did this happen? Mia Freedman writes on Mamamia:
"Pregnant women shouldn’t play competitive sport. Most health professionals say so. Except that pregnancy itself has become a competitive sport. And you have no choice but to play for nine long months.
There are many individual categories: Who Got Pregnant Most Easily; Most Weight Gained; Least Weight Gained, Most Unpleasant Pregnancy Symptoms; Size and Shape Of Bump; Best Pregnancy Wardrobe; Sexiest Pregnancy; Least Pregnant-Looking Pregnant Person. And that's before you even give birth …
It wasn’t always like this. Pregnancy used to be treated with a kind of twee, condescending reverence. Women wore shapeless smocks with childish bows, as if they worked at Darrell Lea. On the 50s TV show I Love Lucy, the word ‘pregnant’ was banned because it was deemed too crass and Lucille Ball’s “expectant” character and her husband had to sleep in twin beds. They were, however, allowed to smoke. Priorities.
Up until a few decades ago, pregnant women were treated like fragile, docile, facile creatures. There’s no nostalgia for that but at least they got a rest from the relentless pressure to be sexy that today, starts pretty much at primary school.
Now, not only do you have to be sexy when you’re pregnant, impossibly, you also have to be thin. Not your tummy. Well, not entirely. So long as you’re thin everywhere else and just look like you have a small netball stuck under your shirt, that’s OK. You must also glow and look yummy. A yummy pre-mummy."
Have you ever received comments about your figure during pregnancy? Do you think it's anybody's business?