In the beginning it was hard for me to imagine how I would review Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby. I'm not usually much of a self-help kind of reader, and that's probably the category this book would fall into--along with non-fiction books on health issues.
When I first started reading the book, I had a realization. A positive one, in fact: I'm not really that worried about how my body will change after pregnancy. I've always been chunky, and while I'm healthy, I also don't put much stock in whether I look like the American ideal of beauty. Kissing my "old figure" goodbye is not really a concern since I've never had a particularly media-ideal figure to begin with. I don't want to give the idea that I'm immune to insecurity; that's certainly not the case. I think the authors did make me realize that maybe at my current age and maturity level, I'm worried about issues I consider more important than my weight and shape. That feels like a healthy realization especially since I was monstrously insecure as a younger woman.
As I got further into this book, I realized that there's plenty here for me in my current situation and mindset. Writers Claire Mysko and Magali Amadei approach not only insecurity, but common physical concerns that run through pregnant women everywhere: how will sex change? how will we bounce back after delivery? what are the physical pros and cons of breastfeeding?
There are also a lot of really fun topics covered in this book...advice about how to shop for pregnancy and maintain a personal sense of self and style. There are also darker, but very informative and necessary, chapters on eating disorders, celebrity mothers, and the role of the media in making women feel insecure about their bodies in everyday life, not to mention after giving birth. Most of us just can't afford those darn trainers to get us back in shape in six weeks, and we don't have the luxury of an airbrusher to rid us of our imperfections.
While I was initially a little bit doubtful of what this book had to offer me personally, I found it a very informative, fun read. It's also an important book since women do so often feel horribly insecure about their bodies. Needlessly horrible! Mysko and Amadei write a lot about honoring what your body has done. We carry babies, for heaven's sake! We make life! We should give ourselves a break when it comes to dieting, working out after the birth of a child, and putting too much pressure on ourselves to be physically perfect.
Mysko and Amadei are doing good work here, and it's my pleasure to be the first stop on their blog tour. Thanks to TLC for approaching me about this book and to the publisher for providing a review copy.