In a candid new Instagram post on Wednesday, Deena Margolin — a child therapist and one-half of the hugely popular parent coaching duo Big Little Feelings, who count celebrity moms like Amy Schumer, Hilaria Baldwin, Brooklyn Decker and Sophie Turner among their more than 2 million Instagram followers — shared her frustration with people commenting on her pregnant body.
“'WOW! You're SO TINY!!! You look AMAZING! Look how SMALL you are!!' The number of times I've been told this in pregnancy, and it f***s me up every time," wrote Margolin, who is 31 weeks into her second pregnancy.
Sharing a selfie of herself alongside the caption "normalize not commenting on a pregnant woman's size," she explained how these unsolicited comments about her body fuel her struggles with disordered eating.
"I know people mean well, but these 'compliments" instantly turn on the disordered eating voice I've lived with for decades: 'Tiny is better.' 'People like you more when you're small,'" she wrote.
"Before pregnancy, for years, I starved myself," the parenting expert continued. "I rationalized my over-exercising as 'marathon training' — a casual 20-mile run so I'd be 'allowed' to eat. That stupid Kate Moss quote "Nothing tastes better than skinny feels" was my mantra. And you know what? My tiniest days — where I was the 'thinnest' and 'most beautiful' and was constantly complimented for being 'tiny' — those were the saddest, loneliest, most pain-filled days of my life."
Margolin went on to share how she was "forced to face my biggest fears" — letting go of under-eating and over-exercising — when she became pregnant with her first child, now 1 years old. Though she was "terrified of my body getting bigger," she knew that "my growing baby didn't deserve to starve [and] suffer" — and "that I didn't deserve that either."
"So from someone who's gone through the torture [and] suffering of trying to jump through society's beauty-standard hoops, do me this favor: Stop commenting on bodies in general, pregnant or not. Let’s all agree to stop greeting strangers, friends, with a comment on their body," she urged.
"Let's work hard to send the message that all bodies are beautiful. That what’s INSIDE is what counts. Let’s let our daughters [and] sons hear talk about inner strength [and] kind qualities and stop praising small-ness [and] thin-ness. Let’s let our children never hear us say, 'I’m so fat I can’t eat that' or 'I need to lose weight.'
"And when we see a pregnant person, let’s skip the comments on their size," she concluded her post. "Please stop asking if women are carrying twins, or if they're about to pop. When you see a pregnant person, say this, 'It's so nice to see you!! How are you feeling?' and leave it at that."
In just a few hours, Margolin's post has received more than 43,000 likes and an outpouring of support from fellow moms sharing their own experiences with unwelcome body feedback.
"It took so much from me," wrote one woman who was told she "didn't look pregnant."
Many noted that being small during pregnancy could — but not always — indicate a health complication, causing stress for expectant people fielding remarks that they're "so tiny."
"I hated it," one commenter wrote of the scrutiny. "Made me scared something was wrong. I have anxiety and it really got me in my head. Don't comment on a pregnant woman's belly. Ask her how she is feeling and then do something to make her life 5 percent easier."
"We never know how people feel about their bodies or even about their pregnancies," added another commenter. "Let's let them talk first!"
Others spoke of feeling "stung" by being told they appeared to be carrying multiple babies or were "ready to pop." And many echoed the sentiment that discussing someone else's body — period — should be frowned upon.
"Normalize not commenting on ANY person's weight," read one comment.
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