pregnancy bump shaming

Women – we just can’t win. And it seems that in a lot of cases, it’s the women who are ‘shaming’ us. Even if you’re pregnant, you’re not immune from the catty comments of the Internet experts for having a bump that’s too small, putting on too much weight or, God forbid, not losing it fast enough after the birth. It seems that ‘bump shaming’ is the new thing.

It was reported this week that the latest target for Internet vitriol is Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, who is around 20 weeks pregnant with Cambridge #3. The poor woman has been throwing her guts up on a daily basis with hyperemesis gravidarium, which is way more serious than the already pretty awful morning sickness many women get. Bearing that in mind, and the fact that Kate has never exactly been buxom anyway, it’s hardly surprising that she isn’t sporting a comedic enormous pregnancy bump.

The bump shaming seems to have hit this week – when her apparent lack of pregnancy curves was bitched about by people with nothing better to do, following her first public appearance since she announced her pregnancy.

Kate had made the effort to get to an event that was important to her – the Buckingham Palace reception for World Mental Health Day on Tuesday. She’d had to take six weeks off because she’d been clearly feeling lousy with the sickness, and there wasn’t much in the way of baby bump on display. The pictures on the Kensington Palace Instagram were published, and although there were some nice comments, other people couldn’t resist having a go, saying that she looked too thin to be pregnant, and said they were as far along as she was and their bumps were bigger. Really? Because we’re all the same, aren’t we?

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Why bump shaming is so counter-productive

Like any other form of body shaming, pregnancy bump shaming is pointless and serves no purpose. What do you expect women whose bumps have been deemed too small to do – stick a cushion up their jumper?

It could be worse than just annoying though – according to experts, ‘bump shaming’ can cause unnecessary anxiety. One expert told the Daily Mail that it could actually

damage a woman’s body confidence and cause her needless worry and anxiety over the health of their baby.

“It’s important to remember that the bump size is just the size of the baby’s “packaging” and has no bearing on the size of their baby,” said Lesley Gilchrist.

It’s also true that no matter how big the bump, not a lot of it is baby. Any obvious bump this early is mainly down to the uterus is being pushed higher up into the abdomen, and any roundness is just fluid.

Pregnancy is a worrying enough time as it is, without making things harder for women just because they don’t look pregnant enough.