The Duchess of Cambridge is being “bump shamed” for her slim physique by internet trolls after making her first public appearance since announcing her pregnancy.
The 35-year-old royal turned heads while attended a reception for World Mental Health Day at Buckingham Palace after taking a short hiatus from all public engagements due to a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum — a condition she also suffered throughout both of her previous pregnancies.
Although royal-watchers estimate she’s 20 weeks pregnant, the naturally thin Duchess was targeted on social media by trolls criticizing her baby bump, or lack thereof.
The negative attention that has surrounded Kate Middleton and her weight during each of her pregnancies has experts reminding women that each pregnancy is different, and to compare and critique bumps is unnecessary, not to mention potentially harmful.
“Bump shaming can really damage a woman’s body confidence and cause needless worry and anxiety over the health of their baby,” midwife Lesley Gilchrist told the Daily Mail. “It’s important to remember that the bump size is just the size of the baby’s “packaging” and has no bearing on the size of their baby.”
Although Kate has been targeted for being too thin, many celebrities have been ridiculed for gaining too much weight while pregnant.
After having two children 14-months apart, tabloids criticized Jessica Simpson for no longer fitting into her infamous Daisy Dukes. Media attention surrounding Simpson’s body became so extreme that Weight Watchers offered the singer and designer a multi-million dollar contract to endorse their weight-loss program.
In 2013, Kim Kardashian’s bump was plastered on the cover of magazines accompanied by headlines like “Kim’s 200-lb. Nightmare: I Can’t Stop Eating!”
Kardashian’s entire pregnancy and post-baby body was dissected as people eagerly waited to see how fast new mom could “bounce back” to her pre-baby bod.
Not even Beyonce was immune to bump shaming, after being called “fat as hell” and “swollen” while pregnant with twins Rumi and Saint. Luckily, the notoriously loyal Beyhive unleashed a flurry of tweets that put haters in their place and defend the pregnant singer.
These strict Goldilocks-like instructions to not be “too fat” or “too thin” are extending to women outside of the spotlight. The pressure is no longer just on celebrities to look perfect while pregnant, but for all women, to sport the “perfect bump” when all that really matters is that both mother and baby stay healthy.
When it comes to commenting on pregnant women’s bodies – don’t.