It’s no secret that after a woman welcomes a new baby, there’s a lot of pressure in her to try and return to her pre-baby body. From diets and exercise plans to “transformation” photos, there are so many mixed messages women get about the joy of having a child and the immediate scrutiny over how they look post-delivery. And while celebrity social media accounts can be a refreshing, unfiltered look at how even famous people endure the same day-to-day struggles we do, those same posts can also influence how some women compare themselves to others — for the worse. In the case of David Foster’s latest Instagram photo of wife Katharine McPhee’s bikini body less than a year after welcoming their first child together, this celebrity couple’s foray into an already charged topic has really rubbed us the wrong way.
The snapshot in question features McPhee posing in a tiny black two-piece with her taut stomach front and center. Accompanying the photo was Foster’s caption, “what baby!” and the combination of the two didn’t sit well with some fans who saw the photo. “I get what you’re saying… but this is a very unhealthy post. Not cool at all,” one person commented.
Another fan pointed out McPhee’s history with eating disorders, writing, “Doesn’t she have a history of anorexia? Not healthy to focus on the body versus the soul.” The post comes roughly 10 months after McPhee and her husband welcomed their son, Rennie David Foster, in February 2020. While there’s no shame in a mom’s desire to get back to the shape in which she feels best, the male gaze aspect of Foster’s post — coupled with the photo and caption, and implication that McPhee’s appearance prior to welcoming her son was preferable to what her body went through to give birth — really shows just how much pressure there still is for moms to meet a certain aesthetic.
We’re living in a time when stars like Ashely Graham and Halsey are embracing and documenting nearly everything their body goes through in order to welcome a child. We see so many photos of stretch marks and breastfeeding that celebrate motherhood in a way that reclaims bodily autonomy, and honors the transformation pregnant and postpartum bodies go through. At a time when there’s been so much progress in de-stigmatizing the experiences of pregnant people and their postpartum journey, we’re still reminded — by David Foster — that there’s a lot of pressure to meet an ideal that’s honestly more antiquated than admirable.
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