“From being a vegetarian throughout pregnancy to working out at the gym three days over my due date, I had quite a lot of looks and judgement from day one, but the second I found out I was pregnant (which was a complete shock) I decided I would always maintain me. I probably became quite defiant in trying to prove people wrong, and every "you can't do that..." just spurred me on to do it even more, especially when it came to the topic of travelling like I used to before I became a mum...why couldn't I? Six months on and more hurdles are met. The pressure of weaning to guidelines the older generation don't understand (and the word stupid being used when I refused to introduce solids until 6 months). The pressures from work when I changed my maternity from 6 to 9 months (and the guilt and stress that followed), but I will always follow my instinct because nothing is right or wrong, it is what works for you and makes YOU happy.” Sarah
Through the traditional media, and even more so with social media, we have created this virtual bond with celebrities as if we know them personally. A lot of people believe everything they see or hear, even when it sounds so false. It’s a trust we have embedded into the celebrity title. This is why celebrities have become so influential across the world.
A few years ago, I came across an article about the model Chrissy Teigen. She had gone out not long after her baby was born and received a lot of backlash. Surely women can decide when they’re ready to move out of the house? We all recover differently. Another headline that shocked me was reading that Kim Kardashian was having a breakdown over not getting her body back into shape post- birth. It didn’t come across as a real article with Kim’s actual words and the pictures were of her eating an ice cream, as though the media were taunting her. I always wonder how celebrities like these two ladies cope with the stress that comes with media headlines about their parenting styles or body image, surely it must be tough.
I grew up in the era of the Spice Girls. They were the ‘in’ image of what women looked and behaved like. To me, each Spice Girl represented a different personality, especially with the clothes they wore. I loved the diversity of the five ladies. Their words, girl power image, behaviour and powerful choices filled me with hope that the world was accepting about who you are and your beliefs. It wasn’t until my own motherhood journey began that I realised that the girl power message isn’t always accepted or welcomed.
In my early motherhood years I would read about celebrity mothers who have amazing careers, marry into true love and have the most beautiful children who always look like they are super behaved. But then the media rip this apart with other stories of true love marriages spiralling into affairs, separations and legal battles. And they also change the goal posts on what is acceptable. Beyonce's daughter has made headlines for being very sassy and strong minded. A few years earlier that would have been naughty behaviour. It’s all very personal and, being truthful, I don’t know if the celebrity status is worth the amount of insight and opinion the world has on your life.
The media makes us all ask harmful questions that threaten to undermine our identities. Your life becomes a world of ‘why’? Why don't you look like that after having your baby? Why doesn't your hair grow like that? Why doesn't your relationship look like theirs? What I suggest doing is to remember that there are two sides to every story, every photo and every online post. Being yourself should be seen as a gift. You're unique and offer something different to the world.
But how can we separate what’s real and what isn't? Number one is to think about if what you’re reading has a purpose in helping you on your journey. Can it help you personally become happy while remaining who you are? Number two is to think about how this is not your concern and no longer allow these thoughts to flow into your mind and take over your energy and focus. This is challenging at first, but like any life lesson, once it’s taught and established, it will make a difference to your life.
Here for you.