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It's time to talk about bodies after birth, and not just stretch marks: Interview with Emily Writes


Nash, M, It's time to talk about bodies after birth, and not just stretch marks: Interview with Emily Writes, The Spinoff, The Spinoff, Aukland, New Zealand, 24 September (2019) [Media Interview]

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Meredith Nash is a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Tasmania, and deputy director of its Institute for the Study of Social Change. She studies body image in women during and after pregnancy.

Body image is a profound theme in women’s experiences of reproduction, she says – particularly for first-time mothers. She explains that the drive to drop as much weight as possible, as fast as possible, can "take hold in a way that can be very unexpected for women". As to why, anyone who’s been through the up-ending experience of having a baby will understand the logic, at least to some degree: "[Weight loss] can be a simplistic way to take back control of your life when it has changed so much."

Nash started her research more than a decade ago, when the narrative about postpartum bodies was just emerging: think celebrity "bump watches" and magazines asking "who bounced back faster?" She’s now a mother to a four month-old.

The focus on weight loss has grown over time, at the expense of any proper conversation about birth injury, ongoing health issues and body changes after pregnancy, she says. The psychological damage to women can be immense.

"It’s a huge emotional labour, and that’s on top of the physical stuff women go through when they have kids."

The reality is that weight gain and loss is a small part of most postpartum experiences.

Item Details

Item Type:Media Interview
Keywords:pregnancy, postpartum, body image, celebrity, australia, motherhood
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Women's and maternal health
UTAS Author:Nash, M (Associate Professor Meredith Nash)
ID Code:135110
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2019-09-30
Last Modified:2019-10-03

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