Houston news anchor Erica Simon is kicking off the New Year with a plea to her viewers: Stop shaming her pregnancy weight gain.
“Some of the viewer comments about my pregnancy are starting to get annoying,” she tweeted the day after Christmas. “Yes, I’m aware I’m petite so the sudden packing on of pounds is a startling sight. No, I’m not having twins and no I’m not due any day. I’ll update you as I go, but chill.”
Dozens of fans came to Simon’s defense and praised her for her strength and commitment to bringing people the news despite the adversity. “Focus on your baby and your health…and enjoy your pregnancy,” one viewer wrote. “Folks always want to throw shade.”
“You got this,” fellow news anchor Talitha Vickers wrote. “You keep living your best life and don’t go back and forth with these viewers. Trust me I know…I was pregnant anchoring WITH twins and maaaan they came for me too.”
Simon’s story resonated so well with anchors and fans that it spread across the pond and wound up on the U.K.’s The Daily Mail. The outpouring of support helped the mom-to-be realize a few things. “Lessons learned: •a child is a blessing from God. No need to ever feel shame,” she wrote, adding: “Ignore tactless people. •My support outweighs the knuckleheads.” She also posted a sweet update of her progress alongside an adorable photo of her pregnant belly.
Though the experience turned into something meaningful for Simon, many pregnant women are inundated with frustrations and, in some cases, negative feelings about themselves as a result of “bump-shaming.” The hurtful comments can range from, “There’s no way you’re six months along; you’re so small!” to “You must be having triplets with a belly that big.”
It might be human nature to gawk at people who are going through significant life changes such as pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fix our habits. The fact is pregnancy affects everyone a bit differently. Some people swell in strange places, while others show no pregnancy symptoms at all. Pregnant bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no reason for anyone (except for the pregnant person and their chosen medical professionals) to worry or comment on any of them, regardless of how well-intentioned the remarks might seem. What matters most is that the pregnant parent and baby are healthy and happy.
It’s not too late for everyone to set one more intention for the New Year: Leave the concern trolling behind and trust that someone much more qualified is monitoring everything from the size of a belly to the baby’s vitals.
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