The Crazy Suburban Mom: Book Review - Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Review - Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?

Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?
The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby

By Clair Mysko and Magali Amadï

When Claire Mysko, the director of an eating disorders organization, and Magali Amadï, an internationally renowned model teamed up with the goal of educating woman and raising awareness on eating disorders they found it was the stories the women shared with them, and not their program that was the main event. Everywhere they went woman shared personal dieting stories, confessed painful secrets, or told of their exasperation at friends who weren't eating enough.

In time, Clair and Magli went from single to married and from un-pregnant to pregnant. Magali’s weight (normally an off-limits topic) was casually chatted about, but not just hers; baby weight was big news. From the tabloid bump watches and career-focused pregnancy op-ed pieces to which celebrity got back in shape the fastest after giving birth. But nothing real. Nothing about how woman really felt about the changes in their bodies and the bodies themselves, before, during and after pregnancy.

When I was asked to review on this book I said yes even though I’ve been post-pregnancy for, Ahem, quite some time. But when I looked at the title – Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? (The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby) - I wanted to read this book, very, very much.

Back in July I started a diet after writing about how I was Sweating like Fat Elvis. What motivated the diet was, in large part, being at my delivery weight. And to be honest, being at delivery weight was embarrassing enough at my delivery... But with my kid being eighteen and all, being there again was so beyond embarrassing that the light from embarrassing wouldn’t reach my Fat Elvis body for about eight hundred venti-giga-jillion years.

My point here is... Pregnancy is defining for woman. During, before and very, very, long (apparently) after they deliver.

Clair and Magali interviewed over four hundred woman (and men) about their biggest body concerns before, during and after pregnancy. There is a lot I found I could relate to, even now. They point out the irrationality of comparing yourself to celebrity pregnancy photos (and celebrity photos in general) because of the effort, staff and technology that goes into creating them (And they are a creation!) You'll get the “uncensored truth about everything from milky boobs to pre-baby bikini waxes.” They could go on Saturday Night Live with the chapter on bikini waxing… There is a lot of frank discussion in the book and Bravo! to the chapters 'Let’s Talk About Sex' and 'The WTF Files - Dealing with all the dumb, stupid and insensitive things people say' ( I would have found this most helpful in dealing with my doctor who said, “No, you’re just fat.” In answer to my question, “Is my baby going to be big?”

What Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? does better other books of its kind is in how it talks about woman and their pregnant bodies; and how it allows woman to talk about their own bodies. And feelings. Reading this book was like listening to a friend. The information was so varied it’s impossible to cover everything in a review but the topics ranged from when to take pictures of your belly, to is it okay if the dad doesn’t want to watch the birth, to pregnant woman with eating disorders.

Obviously, this book is about pregnancy but underneath it's healthy dose of humor it's about finally making peace with ourselves and our bodies. Perhaps the last chapter,
The Legacy of Body Hatred: Breaking the Cycle, makes the best case for healing. It is this last chapter that goes to the heart of why healing is so important; the children are parenting now, will parent someday or the children we aren't parents to, but love. I'm not sure we ever hurt ourselves in a vacuum, although it's something I've rarely thought much about.

The healing we do, the love we are able to find for ourselves is as much gift to our children as it is to ourselves.


heidi 12/28/09, 8:56 AM  

i had snow white pregnancies [if snow white ballooned to 195lbs] that were healthy, but hefty. this sounds like a great book to tackle before, during and after that preggo glow!

Anonymous,  12/28/09, 12:00 PM  

Great review! I'm so happy you enjoyed the book. Isn't it sad and kind of ridiculous how much we beat ourselves up, even before we take it from others?

Thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into reading and reviewing the book. We really appreciate it.

Maureen 12/28/09, 12:28 PM  

I was surprised to read that many are not eating enough. That would be me. I thought I was an oddball.

I am far removed from the pregnancy years but those were the times when my weight was at it's best. I ate properly and well and lead an active lifestyle.

Leslee 12/28/09, 12:38 PM  

Sounds like an awesome read... I too am far past the preggers stage, but I am definatley recommending to my daughter! In hopes of that grandbaby someday :-)

Anonymous,  12/28/09, 2:23 PM  

i've got 20 lbs to lose before i get down to my delivery weight!

Lynette 12/28/09, 3:35 PM have an award

Genny 12/29/09, 1:29 AM  

Stopping by from MBC!

Style Up Your Life 12/29/09, 5:57 PM  

looks like interesting & informative read...I'll recommend it to my daughter for sure as she delivered a cute baby doll few days back...thanx for the review

Kristin 12/29/09, 6:35 PM  

My body is so different and due to the old stretch mark laden stomach and widened hips, not as "good." Yet I've never been more comfortable with it. A big thanks to that giant bambino of mine!

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