Family

#TBT to 2013 – From Tweet to Today Show

OK-UK

It started with a tweet.  One solitary tweet into the ether, not even a week ago. Yet here I sit, exhausted, exhilarated and full of faith in the human spirit! When I wrote my “Letter to Kate Middleton”  back at the start of July, I was wanting to support her and other first time mums on their incredible – and sometimes overwhelming – journey.

Then, as I sat, along with the rest of the world, watching the doors of The Lindo Wing, waiting to see the world’s most highly anticipated baby and new parents, I was beyond excited for Kate & Will.  Nothing can ever come close to the pride and euphoria of first time parents.  It’s such a magical time.

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Image courtesy of Daily Mirror

As Kate stood on those steps all coiffed and perfect, I couldn’t help but feel for her –  for the fact that she’d had a blow-dry, got made up and presented herself to the world at a time when she would have been tired, emotional and probably just wanted to have a nice cuppa and a piece of toast and revel in her “babymoon”.  The physical and emotional effort it took for Kate to step outside that door can be appreciated by every mother, worldwide and I felt full of respect for her.

I remember when our daughter Kaya, was born – leaving the hospital was traumatic.  I felt as if the world was so loud, so dirty and polluted, so totally overwhelming. My man even stopped our car to berate a driver behind us in Richmond Park for following too closely! “There’s a newborn baby in here,” he roared, the protective male lion defending his cub!  We laugh about it now, but at the time the desire to protect felt very real.

How Kate and William coped with the noise and glare of the world’s media outside the Lindo Wing, I’ll never know.  They were cool, calm and collected and even managed to joke with the assembled media and crowds.  They were, in short, perfect.  Had it been me, I’d have literally run to the car!  Which I did – to get some groceries, full of the joy of the first appearance of a future King.

Then THAT magazine cover slapped me in the face.  My anger at how un-just and irresponsible it was went from 0-100 faster than Clarkson screeching around a test track and I tweeted for a boycott of OK! in support of Kate.

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By the time I came to pay two minutes later, my phone was pinging with RTs like an overzealous Vegas slot machine.  “Don’t worry, I think it’s broken, the children drop it so often,” I innocently suggested to the bemused guy behind the counter.

But the OK! cover played on my mind.  How dare they even suggest that Kate should be worried about losing weight, weight she blatantly hadn’t even gained in the first place!  I felt saddened that such a positive time could be given a negative slant and nervous for other new mums who might see that cover and feel the pressure to “lose” a belly which had actually facilitated their motherhood.

Feeling totally helpless and in an attempt to counter the damage I tweeted a photo of myself two months after the birth of my son, Akira, to show the reality  of a post-baby body and try and take some of the pressure off women who already had enough on their plates with a new life to look after!

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BOOM.  That evening alone I had 1,000 re-tweets of both messages.

To date I’ve had 7,000 and gained over 10,000 new followers on Twitter.

I’m still completely bemused as to how it all happened, not to mention overwhelmed.  I was just trying to help mums feel normal.

But the fact that my tweets soon went viral were indicative of the strength of feeling on this very topic.

Let’s be honest here, the cover wasn’t the only insensitivity around the birth.

Kay Burley (the mother of a son herself) showed surprise that Kate still had a bump on Sky.  OK!’s official Twitter account questioned “Is it just us, or did anyone else just have a ‘How many babies were in there’ moment?”  And of course, THAT cover.

But I think the outpouring of feeling was to do with a lot more than a magazine editor who, frankly, took a punt on a bestselling issue and got it so horribly wrong.

Granted, as editor, not to mention as a woman and mother, Kirsty Tyler should have known better. And don’t even get me started on the OK! “apology” which was delivered like the meaningless “Sorrrrreeeee” of an indignant 10 year old who’s been forced to spit out the word.

But this soon became about much more than an ill-judged magazine cover. It was frustration that we’ve reached a point as a society where a magazine editor would even deem that cover suitable.  Ever.  Let alone in the moments surrounding the birth of a future king, whose mother has never put an LK Bennett step wrong.

How have we arrived at this place where women’s bodies are SO up for public scrutiny?

When a young mum is encouraged to start thinking weight loss, even before her baby is born, something is clearly wrong.

When Beyonce apparently wears four pairs of Spanx to hide her post baby bumps, something is clearly wrong.

When women tweet me to thank me for my honest picture because they’re victims of domestic violence, a violence which started when they didn’t instantly lose their baby weight ‘like the celebs had’, something is clearly wrong.

When Kim Kardashian feels the need to hide out for seven weeks, allegedly waiting until “she’s lost the baby-weight”, something is clearly wrong.

Did I expect my tweet to go global?  Absolutely not. I’d have taken more care over the wording if I’d thought for a moment it would even get 100 retweets!

Besides, honestly, no mum would wish this madness on her family in the first week of the summer holidays. It’s been crazy.

But this isn’t about me.

It’s about every new mum sat breastfeeding, feeling bad about herself after THAT cover.

It’s about the body image of all mums who should be left to get back to looking how THEY want, WHEN they want.

It’s for all women who are fed up of the constant scrutiny of women’s bodies in the media.

Enough with the madness.

This week, the comments came flooding in, filling my Twitter with the most uplifting and inspirational messages I’ve seen in a long time.  If you get a moment, have a read through. It makes you proud to be a woman.  And the level of support from men has been overwhelming too.

By Thursday I was doing interviews globally with Australia and Canada. On Friday it was LA’s Access Hollywood, by Saturday it was the juggernaut that is the US’s Today Show.

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A journalist asked me if I was nervous about the scale of reaction, given that OK! is such a powerful title and linked with so many newspapers, not to mention TV channels here in the UK.

I do find it interesting that all my TV interviews have been for overseas.

So maybe I should be worried!

But do I regret it?  Not for a nano-second.  Something HAS to change. I don’t want my seven year old daughter Kaya growing up under this kind of ridiculous body pressure.

One journalist suggested to me that he thought this was truly a tipping point.

We can but hope.

67 Comments

  • Reply Katy Hill and Blogging!Katy Hills Blog June 18, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    […] and got 55k hits in the space of a few hours!  Or the time I went viral after speaking out in support of new Mums like Kate Middleton and the ludicrous pressure to get their bodies back after the […]

  • Reply Anonymous September 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    wow. I never leave posts like this, but wanted to say good for you. Post pregnancy should be a time for getting to know your baby inside and out, not stressing about the baby weight- I PUT ON half a stone when my baby was first born and I really don’t care, it’ll come off when I want to focus on it and not before.

  • Reply mummiafelice August 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Hooray for you! Well done – something really does have to change.

    I would tweet my tummy 14 months post baby but I don’t think Twitter is ready for that! 😉

    Let’s hope this is a step in the right direction to stop the pressure on new mums. Let them enjoy their babies whilst they are STILL babies… they grow up too fast!

    • Reply Anonymous August 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m just fed up with the unfair pressure on women! x

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks so much for your lovely comments x

  • Reply Mum in a Hurry August 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Well done for raising such an important issue into the public eye. When I saw the OK! Cover I was pretty disgusted. I don’t know what they were thinking to be honest! Just goes to show how wrong they were by the volume of supporting comments you received.

  • Reply Amanda Lowry August 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Well done with your article and tweets. I didn’t know about the OK cover till a few days after Prince George had been born. I was glued to the telly on the day and thought it was wonderful to see a normal new family emerge from the hospital, William putting the car seat in the car and taking his wife and new born home, himself! When they first appeared Kate was radiant and her dress was lovely and seeing her post baby pump I felt proud that she felt confident to show off her figure and not hide behind Spandex like other celebs. I know when I had my fab son in 2009 I felt the pressure a little as I have always been thin. I had all the jokes when I announced that I was pregnant, ‘OO Amanda will be fat!’ I tried not to let it worry me as while pregnant I knew I had to eat healthy for me and my growing baby. But when our son was born I did feel the pressure a little. There were little comments, mainly from people saying that I would soon loose the weight as I used to be so thin. But I was too tired and shell shocked to think about exercising. So I didn’t let it effect me, I made sure I still ate healthy and walked everyday with my lovely little boy. And I felt proud to be a mum and I still am. I just worry for all the children who will have all this pressure on them when they grow up, esp. the girls. It makes me laugh as when I was at school and as thin as all the celebs now I was picked on, a lot. Yet now we have gone celebs and image conscious mad, all the girls are trying desperately to be as thin as I was. Lets hope the UK pick up on all this and realise every new mum needs support not pressure to loose the baby weight. Like you said we made a HUMAN!

  • Reply MushroomsMum (Rachael) August 2, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    I knew about the original tweet but hasn’t seen your post baby belly photo until now. Wow. You are just awesome. I wish more celebrities would be honest about motherhood so the rest of the (western) world could start to feel ok about being normal!

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      I wish people would be more honest too! Thanks for your lovely comment x

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Hey Rachael – I wish more would be honest too! K x

  • Reply Kizzy August 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    I totally agree with you. There is far too much pressure on women to look a certain way, even without the fact you’ve just had a baby. I have grown to love my body after havig my 3 but it has taken me 5 years since having my youngest to feel that way.
    Well done for bringing this important issue to the forefront and it is such a shame the UK media didn’t react in the same way the world media has.
    Thanks for standing up for new mums.

  • Reply Verily Victoria Vocalises July 31, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I love, love, love that you have taken ‘OK’ to task over this – they have been one of those magazines ‘not living in the real world’ for a very long time now and it took someone with enough guts – i.e. YOU – to do something about it for all us Mothers out there 🙂 Thank you from the heart of my bottom and my slight baby belly 6 and a half years on (with hopefully another one by the time we get to BritMums 2014!).

  • Reply Gammon & Chips (@maddiesinclair) July 31, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Fantastic quick reaction from you in the newsagents Katy. It is TOTALLY unacceptable of OK to think that cover would be, well, OK. The thing that gets me about it all is that her bump outside the Lindo Wing wasn’t even her baby weight – it was her uterus which hadn’t contracted yet. I can’t believe that journalists who also happen to be mothers didn’t clear that up in their commentary straight away when any sort of bump was mentioned. It is a very natural part of giving birth and well done to Kate for not trying to hide it.

    OK should have done some research and realised that new mothers should not be strenuously exercising until at least 6 weeks after the birth once they have been ‘signed off’ by their GP (and longer for women who have had caesars). But I guess they are so immersed in the celebrity world (where this advice is completely ignored and new mothers in the public eye pay Personal Trainers a fortune to whip them into shape in record time) that they forgot to check the NHS’s medical advice. It’s so sad. Well done Katy. Loved seeing you at BritMums Live! by the way. 🙂

  • Reply KensingtonMums July 31, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Great article and we all support you here at Kensington Mums. Lets all put the mmm into motherhood xx

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Lets! x

  • Reply MrsShilts July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Katy, you’re amazing! Thank you so much for standing up to peer pressure that as a new mummy we need to ping back into shape immediately after we have given birth.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks so much. And loved your post! Thanks for sharing x

  • Reply older mum in a muddle July 31, 2013 at 9:41 am

    What you did was brilliant and inspiring and so supportive to all new mothers out there. Little A is three years old now and I still have the over hang! And isn’t it interesting that the British press didn’t pick up on it??? Anyway, shows the power of Twitter – so influential. Well done you on being so kind to women everywhere…. now that’s what I call real feminism. XXX

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks so much lady! Lovely to hear your comments x

  • Reply Barbedwords July 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Well done for standing up for new mums everywhere.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks so much x

  • Reply helloitsgemma July 31, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Your gut reaction clearly ‘pinged’ with a lot of people – which speaks volumes. Something has to change, our media needs to reappraise it’s attitude towards women, which all to often judgemental and crass.
    Well done – you rode the wave with style!

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks lady! It was a crazy week – first week of the hols too. My house is a disaster! x

  • Reply Threebecomefour July 30, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    In a week where women’s issues have been at the forefront of the media, this issue highlights how women are treated in the media and the ridiculous expectations placed on women to look a certain way in order to be considered beautiful. Thank you, on behalf of all women, for standing up for one aspect of this and for sharing your own images in solidarity for Kate.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment x

  • Reply Mummy Barrow July 30, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    You know how I love you. Your down to earthiness and your full on support of women full stop.

    Go you!

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Love YOU! Now stop trying to make me cry! 😉 x

  • Reply TheBoyandMe July 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    You are inspirational to have done this, and to have posted an honest picture of yourself a few months after your son’s birth. Four years down the line and my body hasn’t recovered and I’m very conscious of it. But I’m just a normal mum, to have the pressure that Kate has is horrendous and I hope that she shows every other new mum out there that it doesn’t matter!

    I know you tweeted it as Katy the mum, but it’s Katy the celebrity that has been able to publicise it and get the coverage, fame can be useful at times!

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      You’re right! Still in shock mind! x

  • Reply Carrie July 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Good on you Katy. Well said. I think you speak for the the majority of women and men in this country. I have noticed that i get more admiring glances with post baby curves than i ever did pre babies. Lets celebrate what we are not what we are expected to be. X

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      LOVE that you get more glances! GO GIRL! x

  • Reply Super Busy Mum {Debs} July 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Amazing post. Well said. I couldn’t believe the front cover of OK when I saw it myself. The pressure she’s feeling with bearing our Future King surely is heavy enough on her shoulders. I hope now she’s relaxing at home now with her beautiful little family. Cherishing every moment.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      I hope she is too! Thanks so much x

  • Reply Tina Mansfield July 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    well put!!

  • Reply anna July 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    brilliant post! sometimes people don’t realise how hurtful these kind of comments can be. when i had my 1st baby, the 1st comments i got from one of my relatives coming to visit in hospital was all about – you need to get a corset to shrink your stomach back, that’s what the women all do back home etc. I was thinking wait a minute, haven’t even given birth 24 hours ago, haven’t slept, my baby is not well and this is the most important thing on the agenda?? and with kate being in the public eye must be so much harder.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      I heard Jessica Alba did that corset thing too. Ridiculous! x

  • Reply Susanna July 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    You go girl! BritMums is behind you. x

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Thank goodness for organisations like you! x

  • Reply Sarah July 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Well done Katy for voicing the thoughts of mums everywhere!

    I have two young daughters and my body will never be the same again but who cares as it gave me my gorgeous girls – how amazing is that!

    Keep up the good work! x

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Thanks so much Sarah. Enjoy those girls! x

  • Reply Franglaise Mummy July 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you so much for standing up to what is effectively bullying. Now how can we take this further and stop our children growing up with magazines that are obsessed with what celebs eat and look like? I can’t boycott a magazine I don’t already buy, but I no longer want to hear my 6 year old daughter tell me, in all seriousness and sadness, that you have to be skinny to be beautiful (from a child who weighs what an average 4 year old weighs so certainly has no overweight issues). This upset me so much I blogged about it, but I don’t know what else I/we can do. Any ideas for the blogging community, Katy?

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Hey lady – thanks so much for your message. I’m letting the dust settle, and thinking about how we take this forward x

  • Reply Jayne July 30, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I’m completely and utterly in awe of what you’ve managed to achieve in such a short amount of time and so glad that the opinions of normal women are, for once, being heard. Its about time we stood up to the media, instead of simply grumbling behind closed doors, and I truly hope that this god-awful publication goes the way of the News of the World, another trash-rag which massively overstepped the mark.

    Well done Katy, you are well and truly epic.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks so much lady! LOVE the outpouring of agreement. It’s an epic feeling when we all stand, united x

  • Reply Sarah COlliver July 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Katie, Katie…BRAVO…At last someone with common sense and who is normal from the media circus who shames women in to feeling ugly, fat and useless…beauty is about the whole of a person, not solely on weight. You have spoken for all of us who have a tiny voice struggling to be heard and I applaud your honest and integrity!! You look beautiful in your post baby photograph by the way. Keep up the fight for all the normal people in the world!! 🙂

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you SO much x

  • Reply liz July 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you for having the courage and the tenacity to bring this important subject into the spotlight. Words are powerful but the only way for this to have a long lasting impact is for it to affect the balance sheets of the media corporations who circulate this nonsense. We owe it to ourselves and to other wonen to stop buying this trash and to focus on what’s important; the health of a new mum and her baby. I’m proud of you Katy and you have my upmost respect.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks so much Liz x

  • Reply Sally B July 30, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Dear Katy,

    I love what you have done, one angry Tweet that captured the thoughts of thousands of women who are hacked off with the weight debate.

    I do think this is a wider issue than new mums. When little girls of five are talking about dieting and all women (and many men) feel under pressure to conform, we’ve become shallow and screwed up.

    Magazines and newspapers respond to what people buy so vote with your purse. But tell the publication you’re doing so so they can choose which stories to run.

    Hopefully this long overdue backlash will remind us all that it’s nice to be nice. We’re sisters, we should stick together.

    Thanks for using your voice to speak out, Katy.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Thank you so much Sally x

  • Reply Hayley Goleniowska July 30, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I am so very proud of you, for saying what we all felt, and for sharing your honest and beautiful post baby photo. You have made a difference.
    Hayley
    x

  • Reply Roberta joinson July 30, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Well said Katy..its an age old attitude to women that they are objects and possessions that must give birth and look gorgeous at all times..we haven’t come very far really in this age of of equality when ok magazine print headlines like
    that.. Where is the thought provoking youth that should question these ideas..Are we educating our young to follow the crowd and not question the popular press and their
    concepts..We should encourage and educate young men and women to see worth in peoples actions and deeds and not how they look..

  • Reply Vonnett July 30, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Katy, I think it’s amazing the way you have boosted the moral of so many mums out there, me included. ‘Ok Magazine’ made me so mad with their cover, but the support generated by your campaign is inspirational!
    I have been a parent for 20 years & as a proud mum of 4 had felt pressured after each to return to the slender figure I had previously. I spent & wasted many years disliking my new body even after slimming down with the first three & that this time, with my fourth, 2 years on & 2stone heavier felt worse than ever…until recently…for the first time in a long time I can look at my wobbly, tiger striped belly in the mirror & smile!
    So I would like to thank you for starting this campaign against the media’s negative view of a woman’s post baby body & for all the wonderfully positive support it has generated to be proud of our bumps, lumps, scars n all…as you rightly said ” we created a human”!
    I just wanted to let you know that you have been an inspiration to me & though I have always been proud at all my body has achieved…four beautiful children…looking in a mirror with pride was another story. I still have weight to lose but I will get there when I’m ready, after all running around after four children is exhausting so who has time for diets & gyms…much prefer a nice hot cuppa with a few biscuits anyway!
    Love to all mums out there new & experienced…be proud & “look what we did”! 🙂 x

  • Reply Laura July 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Thank you for highlighting this issue Katy. It is sadly true that the media are obsessed with women’s weight loss and how celebrities snap back from their pregnancy bodies so quickly which then heightens expectation on us normal folk! I really appreciated your tweet and accompanying photo! Keep up the good work!! xxx

  • Reply Clare Goldsack July 30, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Great piece Katy. Keep up the good work for us Mums xx

  • Reply becky July 30, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Thank you! My son is 2 and a half and I’m expecting my second in February. I never really lost the baby bump first time round so am dealing with the fact that it will most definitely be here to stay once this one arrives. The pressure for women to look slim and beautiful is out there all the time and to be expected to look like a runway model days after having a baby is madness – it took nearly 10 months to make a baby, give us mothers a break! It’s hard enough getting enough sleep with a new born without the pressure to be a size 8! Thank you for standing up for mums and post baby bumps!

  • Reply Jo Henley July 30, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I think it’s fantastic that the world is showing your opinion! The pressure on mum’s is ridiculous. That cover should have been about the wonderful glow on her face. I hope she hides away for a while and enjoys being a mum, not worrying about her figure x

  • Reply Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer July 30, 2013 at 10:17 am

    So glad you did this – you are so right. The sane and sensible stand by you – it’s an incredible time and to be honoured. V proud of you Katy 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous July 30, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I loved your letter and admire your bravery and stance in your original tweeting. As you say, something is clearly wrong. You are right and have the backing of all the sane and sensible, whose priorities are the child (ren) they have made. Pregnancy and birth are incredible and to be celebrated. The time passes all too quickly anyhow. Sorry I’m late to this (”madness, first week summer hols!’) – but v glad you’re doing it and v proud of you Katy.

  • Reply Fiona July 30, 2013 at 10:07 am

    You are brilliant! You should be so proud of yourself!

  • Reply HonestMum July 30, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Well done you!

    The media have a lot to answer for-the sheer pressure Kim Kardashian and of course the Duchess must have felt pregnant (and the abuse the former got) would put anyone in hiding.

    Kate did so much for mothers everywhere, standing proud with her beautiful post baby bump when she debuted Prince George to the world. She looked radiant and more so, confident and this will help so many new mums the world over.

    Baby weight takes time and for some they never lose it, like you said it’s OK, life has been created-our bodies did good!

    You’ve made a stand and I hope this is just the beginning!

  • Reply HPMcQ July 30, 2013 at 9:45 am

    HURRAH BRAVO you said out loud to the world what we all say to ourselves or mutter amongst ourselves. You done a marvellous marvellous thing x

  • Reply Boo Roo and Tigger Too July 30, 2013 at 9:44 am

    After I had my son I can remember my daughter coming in to the hospital to visit me and her saying ‘I thought you were losing your big belly’. Truly hurtful words but from a 4 year old, I can only imagine how Kate and all new mums felt by seeing that magazine cover.

    Thank you for sharing your photo post baby and a bigger thank you for bringing post baby body image to the attention of the world

  • Reply Gretta Schifano July 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Katy, you’ve done a fantastic thing and this is a brilliant post. I hope that it leads to a change in the way parts of the media treat women’s bodies.

  • Reply mascara & mud July 30, 2013 at 9:32 am

    high five for everything you have done here! bloody brilliant stuff xx

  • Reply Mary July 30, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Awesome. Well done you. You totally rock.

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Mary! x

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