Belfast Telegraph

Vanity is threatening the very nature of motherhood

By Charlotte Philby

She is the very epitome of beaming celebrity, airbrushed to near-oblivion, dolled up to the nines, radiating perfection. Oh, and what's that in the picture? Ah yes, her new-born tot.

Another soap star who has given birth is gracing the cover of a magazine, and showing us round a home that is remarkably free of the clutter which, for the rest of us, is part and parcel of having a young child.

Nothing wrong in that, you may well argue.

Just a chance for us, the adoring public, to coo over her new arrival and snoop around the house

Well, I don't think so. The illusion created by these model new mothers — and, of course, very often they are models — is quite troubling.

Is this really the state to which women experiencing motherhood should aspire?

Of course, there is nothing new about the notion of the yummy mummy.

However, the supposed desirability of such a figure has been depressingly reinforced by The Yummy Mummy's Survival Guide.

The new book by Liz Fraser offers tips on such gravely important matters as how to look glamorous in the playground.

Fraser talks us through her struggle to be both a mother and a sexy woman and expounds at length about the depths of despair women face when confronted with the wobble of her belly and the sight of her untended hair-do in those post-pregnancy months.

And one might concede that you could hardly blame such women, given that we are constantly bombarded with images of what we are told represent the perfect mother at every stage of the pregnancy.

Pre-birth, there are the slew of pictures of naked, re-touched celebrities clutching their perfect baby bump.

This is a trend that goes right back to a very pregnant Demi Moore posing for the cover of Vanity Fair.

Then, weeks later, the same women are showing off their washboard stomachs having undertaken some gruelling exercise and dieting regime.

Then there are the endless stories in how to shift ‘the post-baby bulge’.

These are bolstered by images of barely pubescent models, encouraging us to lose excessive weight within weeks of having a baby.

This, in spite of the adverse effect this may have on a mother and her baby, at a time when we should be enjoying the awesome power of our bodies.

Those women who fail to live up to the objective set out are held up, lambasted and ridiculed. All of these matters point to the fact that we have become so over-sexualised as a nation, and so obsessed by a largely unattainable idea of what makes a woman sexy, that we have lost sight of what is really important — our own mental and physical health, and that of our children.

What has happened to us that we have such a warped take on what qualifies as being the perfect mother?

The irony, of course, is that there is actually nothing more attractive than the glow of a pregnant woman, and the sense of tenderness, capability and pride a new mother exudes.

This is what the female form is all about. That, along with a healthy dose of self-confidence, is as good as it gets.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph