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Kate's baby belly: What's the big bumpin' deal?

  • Duchess Catherine showed off her new son and her baby bump on Tuesday
  • What does our level of fascination with baby bumps and pregnancy weight say about our society?
Kate's baby belly: What's the big bumpin' deal?
Elena Mauer

You’ve probably already seen multiple headlines and discussions about Duchess Catherine’s post-pregnancy body. Many praise her for wearing a dress that showed off her still-there baby bump; others applaud her choice of wardrobe for busting pregnancy taboos; some recommend a post-preggers work out plan.

Yes, from the dress she wore to introduce her new son to the world (a polka dot Jenny Packham number, reminiscent of Princess Diana’s dress when Prince William made his world debut) to the bump it draped, Kate’s post-baby body is certainly in the spotlight.

But what does this fascination with baby bumps and quickly losing the baby weight say about our culture?

Elena Mauer, the deputy editor of and mom of (almost) two who writes and tweets about all things motherhood, explores societal norms for women’s body image after having a baby. 

HLN: What did you think of Kate showing off her baby bump while debuting her royal son?
Elena Mauer: I thought it was really refreshing to see her in a dress that shows she still has a bump post-baby. A lot of celebrities don’t show their bodies post-baby -- Kim Kardashian has reportedly been in hiding until she gets her body back -- and most of us would wear something drapey that doesn’t show off our bodies, so women don’t know what women’s bodies look like after delivery.

HLN: Is it normal for women to have a bump after delivery? When does it usually go away?
Mauer: Absolutely. This is what a woman looks like after giving birth. It may take a couple of weeks for the belly to go away. Everyone is different, but it doesn’t happen overnight, and women don’t even know that -- they find out when they’re pregnant that they’re going to leave the hospital and still have a baby bump. So isn’t it great that Kate showed everyone that it’s normal?

HLN: What do you think of OK Magazine’s cover, detailing Kate’s post-preggers weight loss plan?
Mauer: It’s a little early for that. Most doctors recommend women wait at least six weeks to start exercising. You should take time to enjoy your baby and cuddle and feed him or her, and not worry about what size you’re fitting into or who’s taking your picture. It’s unfortunate that Kate has to deal with that kind of pressure that early. Everyone knows it’s going to take time. It took nine months to put the weight on — it will take nine months or more to get it off. About a year is a more realistic expectation.

HLN: As a society, how do we make men and women more aware of realistic expectations when it comes to losing the baby weight?
Mauer: I think most people know that they’re not a Victoria’s Secret model -- they don’t have a runway show two weeks after giving birth or a personal nutritionist or trainer. When you have a new baby, that’s when you should take it easy. We get so few moments when you can enjoy holding your sleeping baby for a little while. So I think it’s about not judging other people, especially women to women. We all hear about the mommy wars and women who compare or look down on other women because they haven’t lost the baby weight or how they feed their baby. I’m sure men do it too, but women are notorious for it. So we should take a step back and not judge so much — it will make it easier on everyone.

HLN: Why are people so fascinated with Kate’s post-pregnancy body?
Mauer: People see her as living a modern-day fairy tale. She’s a regular girl who married into royalty and has what seems like a glamorous life. Because we see so much of her, we feel like we know her and William and that we now know this baby. We’ve been waiting for him for so long, and everyone enjoys welcoming a baby into the world. Plus, Kate has great style — people will look up to her. She’s a style icon. 

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