Model Hunter McGrady opened up about the expectations on pregnant people to “bounce back” and look a certain way, even during pregnancy
Plus-size model Hunter McGrady gave birth to her first baby, a son named Hudson, back in June, and she has used her social media platform to help chip away at the stigmas surrounding people in larger bodies when it comes to health and body image before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and postpartum. In a candid new interview with Health, the 28-year-old explained that not only did she feel “tons” of anxiety about even being able to carry a pregnancy, but that she feared being body-shamed at the doctors due to past experiences.
“Before pregnancy, society kept telling me that my body was unhealthy and that I’d have a hard time getting pregnant or staying pregnant,” said McGrady. “Every doctor’s appointment, I was so nervous. I’ve become more bold when it comes to my body and doctors. In the past, I’d go in for an earache and they’d say, ‘You should lose weight.’ So, early in my pregnancy, I told my doctor that I didn’t want to discuss my weight unless it became a real issue to me or the baby. When I’d get on the scale, I’d tell them I didn’t want to know the number. As someone who came from disordered eating, I’ve worked too long and hard to care about what that number is. My doctor was on board with it, and I had a healthy pregnancy until the end, when I got preeclampsia,” a complication characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy that can damage other organs, including the liver and kidneys.
As for how she navigated her feelings about her changing body during pregnancy, she shared, “I had to meet myself again during pregnancy. My body was providing for someone else. I appreciated my body in a different way. Maybe it’s because of the way society treats pregnant women. All of a sudden, people say you’re glowing and fabulous. And then postpartum happens, and everyone asks when you’re going to lose weight — there’s that whole bounce-back culture. You’re not sleeping, you don’t even know your name — you can’t think about bouncing back. It made me realize that throughout life, you have to meet yourself over and over again, because your body does change — and that’s what’s beautiful about it.”
Hopefully McGrady’s words of wisdom will help others feel less alone in the complicated feelings they, too, might have about their bodies during and after pregnancy — all of which is compounded by attitudes of stigma and shame by purportedly well-meaning medical professionals and loved ones under the guise of “health.” Bravo to her for standing her ground and nurturing herself through each change — and for reminding others that everyone is worthy of being treated with respect and dignity, no matter their size or health status.