Pregnancy: Attack of the Body Snatchers, Jillian Michaels Edition

by Charlotte on April 26, 2010 · 82 comments


Tiger Lady. That’s what my oldest son christened me as soon as he could talk, thanks to my knees-to-navel stretch marks. (Note: that proud day was also the day I decided he was too old to shower with mommy anymore.) So I will be the last person to tell you that you can have a baby and bounce back to exactly the same shape you were in before having a human erupt from your loins. Even if you do get down to your pre-pregnancy weight – a touchy enough subject – most likely things will settle into new positions. (We won’t even talk about the disasters that befall your nipples.) For every Heidi Klum in her Victoria’s Secrets, there are a hundred Charlottes in our control-top tights.

And yet it still rubbed me the wrong way when Jillian Michaels said in a recent interview with Women’s Health that she didn’t want to get pregnant because of the effect it would have on her body:

There is no doubt that “The Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels has one of the best bodies in America, and given her childhood history of being overweight, it’s something the 36-year-old has worked ultra-hard to achieve. So hard in fact, that she’s not willing to let it slide even to become a biological mother.

“I’m going to adopt. I can’t handle doing that to my body,” Michaels told the new issue of Women’s Health magazine. “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.”

Not being an adoptive mother, I’m going to let that comment about “rescuing something” slide (okay I can’t let it slide: Children aren’t puppies. And also, adoption is not about fixing yourself. Now I’m done.) but I’m always a little leery when women tell me they don’t want to biologically have children for fear of marring their bodies.

While there are many good reasons not to have children – and I am in no way saying that all women should start popping out young ‘uns like a Pez dispenser (oh, if only labor was that easy!) – I don’t think fear is a good one. Especially not fear of losing your looks.

Jillian may be in a particularly unique position due to her job depending primarily on her physique but she certainly isn’t the first woman who has voiced this concern. In a society that trades in sexuality and abhors aging it is often seen as a woman’s currency to stay looking as youthful is possible. (The irony of living in a culture that worships sex but freaks out over the product of sex – see: men who love looking at boobs… until there is a baby attached to them and then they’re “disgusting” – is a different rant for another day.) The problem with that is that everyone, even Demi Moore, will age eventually. The laws of physics will not be denied: Your body will move towards entropy. Not having children may buy you a few more years but in the end, everyone’s boobs sag and their butts droop and their tummies deflate to bread dough.

Whether or not Jillian (or anyone else) ever has kids, or even wants kids, is none of my business. I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash if she’d just said “I don’t want to have children” or “I’m planning to adopt.” Likewise I would have been fine with “I have a family history of illness I don’t want to risk passing down” or “I don’t have the resources to support a child” or even “I have a deep-seated fear of Ronald McDonald and the chance of running into that evil clown is exponentially higher with wee ones around and I’m just not willing to risk it.”

Putting the blame on her body bothers me for two reasons: 1) I think her stance reinforces the view that pregnancy is an illness or a condition to be feared, rather than a natural bodily function for women and 2) It reads as if she is saying that women who have had children are inherently less beautiful and that our self worth should be tied to what we look like rather than who we are.

My last point may be purely speculative based on the wonderful experiences I’ve had with my kids but I also worry about regret. Call me biased (I did birth 5 of the little nippers after all) but I just think that if the only reason you choose not to have kids is fear of stretch marks and loose skin then there is a good chance you’ll regret that choice when you realize you have stretch marks from puberty and loose skin from aging anyhow.

I’m not trying to come down on Jillian for speaking honestly; I just don’t want her to miss out on an amazing experience because of something so ephemeral. You tell me – is Jillian just saying what everyone else is thinking? Did I misinterpret Jillian’s meaning? Does fear of ruining your body impact your decision to have a baby? Do you feel like pregnancy has wrecked your body? Any thoughts on “rescuing yourself” by adopting a baby?

UPDATE: Jillian Michaels has taken to Twitter to further explain her comment. Like many of you suggested might be the case, she clarifies by saying “I never said I was anti-pregnancy or taht pregnancy ruins a body. I said that ‘I can’t put my body through it.’ There are emotional issues and physical LIMITATIONS that have resulted in that conclusion. Some I have discussed publicly and some I haven’t.” [emphasis hers]

I want to thank Jillian for taking the time to clarify her comments and to apologize for misunderstanding her intent.

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Yum Yucky April 26, 2010 at 3:33 am

At this point in my life? With 4 gremlin-spawns? I only fear losing my mind. My bod is not Jillianed, so to speak, but there are way more things more fulfilling than a so-called perfect body ..and great on Point #2 (blame). I hadn't thought of that. Now this is more fracked up that I thought.

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CdnMom April 26, 2010 at 3:56 am

Jillian's comments don't bother me because I think she's just being honest about how she feels about this in her own life. I don't think it has anything to do with anyone else. It could also be that she hasn't met the right person who might change her world and her view on having children. I've known people who were 100% adamant they didn't want children and now are the happy stay at home parent.

Really, I'd rather a woman be honest and not birth a child than have a child she resents because of how pregnancy changed her body and then she doesn't give her best to that child because of that resentment.

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Deb (SmoothieGirl) April 26, 2010 at 3:58 am

"okay I can't let it slide: Children aren't puppies. And also, adoption is not about fixing yourself. Now I'm done.)" Wow Charlotte, you exhibited such self restraint! So proud of you! But you did get straight to the point and hit it home!

If I was to birth some babies, I think that I would have thoughts in my mind like "crap, I've worked so hard to lose 100 pounds and now I'll gain a third of it back…gee I hope I can lose it back…eek stress…" but then I would regroup and say, "well it is what it is. It's meant to be this way and I'm gonna just do what's best for baby and eat right etc". I would not categorically choose to not have a child based on physical beauty alone.

Adopting is lovely- just hope she does it for the right reasons.

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Sahara April 26, 2010 at 4:16 am

Her comments sound fairly shallow to me. Like you said, I wouldn't bat a lash if she had just said she didn't want kids. But stating that she can't handle what happens to a woman's body makes me a little sad. While most women (myself included) will never look the same as we did before kids, many will look damn fine. I am in the best shape of my life now, even if I do feel like I have a croissant shoved down the front of my pants (does this make sense to anyone? anyone?). If she is such a fan of pushing one's limits, then what's the big deal about switching gears to become a mama and then hitting the gym even harder once you're ready for it?

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Sue April 26, 2010 at 4:20 am

It didn't bother me when I read it, because I figured she's not married and she makes money off her body. I think it makes perfect sense.

I'm married and people are constantly bothering me about when I'm going to have children. I don't plan on having any children because it's just not how I wish to spend my time. People hate that answer and think I'm incrediblely selfish. I find it much much easier to just say I am infertile. It makes everyone happier, I suggest she say the same.

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jenn April 26, 2010 at 5:33 am

Jillian's comment seems a little shallow and short sighted but I can't say it "bothers" me. If people don't want children they certainly shouldn't have them. More than than anything she seems a little clueless. There are countless celebrities who have spawned and still look "hot" (I hate that word btw) Kelly Ripa, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, all come to mind. Not only that but think how she could capitalize on it with pregnancy workout videos and post pregnancy workout videos!!! She's not seeing the big picture! (I'm totally being facetious btw)

You are so right…when it's (life) all said and done does appearance REALLY MATTER in the end?

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Jenn (GH) April 26, 2010 at 5:40 am

I have had two children and while my body has changed a bit. It's nothing I can't live with or that makes me regret having children. I actually think my body may look better now (excluding my poor belly button) than it did then b/c then I was "skinny fat".

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Averie April 26, 2010 at 5:48 am

Ok did you know that i posted about this EXACT same thing..the rescuing AND the body/gaining weight issue?
First here http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2010/04/earth-d

And follow up here http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2010/04/highlig

I had a slew of comments come in and I gave my own spiel about rescuing. Suffice to say, horrible choice of words and logic on her part. Sigh.

Has pregnancy wrecked my body? Umm. No. Not at all. And I nursed my child til she was 3. And I didnt "ruin my boobs" either.

Why do women think preg is going to wreck their body? If they gain 80 lbs in a pregnancy yeah. But if they follow a more normal, balanced path and are mindful of everything, nature will take care of things.

Women have been doing this for millenia. It's quite annoying that women our age have this whacked logic :(

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Nine April 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

I can't help but wonder if this might be an example of a journalist using a statement taken out of context. I've heard plenty of women make similar comments about childbirth in a joking manner, who's to say the mighty Miss J wasn't having a similar moment of levity?
And if not, then I hope it was merely a poor choice of words. I think she could be a tremendous role model for healthy pregnancy. Besides – think of the marketing opportunities – surely there's a million or so in DVD sales and book signings right there!

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Jennifer April 26, 2010 at 9:35 am

I think it is a common fear – a fear rooted in society's valuation of women in general, as you so aptly note in your post. I also think there are lots of valid reasons for not having kids, but that particular one points to more systemic personal issues I think.

For anyone wondering about how to stay fit during pregnancy, however, and even just in general for lots of good info, I recommend Cassandra Fortsythe's blog. She just had a little girl, and workout out vigorously through her pregnancy. Amazing stuff! I don't have the link on hand, just Google her name :)

Jennifer in Newfoundland

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Mae April 26, 2010 at 10:08 am

Jillian's comment about baby weight was just one of several reasons why she wants to adopt. Not to mention, her current partner is a woman, which makes having babies "naturally" a bit difficult. If she wants to stay with her current partner, her choices are an artificial method or adoption, and adoption makes more sense to me financially and logically because there are so many kids who need to be adopted. I think people latched onto the baby weight reason and are making a big deal about it because it's controversial, but honestly, I think a lot of women think about that. There are many reasons why women might not want to have babies (or might not want them now)…fear of baby weight, having to give up or significantly change your social life and career, etc. They're selfish reasons, and it's kind of taboo to talk about that, but I think women have babies for plenty of selfish reasons too…needing someone to love them and "need" them, etc., and I think that's much worse.

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MizFit April 26, 2010 at 10:17 am

nothing surprises me about her after she launched those diet pills & shakes.

and I think that with great exposure and STARHOOD comes great responsibility to watch what you say. right or wrong. whether she should have the freedom to say ANYTHING and WHATEVER IS IN HER HEART by holding herself up to millions of women as the paragon of health and normalcy she has an obligation.

IMO she a mo'ron.

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Karen April 26, 2010 at 11:01 am

I'm 26 years old and married with no children. Having said that, I will confess that I am extremely frightened about having children, for a number of reasons:

1. My husb and I fear losing our freedom and never getting to do the things we like to do together anymore (travel, etc.)
2. My husb and I fear that we won't have enough financial resources to care for a baby. We can hardly afford ourselves.
3. I am afraid that I'm just … not maternal… enough to really make a good mother, or to deal with complications of parenthood (if my child is born with an illness or something). In fact, I think my husband would be a much better father that I would be mother.
4. I am afraid that once I have children, I can't have any more goals of my own (I want to get a PhD before I'm mid-30s. Can I do this iwth a child?)

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Karen April 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

(Continued….)
5. I am afraid that I will lose my personality and independence and become a "mommy drone" like SO many young mothers I know who can't form a cogent thought unless it somehow relates to their children. These people used to be my friends, but now they have children I can't be around them anymore.
6. I'm afraid, again, that the part of my personality that makes me really uninterested in hearing about my friends' kids' naps, playdates and binkies means that I'm just not the "right kind of woman," I'm not maternal, etc.

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Karen April 26, 2010 at 11:03 am

(continued…)
7. FInally, because I don't want to go on and on, I'm VERY afraid of the whole birthing process, including what pregnancy will do to my body. Now, I certainly do NOT have anything close to Jillian Michaels' body and actually, I'm overweight and have struggled with this issue since childhood. I workout 5-6 times a week and try to control my eating, but it is a struggle everyday. I CAN manage to control my weight, to an extent, as I am now, but what happens if I have a child and my body changes to such a degree that I can't control my weight anymore? I don't want to be 300lbs, but I can VERY easily slip back up to that weight (my former weight). That's genuinely scary and, imo, not just about vanity.

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Karen April 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

Some women, such as myself, gain weight very easily, despite exercising frequently and watching what they eat. I can easily gain 10 lbs in a month if I don't monitor every morsel I eat. It's my own private hell and I just wonder what 9 months of pregnancy would do to me. I don't think this is just a vain concern. And I don't think these fears are "whacked."

And also, maybe women today just have the freedom to voice the fears and concerns women have had about childbirth for thousands of years? Not necessarily the body image issues, but other fears. I mean, women routinely died in childbirth until quite recently (in certain parts of the world) — that's not scary? I just think our foremothers didn't have the forum or freedom to express their fears because they HAD TO HAVE children.

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Karen April 26, 2010 at 11:18 am

Sue — I get those same questions about when my husband and I will have children. He and I *DO* want them, sort of, but not for the next few years. People always seems dissatisfied by any answer that isn't "AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Personally, I dont mind if people think Im selfish. I'd rather wait and be considered selfish than rush into something I'm not ready to do yet.

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Dr. J April 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I don't know about rescuing oneself, but I think you know from my "Brother's Story" that my sister is adopted and her triumph over adversity has been an inspiration to our whole family!

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I'm Not Superhuman April 26, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I thought this was a crazy comment, too. But then again, I think to have kids you need to be completely selfless. And if you can't get beyond your own self (and your looks) in order to have a child, then I don't think you're ready to have kids. I don't have any kids, but I know that when I do I'll have to be ready to give up myself–my time, regular sleeping hours, money, and even my current body.

That said, I do fear the toll pregnancy will take on my body. It's not enough to keep me from having children, but it definitely worries me–since women now are expected to be bikini ready (with a flat stomach and no stretch marks) three weeks after giving birth.

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KUrunner April 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I used to love Jillian, but it's hard to idolize someone who is a huge hypocrite. (There's no easy fix, but please buy these diet pills anyway.)

Ok, so whether or not she wants to have kids is up to her. But it pisses me off for her to be so worried about the physical affects it will have on her body, then turn around and tell moms everywhere that they can have a body like hers if they just work hard enough. Too much emphasis is put on how our bodies look as it is, and it's no longer enough to be healthy at a decent weight. You have to have ripped abs, perky boobs, and cellulite free thighs.

You know, maybe it's better that she doesn't have kids because I'm sure her body would snap right back a la Victoria's Secret then she really would think it's possible for every woman to get their pre-baby bodies back.

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marathonmaiden April 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm

i've never had kids but i'm pretty sure that all concerns about vanity are erased (at least temporarily) when you realize that you are *carrying* another person and that your body is able to sustain life. sure i know of mothers who complain about their figures going but i'm also pretty sure that they wouldn't change anything

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Jody - Fit at 52 April 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I am not sure how I feel. On one end, I think she has the right to make the decision she wants to make based on her life but on the other hand, she is out there selling being happy with yourself & being fit as both important. She is sort of saying that how she looks is more important than her inner feelings or wants.. which is opposite of what she tells the clients. Course, I don't know how she really feels so….. but, hard call to me on this one…

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Diana April 26, 2010 at 1:16 pm

"It reads as if she is saying that women who have had children are inherently less beautiful and that our self worth should be tied to what we look like rather than who we are."
Bravo Charlotte. I think you hit the nail on the head. I have a cousin who is a twin and she told me she would never have kids because she saw what it did to her twin sister's body. Now I am totally self conscious around her thinking that she thinks I'm ugly because I've had kids. I avoid her altogether, while I shouldn't care what she thinks, her comment still hurt me.
Jillian Micheals is outspoken and sometimes rude. It is, however, her job to help people to be their healthiest. That includes body AND mind. Comments like that just make us feel even more self conscious about being overweight. If she really wants to be the world's toughest trainer, she should keep those thoughts to herself.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Excellent point about the resentment issue! Hadn't thought of that. And yes, I agree that honesty is best.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Yes, I agree taht pregnancy brings up all kinds of body issues for many women (myself included). I would just hope that wouldn't be the only criteria she would use to make her decision.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I TOTALLY get the croissant down the front of your pants. I have my own:)

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I don't hate your answer! I'm totally fine with women not wanting to have kids, I just hope that physical appearance isn't the only criteria that people use in making that decision. It sounds like you have come to your decision not from a place of fear but rather from a place of positivity.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Think of all the merch she could push!! I'm laughing so hard right now. Good point!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Yes, I commented on your post! Did you not get my reply? I thought your post was great!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I never said it was "whacked" or even abnormal to worry about what pregnancy willl do to your body – I jus thope it's not the only criteria that women use. And you make an excellent point about fear of death or other consequences of pregnancy.

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bobbie April 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Some thoughts should stay just that and not be shared with your lips. We are all vain to some point, but had I not had children, I never would have experienced the joy of breast feeding… something I said I would never do. See, some thoughts should just remain just those.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I'd wondered the same thingf about it being taken out of context or misinterpreted….

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Joan April 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Stretch marks, belly flab, the proliferation of small dark moles – all not too bad, since I did lose the baby weight and went from an A cup to a C cup. But down the road – the prolapsing uterus, etc.: I found this harder to deal with. Still all worth it!
Tiger lady! wow – we should be proud of the signs of having given birth to our children!

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LAM April 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

As you well know, raising kids is HARD. Any reason a women has for not wanting children is a perfectly valid one. We already know Jillian has major body issues (the woman destroys her food to avoid eating). It doesn't matter how shallow you think she is, the way her body looks has a major impact on her emotional well-being. That much more important than having children for no other reason than fear of regret.

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dragonmamma/naomi April 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I can't work up any anger about this at all. People have (naturally or otherwise) or don't have children for all sorts of reasons. Who am I to judge?

Every once in a while my teenagers ask me "Why did you have kids?" and I have to answer "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!"

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Véronique April 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I can totally relate.

I would add: I also fear loving something (err someone) so much. A kind of love that consumes you, transforms you and one that will definitely hurt you in a way you've never been hurt before.

For instance, if my kid gets bullied like I was bullied, what if I can't protect him or her just like I couldn't protect myself? I don't want to relive my childhood through them. I don't want the worry that comes with EVERYTHING… his or her tummy ache, fever, injuries, attitude, friends…

I fear that kind of attachment. I know that that is what makes it magical but I fear what that kind of attachment does to you and how such a decision is a permanent life-long one (I'm a bit of a commitment phobic – no tattoos, no marriage, no house… I can't even dye my hair cause it implies a regular commitment to keep it up, )

I also fear the permanent bond you make with the father of your child. I know I am going to be incredibly picky about the kind of person I want raising a child with, the kind of person I want to have a relationship with forever (even if we were not in a romantic relationship, we would still be in a parent relationship).

My sex-appeal does weave itself into my confidence levels and how good I feel about myself so having saggy boobs or effed up nipples or a croissant in my pants does scare the crap out of me too. I fear I would get really depressed if there was nothing I could do to improve that and if I couldn't attract members of the opposite sex or my current partner.

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Kate April 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I'm so disappointed how misconstrued this quote has become. She did not mean it purely for physical appearance.

She means it in that she fears gaining the weight before of her overweight roots. She has a lot of issues tangled up in weight gain and the idea of having to gain weight when pregnant is traumatizing for her. I'm sure if she became pregnant she would be forced to deal with it, but if would take an army of counsellors and therapists. The idea is if she wants to have children she would adopt to bypass having to face that issue.

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Kim April 26, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I've been meaning to post on my blog about Jillians comments, especially since I've done the whole "I don't want kids" thing (in my last marriage) and NO REASON was ever "good enough" for people who felt that I should have children. I think that there is more to Jillian's statements that she's not discussing. For example, I think she has some mental issues that make her fear going back to what she was before.

I doubt that this is her only reason for not wanting to give birth (the fact that she is a lesbian being a big one, I'd assume), she is likely just pulling one reason out of the hopper today and giving it, since she was asked. I used to do that. I had a laundry list of reasons why I didn't want kids, and I would just name one at a time to people who asked me, since a laundry list would be too much.

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linteater April 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I took Jillian's comments more as a "don't want to go through the horrors of pregnancy" than a "don't want to get fat/stretch marks."

I mean, pregnancy sounds pretty horrible, with the squashed internal organs, mood swings, food cravings, swollen ankles, possible migraines, etc. Not to mention the post-partum depression and the pain of giving birth itself.

Not saying it's not worth it, but I can't blame someone for not wanting to go through that.

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Marnie April 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

it is so funny, when i read that quote i totally didn't even think about her not wanting to get all stretched out and fat and 'unacceptable', i thought she meant the total craziness of growing a human inside you and then having to squeeze it out of a tiny tiny hole. maybe that is because THAT is the part that freaks me out?

anyway, i didn't read the article but maybe she meant that side of it more than boob sag etc.

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jen trinque April 26, 2010 at 4:01 pm

My concern after reading her comments (which, as someone pointed out, may have been taken out of context), is that she's a)still holding onto some serious body image issues leftover from her childhood and b)she's setting a scary example for women and I think a better example to set would be to have the baby, get back in shape or not, and talk about how it has changed her life and feelings toward her own body.

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Colleen April 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I'm scared to have kids because of what it will do to my body, but I also love doing things that scare me! It makes me realize that I'm stronger than I think I am. That being said, I also worry needlessly about my kids being bullied…thenI flip the coin and inwardly cringe when I realize they could be the bullies (if they take after my husband). I also worry about them throwing up because I just can't handle that…but my husband has said he'll take care of it. After typing this I realize I sound a bit nutty…and that I totally worry about the wrong things.

Sometimes I dream about having a baby, and when I wake up it's so real I want to cry…so I know that no amount of fear is going to keep me from being a parent (one day!).

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Colleen April 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm

*My husband is not a bully anymore…in fact I don't think he ever was one, but he has a very strong personality that deterred bullies, quite the opposite from my pansy-butt! :)

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Karen April 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Hi Charlotte — I was responding to Averie's use of the phrase "whacked logic" in my reply to her, not to your post directly!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Oops- thanks Karen!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I think you summed it allup with "systemic personal issues"! Thanks for the blog tip on Cassandra!!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Very well said Mae! Thanks for speaking up for the other point of view – you make a lot of sense.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I'm so with you on this one. My love/hate with her has been stuck on the hate side for awhile now.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I hope that Jillian's reasoning is as nuanced as yours! It sounds like you've thought about this a lot. That said, I do hope that *IF* you do want to have a baby someday, you won't let those fears hold you back. None of us are perfect parents and I think you'll find that a lot of those worries (not being maternal, not liking other people's kids) just aren't an issue when you have your own baby. Of course, I'm NOT telling you to have a baby if you don't want one:)

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I remember that story! Beautiful!!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm

You do have to sacrifice a lot to have kids – your body being the least of those sacrifices:) And it's ok to HAVE fears – heaven knows I sure did/do! – but let them keep you from doing something you would otherwise enjoy is a real loss.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I hadn't thought of it this way : "But it pisses me off for her to be so worried about the physical affects it will have on her body, then turn around and tell moms everywhere that they can have a body like hers if they just work hard enough" but you make an excellent point!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

That's how it was for me! Sure I whine a lot about my stretch marks etc. but I'd do it all over again for my kids:)

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

"She is sort of saying that how she looks is more important than her inner feelings or wants.. " Good point Jody!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I am so sorry about what your cousin said! I'm guessing that she made the comment out of a place of insecurity and not judgment of you but it still DOES hurt for sure.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Great point about how the actual experience changes your perspective! And I'm so glad you are enjoying bf'ing!!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Prolapsed uterus?!? Egads. I've heard about those. I'm glad you are ok!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Good point with regards to her emotional well being. Still, I wish she'd explained her stance as well as you did! (Maybe you should offer to work as her publicist!!)

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

It's very true – none of us have any right to judge another woman for her choice to have or not have children. I take issue however with her making the statement in a national magazine and generalizing it to other women. So perhaps my issue is more with the mag than her?

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Good point about the emotional issues. I've wondered if she were allowed to just sit down and explain it all rather than that one little pull-quote from the article if it would make more sense.

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Great point about the decision to not have children never being as simple as just one reason. Sadly, she didn't explain it further. Of course she shouldn't have to, but I would have liked it if she did! And I'm so sorry that people wouldn't take your "I don't want kids" answer – that should be good enough for anyone!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm

hahahah! Good point!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I'm not very familiar with her history but it wouldn't be surprising for a woman in the public spotlight to have major body image issues!

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charlotte April 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Oh you do NOT sound nutty! Everyone has worries about pregnancy, childbirth and what kind of mother they will be. None of us are perfect – just know that if you do decide you want kids, you will figure it out and you will be better at than you ever thought you could be! Even when it comes to barf:)

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heather April 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Jillian continues to disappoint me; I used to be a huge fan. It started with her diet pill line, then I read how she could be in love with a woman or a man, not just in one but two articles, and now this. Yes, if I had her body, I would be worried about the toll pregnancy would have on it, but seriously I see fitness instructors at my gym who've had four, five and more kids who look like they've never had kids. My interest in her and anything she has to say has plummetted. (you look great btw!)

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bjbella5 April 26, 2010 at 5:28 pm

When I read articles like this I laugh at what a mess we have made of the natural and inevitable processes of life. Childbirth, child rearing and death are all necessary for human survival. What happens when every human woman (& men too) decide that looks, self-identity, independence and whatever else, are too important to give up to have kids. Whoops, wait a minute, now humanity as we know it is going to END. (and not just in the rhetorical sense but the the actual "no more human babies=no more human beings" way)
Hello Hollywood…I think I just came up with a great movie idea ;-)

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Alina April 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I just read that article last night, and I am so glad you wrote about it! I love her 30-day Shred, so it pains me to write this, but Jillian has seriously gone off the deep end. The "rescuing something" statement is insane. As is her idea that she will replace Oprah in a new niche called "Ultimate Wellness." Will she package ultimate wellness Your Best Life Supplements next? Anyway, after the rescuing statement, I just hope that she holds off on adoption until she hopefully eventually gets her sanity back.

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bjbella April 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Oops I meant to put aging in there too (in between child rearing and death), guess I could throw in sex too ;-)

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azusmom April 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

While she may have many good, valid reasons for not wanting to be pregnant, fear of what it will do to her body makes me believe she has been in Los Angeles too long. As someone who lived there for nearly a decade, I KNOW the effect living there has on a woman, especially being in the entertainment industry!
I think we've gotten to a point where we absolutely believe that women must never age, never gain an ounce, and hide any and all evidence of childbirth. It says a lot more about our culture than it does about Jillian MIchaels.
(BTW, for women who aren't planning on having kids: the next time someone asks "So when are you going to get pregnant?" maybe you could just say "I don't know. When are you planning on dying?"
Sometimes that's the only thing that works, lol!)

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VaMomof2 April 26, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Birthed my 2 and it did change my body but I would not change a thing. What I took away from her comments was the thought that if she worried about how pregnancy would change her body then she should not adopt. I have gray hair, wrinkles and bags under my eyes from raising these 2 – there is no way to escape the scars of motherhood – If you put your body first (in any way at any time) your children will suffer.

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Geosomin April 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm

It is a vain reson to not have children, but at least she is honest. I am tired of being told that because I do not yet have children, by life is somehow incomplete. I may have kids yet, I may not. My body will change if I do, but I think coming down on someone for being honest about it isn't really helping things. I know for me, I'm just tired of being asked about kids…
I don't think the rescue statement is out of line really. Poor choice of words, but I get what she means. There are a lot of children who need a loving family…adoption and fostering is important. It changes lives.

Yeesh. I don't like the woman and I'm almost defending her…what have you done? :)

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Carly April 26, 2010 at 11:20 pm

I read this with a bit of horror and relief at the same time that someone could say (part of) things I had feared myself. The husband and I have been married for almost 8 years but because of various life reasons haven't extended our family. We are close to the point that we are going to try – and I can't say that the fear of gaining weight isn't in the back of my mind. The husband doesn't help – we saw a new mother out jogging with a stroller and he made a comment on her weight – when I called him out on it he said that women don't have to gain 60 lbs while pregnant (citing close friends who both remained fairly trim during their pregnancies). Don't get me wrong – when it comes to my weight he was always been supportive even at 20lbs heavier and never, ever made me feel fat, but I can't help but wonder if I'm going to be that girl who gains 60lbs and can't get rid of it. Any tips for me before we start trying? I'm trying to lose those last 5lbs right now and be healthy so at least I'm starting from a good spot. :)

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AnotherSuburbanMom April 27, 2010 at 1:23 am

I am glad she further explained her comments. Pregnancy does make a lot of changes to your body and I think the fear of pregnancy and childbirth is a reasonable fear.

I was not worried about wrecking my body with pregnancy, but it is not like I started out with Heidi Klum's body.

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Heather Eats Almond Butter April 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Many moms that I know are in better shape now than they were before having kids. It's rather inspiring. I'll be the first to admit that the thought of the changes that will occur in/to my body if I should ever have a baby scare me, but I also know that with diet and exercise, not all of those changes have to be permanent…and just so you know Charlotte, you have totally inspired me. :)

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redhead April 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I tried to comment before but the comments were broken, so better late than never!

Her comments about not having kids don't honestly bother me that much, though I think she could have phrased it better. But from her history of being an overweight kid and many of the comments she's made, I would not be surprised if she had an eating disorder, or at least disordered behavior, at some point. Getting pregnant can really trigger those behaviors if the mom isn't careful, and those behaviors can really damage the baby. If she's worried that losing control over her body while gaining weight at the same time, plus hormones, will trigger a relapse and lead to unhealthy behaviors and an unhealthy baby, then by all means adopt.

However, the "rescuing something" comment REALLY bothered me. I rescued my puppy, and I don't even refer to him as a thing – and he's a dog! Rescuing something, to me, means taking a used coffee table out of the dumpster and refinishing it. Not a good analogy – unless she's rescuing babies out of a dumpster, in which case she has much bigger problems!

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Anon April 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

You really need to move your apology to the TOP of this post, or else delete the whole thing. Your blog is usually so insightful and responsible, but this entry is WAY OFF the mark. You are, of course, entitled to your own opinions, but I don't think misinterpreting Jillian's remarks adds to anyone's body of knowledge. A National Enquirer/Fox News-y kinda post …

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chariander April 28, 2010 at 3:50 am

First of all, don't feel bad that you worry about gaining weight and not being able to lose it – you'd be hard pressed to find a woman out there who doesn't!!  Secondly, I don't know that I have any earth shattering advice for you that hasn't already been said by smarter people but I did just birth my 5th baby 5 months ago and if you'd like to read about my pregnancy – including how I dealt with my weight gain etc. – check out the link on the right side that says \”Pregnancy\”.  Good luck with the new little one!  So exciting!!

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chariander April 28, 2010 at 3:57 am

I'm sorry you were so offended.  I offer you my apologies as well.

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bix April 28, 2010 at 7:07 am

I don't think any woman should be persecuted for deciding NOT to have a child, no matter what her reasons. Being female does not automatically make someone fit to be a mother!

As for Jillian Michaels, I'm pretty sure most of what she says gets extremely distorted by the media, just like any other 'star.'

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mjb May 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I know JM cleared up her meaning but, as you say, other people have made similar comments about not wanting to mess up their bodies by having kids.

My thought is, if somebody's that shallow, don't we want them to avoid parenting? Can you imagine the body issues a daughter of a person like that would have? Unless, of course, the act of parenting might somehow enlighten them on the true purpose of life (hint: not having a good body…)

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Dee May 24, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Jillian further explained her reasoning behind this…she has Endometriosis and PCOS – both of which are firtility issues that would either require longterm medication and/or surgery (and we know she hates the thought of both).

it's her own choice how she wants or doesn't want to have kids…

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Dee May 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

here's the article on Momlogic: http://www.momlogic.com/2010/05/jillian_michaels_

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