I don’t think I’ve ever been happy with my body. I’ve always been made to feel fat or chubby. Now that I look back at pictures when I was 21, I was as skinny as I aspire to be now. A slim waist, tiny wrists, lanky figure. And I remember looking at most clothes and realising I was ‘too fat’ for them. I used to think twice before eating French Fries from one of my favourite spots in Karachi. I was always worrying about what I ate.
I was 21!
Two kids and 25 kilograms later, I am still shamed by society for having love handles or belly fat. Sometimes when my Facebook memories from 8 or 9 years ago pop up, I’m still worrying about eating gulab jaamuns and od-ing on kheer. It made me wonder. Have I ever stopped in my life and just … taken a deep breath and said, I am enough?
When you’re pregnant, your body fires a billion changes within you. Whether it’s an added blood flow to your uterus to make sure your baby is getting his or her nutrition or your mad cravings that come from a surge of hormones in your body, what you go through in those nine months (and counting, because the fun doesn’t stop when the baby pops, hello post-partum depression/baby blues) is nothing short of a miraculous challenge. How do women survive motherhood?
The fat-shaming is just a part of the larger problem that is mom-shaming. Mom shaming is a larger problem called misogyny. Society just can’t let women be. They were too skinny back when the ‘hourglass’ figure was in. Now we’re all too fat because ‘size zero’ is in. I get routinely trolled online because of my double chin or my size 12 body. One dude actually commented, ‘You should lose weight to gain some confidence.’
He was anonymous, by the way.
It would be easier to shake all these trolls off if misogyny wasn’t as prevalent as it is. Whether it’s on the cover of glossy magazines or heroines in our favourite shows, being skinny is the gold standard for women. Apart from having fresh skin, rosy pouty lips and a thick head of hair of course. Only the head and the eyebrows should have hair, by the way. Presence of hair on any other part of your body will immediately provide fodder for trolls.
Being a full time mom and a full-time working mom isn’t easy. You’ve got two jobs. One at home and one at work. Most of my days are crazy without me even trying to hover near a gym. Sometimes, when I’m sad and anxious, I eat a chocolate ice-cream. I know it’s not great and I should stay fit. But tell me, what has society done to help mums stay fit except just to add pressure? If a working mom isn’t blessed with the kind of genes that allow her to fit into skinny jeans, where does she go?
By no means am I advocating obesity or weight gain in the name of body positivity. I admire men and women committed to fitness and God knows, I’d love to be a size eight with arms muscular enough to compete with Serena Williams but tell me. How do you expect normal, everyday women, struggling with traffic, little help and massive workloads – to look like picture perfect, airbrushed, size zero, peachy-skinned, wearing-six-inch-heels without toppling supermodels?
Simply, don’t. I’ve got what I got. The weight. The love handles. And a sense of humor to deal with trolls.