Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Pregnancy Guide Too Much For A Fuddy Duddy Like Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The other day as I scanned the stories in the online edition of my hometown newspaper, I gasped aloud. An announcement in the "Births" section indicated that a kid I vaguely remembered from way, way back when had just become a father. "I just can't believe he's old enough to have a baby," I told my husband. "And you're too old to have any more," came his less-than-sensitive reply. Indignant, I retorted, "I'm only 34!" C'mon, I spend my days chasing a 13 month old around - I may have one foot in the ground, but I'm not dead yet.

Still, as I read Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? by Claire Mysko and Magali Amadei, I began to think my husband may have a point. Perhaps I have been in the trenches too long. Eleven years of full-time mommyhood has turned me into a practical, no-frills kind of girl. So, reading about how to create a stylish maternity wardrobe, when to schedule preggo pictures, and how to deal with celebrities getting their pre-baby bodies back within 6 weeks of giving birth made me want to scream. I mean, seriously, who cares? Not me. I appreciate the authors' tell-it-like-it-is approach to the nitty gritties of pregnancy and childbirth, but I think I've been there enough times to know the drill. In fact, having birthed three babies and adopted one, I've got a whole lot more experience than either of the authors. I'm not saying I don't have more to learn - of course I do - but I'll take my advice from veterans not amateurs, thank you very much.

I don't mean to devalue the message Mysko and Amadei are trying to spread. They yearn to convince women with negative body images to come to terms with the problem before they become pregnant. They encourage potential mothers to toss out the scale, practice intuitive eating and seek professional help before their body misconceptions get dangerous (i.e. in pregnancy). This is where the book offers something unique - a look at the connection between negative body image, especially severe cases, and pregnancy. I've never seen this issue addressed in any kind of literature, so I found the sections dedicated to this topic to be fascinating. Since both Mysko and Amadei suffered from eating disorders, they have an insider's perspective. Here, they speak with authority. Here, they write with passion. I would have gladly skipped the chapters on accessorizing maternity tops and battling au pairs over a child's lunch to read more about how anorexic/bulemic women deal with pregnancy and childbirth.

Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? rubbed me the wrong way for several reasons. Some of the material just seemed beyond ridiculous for an old fuddy duddy like me; many of the comments from "real women" were so frank as to be almost offensive; and lots of the topics covered weren't relevant to a practical, no-frills gal like me. I do like the message the authors are sending. I think it's important, especially for women who have struggled with eating disorders, to seek the help they need without feeling unworthy or ashamed. I also agree that women need to stop beating themselves up and accept the fact that there is no perfect mother, no perfect body, and no perfect woman. Ignore the tabloids. Focus on your health, your kids, your real life. Amen.

Every woman has body issues - I'm no exception. Still, this book is not for me. It might be for you, though. If you need a little pick-me-up, some inspiration or a resource for help, check out the authors' websites, 5resolutions.blogspot.com and http://www.insidebeauty.org/ . You can find more opinions on Does This Pregnancy make Me Look Fat? by following the authors' virtual tour with TLC Book Tours. Click here for a schedule.

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be: PG-13 for language, graphic images and sexual content

To the FTC, with love: TLC Book Tours provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

4 comments:

  1. This review cracked me up! I'm not even quite 27 and have only been through ONE pregnancy and I think this book would be a bit much for me. Don't make yourself feel old!

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  2. I'm in the same boat as you are; 36, 4 kids, and definitely a no frills kind of girl. I admire you for finishing it. I think the parts about eating disorders and pregnancy are valid and worth their own book but no thanks to the rest of it.

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  3. Hey Susan! Thanks for a fair and balanced review. I'm sorry the book wasn't for you but I'm glad you found some things that were good, including the sections on eating disorders and pregnancy, and I really liked how you spelled out who the book might actually be good for.

    We really appreciate the time you spent reading/reviewing the book. Thanks so much!

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  4. That was a well-written review. I haven't read this book and don't plan on it. I've been pregnant twice before and I never understood feeling fat while pregnant, you're supposed to be big!

    I understand that many women struggle with these issues and it sounds like if they omitted some of the rest it could be a good book on the subject.

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