The Sports Illustrated swimsuit model wishes for more representation: "It's almost as if we don't exist."
If you've ever been pregnant, you likely know how difficult it can be navigating the changes to your body, your life, and tackling the frustrating endeavor of finding maternity clothes that fit and look cute. Being plus-size and pregnant can intensify the struggle of all these things. Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hunter McGrady, who is expecting her first child this summer, is sharing how her experience differs from that of pregnant women who aren't her size in an honest and meaningful Instagram post.
"Plus size and pregnant. Being plus size the representation already falls incredibly short, but being plus size AND pregnant? Forget it," McGrady writes in the caption of her latest bump photo.
"When I embarked on this journey I was excitedly googling pregnancy, plus size pregnancy, bump pictures, updates, all the things! However, I never saw myself represented."
She makes a really valid point about how pregnancy is displayed in media, fashion and pop culture. Often, pregnancy is represented as a glowing, conventionally-sized woman with a bump being the only indication that she's expecting.
"I knew going into this my belly wasn't going to be this perfect little round thing that just bops out, I knew I wouldn't have options for maternity wear, I knew my body would change in different ways than I have seen my whole life, and yet I don't know if I was prepared for how much the plus size pregnancy representation lacks," McGrady continues.
It's hard to picture how maternity clothes will look on your pregnant body if a model's pregnant body doesn't look like yours. In real life, pregnancy isn't all "ethereal glow" so much as "swollen and sweaty" for a lot of people. With so many changes happening to your body and your hormones, feeling excluded from representation can make the pregnancy journey feel so isolating.
"There aren't any plus-size pregnant women on magazine covers, advertisements, television, or even the brochures at the OBGYN office," she says. "It's almost as if we don't exist, like we're an anomaly."
As someone who was plus-size and pregnant twice in the past five years, McGrady's words speak to me so deeply. I know what it's like to feel too self-conscious to post less-than-perfect "bump photos," and how guilty you feel for letting your insecurities about your body compete with your gratitude and happiness. Seeing bodies that look like yours is important for all women, of all sizes and stages of life.
She ends her post with the reaffirming words we all need to hear.
"I'm here to tell you that you are not a 'one-off,' you're not wrong for being plus size and pregnant, your body is equipped for this. Wherever you are on your journey just remember how wildly worthy you are to experience this and enjoy every moment of it just as anyone else."
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