October 11, 2004

October 11, 2004

Where’s the joy in being pregnant [“The Perfect Little Bump,” by Laurie Abraham, September 27]? There are plenty of women unable to conceive who would be thrilled to gain a few extra pounds if it meant they could have a baby. Shame on these neurotic, self-absorbed women.
—Elaine Silberstein, Alford, Mass.

As the mother of one of the millions of women who battle infertility, I have witnessed the heartbreak and frustration that these women face. The fact that some women worry excessively about their appearance during pregnancy is a travesty. To be pregnant and have a healthy baby is a blessing. Obviously, some women do not see it that way.
—Patricia Winter, Manhattan

Wow! Clearly, the subjects of “The Perfect Little Bump” have never lost a pregnancy. If they had, they wouldn’t spend one minute agonizing over a few extra pounds.
—Nancy Bermack, The Bronx

These mothers-to-be need to be “merely ‘conscious’ ” of a little more than whether they’re fitting into their Missoni frocks. With the real prospect that the United States could occupy Iraq for the next twenty years, perhaps these shallow, faux-liberated women can glance away from their protruding navels long enough to become merely conscious that it’s their children who will be that generation of soldiers.
—Emily Gertz, Brooklyn

How can one snicker in judgment at a pregnant woman exercising? There are many reasons to stay fit during pregnancy, and they are not necessarily related to vanity. Narcissism may be one reason to maintain fitness during pregnancy, but another is to keep an aging body healthy, which is especially important for late-in-life pregnancies. Staying fit is the least that an older mother can do to ensure she’ll be around to usher her kids into adulthood.
—Lily Wang, Manhattan

Earlier this year, I was pregnant for the first time. After losing almost 30 pounds a few years ago, I was distressed about regaining it, especially as first-trimester nausea caused me to munch on bread and crackers all day. These worries colored the first weeks of my pregnancy, until an ultrasound revealed that the baby I was carrying had severe chromosomal malformations. I was told the pregnancy would not go to term, and, devastated, I had an abortion. Needless to say, when I become pregnant again, the size of my body will be the smallest of my concerns. I would gladly have become the fattest pregnant slob in Manhattan had it meant I could carry a healthy baby.
—Diana Graham, Manhattan

Laurie Abraham mistakenly gives the impression that if the baby seems fine, then it’s okay to diet during a pregnancy. But what about the mother’s health? The baby takes calcium from the mother’s bones and essential fats from the mother’s body. Even the mother’s immune system protects the baby first. Women who do not take in the proper nutrients during and after pregnancy are at greater risk for general illnesses, as well as osteoporosis later in life. While some pregnant women who go to extremes to stay on a calorie- and possibly nutrient-limiting diet are closely monitored by a doctor and given proper supplements, many others are not.
—Lisa Cahalan, Manhattan

It would appear that we have learned nothing from the feminist movement and women are still stuck worrying about their appearance—as if that’s what makes them successful, intelligent, and honorable human beings. I am disappointed to learn that some pregnant women are so concerned with getting fat, they are dieting to lose pounds. What happened to the idea that being pregnant is beautiful? It is about time everyone realizes voluptuous, plump, pregnant women are sexy. It’s sad women have such low self-esteem that they would worry more about how much they weigh than about the child they carry. Apparently America still has a long way to go before feminists can rest.
—Ariel Vegosen, Valley Stream, N.Y.

To all those women who say “I’ve waited until now to have this baby, I’m very accomplished, I’m fit, I go to the gym five times a week, and I really don’t want this pregnancy to change my life,” get over yourselves! Everything in this life is not about you and how you look. Parenting is a challenging job. And the fact is, your life will change. After all, you are bringing a child into this world who will be dependent on you to feed it, nurture it, clothe it, shelter it, and teach it right from wrong. I’m sure these very same women will argue about how it is their “choice” to do with their bodies as they please. Too bad these babies have no choice over the type of mothers they’re getting stuck with.
—Lisa Rahmanan, Manhattan

Women are selfishly putting their unborn babies in danger because of their own vain self-obsessions. Restricting calories during pregnancy is insane and an insult to all women who’ve miscarried or lost a baby. It is astonishing that smart, successful, intelligent women could be so shallow and not realize how their worries are hurtful to those who want—more than anything in the world—to have a healthy pregnancy or to even become pregnant. I am ten weeks pregnant, and all I wish for is a healthy baby. Nothing else matters. Nothing at all.
—Cheryl Donnelly, Long Island City, N.Y.

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October 11, 2004