Of all the body-shaming that goes down in the media, the kind that often gets to me the most is the attacks directed at the figures of mothers. That's why the fact that Tess Holliday fought against pregnancy shamers via her Instagram on Apr. 20 got me so stoked. The plus size model is expecting her second child, but first child with fiancé Nick Holliday, and is currently eight months pregnant.
Holliday clearly loves being a mama, which is made clear through her highly public social media documentation of her pregnancy, her relationships with her family, and her 10-year-old son Rylee. Unfortunately, strangers regularly feel the need to weigh in on pregnant bodies, especially when the pregnant person in question is a celebrity or well-known figure like Holliday.
"Having another baby has been a beautiful process and at times, frustrating," Holliday wrote on Instagram. As US Weekly reported, "In the accompanying photo, the glowing 30-year-old wears only a bra and underwear, and rest[s] one hand on her burgeoning belly." She continued, "As I enter my eighth month, my body overall looks the same other than my belly and I'm OK with that. What I've had to be learn to be OK with (WHICH IS NOT COOL) is the fact that people still think it's OK to comment on my body."
As many of us have seen time and time again, there are plenty of humans who think it's acceptable to comment and critique on most pregnant bodies, whether it be in the form of a Facebook message or remarks on the red carpet. With the existence of an endless pool of so-called rules regarding how one should look, feel, and act while expecting (or as a mother in general), the negative feedback can be daunting.
Celebrities are usually expected to look glowing and polished throughout the span of their pregnancies (if not always), while folks at home deliberate their gained baby fat and contemplate how quickly they can lose it. But Holliday aims to be more honest in her portrayal of pregnancy, acknowledging that these attitudes aren't necessarily pointing to realistic standards.
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"When 'celebrities' are pregnant in the press, they look glamorous, toned, and are eager to talk about how they are going to get the baby weight off," Holliday added. "While I've done my best to look as put together as possible, that's not real life, and it's not for most women."
Thanks to people's heightened scrutiny surrounding plus size bodies, I'm willing to bet that it might be especially trying for plus size mothers-to-be to stay body positive during the beautiful process of pregnancy. However, Holliday hopes to spread messages of body positivity to all expecting mothers.
"I'm not the first plus size woman in the public eye to have a baby and share it with the world, and I certainly won't be the last," the model wrote. "However I'm part of a small minority that's telling you it's OK to not have a perfect baby bump, or not show at all, to be plus size and have a healthy child, and most importantly to find a care provider that doesn't shame you about your size."
As for the trolls who try to make anyone think differently? Holliday believes we should shut them down immediately, taking her lead in defending the beauty that is any pregnant body. She particularly urges that we clap-back against those who allege that plus size women "are putting [their] baby at risk" simply for conceiving while fat.
"It's also OK to tell someone to fuck off when they give you unsolicited advice about what's 'best' for you and your baby. As women, we know what's best and that's our business. No one else's," she said in her 'gram.
With Holliday as inspiration, go forth and love the body you're in. Pregnant or not, it is beautiful and wholly yours.