Monday 20 November 2017

Body image tyranny must not hamper mother and baby bond

Susie Orbach
Susie Orbach

Deirdre Cowman

We've all seen magazine stories and gossip columns celebrating celebrity mums who have 'lost the baby weight' or 'bounced back into shape' or 'gotten their bodies back'. Does this commentary have an impact on mum's in the real world and if so, how does this affect their babies?

Earlier this month, psycho-therapist Susie Orbach and body image specialist Holli Rubin produced a report for the Government Equalities Office in the UK called 'Two for the Price of One: The Impact of Body Image During Pregnancy and After Birth'. The report acknowledges that all mothers want the best for their babies but that cultural pressure to appear 'as though nothing as momentously life-changing or body-changing as having a baby has occurred' can interfere with the important tasks of responding to the baby, developing new routines, finding time to sleep and becoming a parent.

Orbach and Rubin explore how women's concerns about body image and efforts to get in shape can interrupt the focus on bonding with baby in the crucial early months when attachment relationships are being established. Attachment is the strong emotional bond that forms between an infant and his/her caregiver.

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