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A Response to Virgin Radio Vancouver

Heather van Mil1 comment3164 views

I wear many hats in a day; entrepreneur, chef, blogger, wife, cleaner, taxi and friend among so many more, but the most important one is Mom. I am the proud Mama to 2 incredible little girls and it for them that I am writing this post. 

If you haven’t yet heard (and most people around the world probably have by now), the morning show team at 94.5 Virgin Radio Vancouver was discussing what an “acceptable” timeline is for women to lose their baby weight, specifically in relation to the criticism that Kelly Clarkson has received over not losing her baby weight a year after giving birth (listen to the full clip here). 

My first reaction is to wonder why this is even newsworthy at all? Honestly why do people care who loses weight and who doesn’t. Why is that something that passes for entertainment? I sincerely don’t understand why anyone is interested in the first place, I truly don’t. 

My second reaction is in line with the hundreds of angry people who have posted their disapproval and disgust on the Virgin Radio Vancouver Facebook Page. Like far too many others, I spent most of my tweens, teens and twenties worried about my weight, unhappy with how I looked and struggling with my relationship with food. Ironically, I had horrific pregnancies where I struggled to gain weight, and ended up losing a lot instead. By the time my first daughter was born, I was only just “back” to my pre pregnancy weight, having lost over 30 lbs during the first few months of pregnancy. I gained all my baby weight after she was born, in part because my daughter was born with a critical heart defect that required a lengthy hospital stay and open heart surgery. I had a similar experience with my second, losing weight during pregnancy, and gaining after due to a serious knee injury that left me “couch bound” for months. Sure you can say they’re excuses, but the point is that I had my priorities, and “getting my body back” wasn’t one of them. Counting calories wasn’t. Squeezing in daily workouts wasn’t.  The health of my babies was. Enjoying every moment of them was. Allowing my body to heal and rest after pregnancy was. Everyone has a different story, a different experience and the bottom line is none of them should be fodder for discussion and “entertainment”.

Call me an idealist, or unrealistic, but I want to raise my girls in a world where they aren’t judged by their looks. Where their value to society isn’t based on their weight. Instead let’s celebrate our bodies for creating these amazing human beings. Let’s celebrate the bond between a mama and her baby. Heaven forbid we allow women to enjoy the incredibly unique experience of pregnancy, birth and babies. It’s a very short period of a woman’s life, one that many have to fight extremely hard for, and some never get to experience at all. It shouldn’t be marred by worry of weight gain and a countdown to resuming a “normal” body. 

I hope my girls get to experience the miracle of pregnancy and birth. I hope I have done a good enough job modelling a healthy body image for them. I hope they are surrounded by love and acceptance and support, and I sure as hell hope they don’t for one second let narrow minds detract from what is a beautiful, difficult, life changing, incredibly stressful but so worthwhile experience. 

UPDATE: Virgin radio issued a formal apology after burying the initial response in the comment thread of an unrelated post. Some people think it’s no big deal, some people feel it’s a case of #sorrynotsorry. What’s your take? 

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