I’m just about to post a review of sorts for Jessica Valenti’s new book, Why Have Kids? and then I heard about this.
When pitching articles about her book Valenti was asked by a major news organisation to, instead, write about how she lost her ‘baby weight’. She declined. The video from Valenti about this experience is worth watching because she starts off as kind of amused and aghast but then you see her tone change when she talks about how she actually lost her baby weight, which is intimately connected to the fact that her daughter was born premature. And this moment puts the whole ‘yummy mummy’ conversation into perspective. In becoming a mother, Valenti, like some other mothers faced a life-threatening situation for herself and her daughter – it will take years to recover from that kind of trauma. Motherhood is not a trivial topic for women, why do we keep trivialising it? Valenti has also gone on to write a very thought-provoking book about the ambivalence that characterises motherhood for contemporary American women.. and this, this is what we want to talk about – how women ‘lose their baby weight’. And there’s a reason why readers are so interested in the topic of ‘baby weight’ and that is because we have made women’s looks the measure of a woman’s value. But Valenti is right – trying to change the conversation and being dragged back to this all the time is exhausting. It’s also disturbing and hurtful.