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April 26, 2010

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It wasn't just 'body fears.' She has a medical condition (forget what it's called but I think it's like fibroids) that would make getting pregnant very close to impossible for her. Research before you comment, people!

Didn't Katherine Heigle (sp?) make a similar comment?

It is interesting to see that even JM has dysmorphia issues.

the ironic part is, with her being so dang fit, and having such a firmly developed 6 pack, they physical process of carrying a baby would not be that detrimental. (assuming she doesn't have complications requiring bedrest or other issues).

Being so fit and being so in the habit of being fit means she'd come through fairly well and get back to her former shape pretty quickly. Look at other athletic moms: the one that comes to mind for me is Paula Radcliffe, the British marathon runner, but I'm sure there are many examples.

As an adoptive mother, I will throw in a few cents that adopting a child is NOT about rescue. It is about the desire to be a mother and raise a child.

Hopefully she means dogs, because no good social worker would let her get past a homestudy with reasons for adopting a child that consist of "I might rescue myself by rescuing a child." and "I don't want to screw up my abs" (which is totally ok if she doesn't want to get pregnant for that reason, it's just not a reason to adopt).

Comments taken out of context stink, I am sure if we normal humans were in the public eye we'd all screw up a million times with our insensitivity, so I harbor her no ill will for her comments however ridiculous they sound.

I am just saying, motherhood doesn't rescue a person, or yourself or fix your issues. So I hope that isn't what she means, or she will have two folks to put through therapy, herself and an adopted child.

Amen. Well done.

Someone wrote another great post in response to this hullabaloo, on New Jersey Moms Blog:

http://www.newjerseymomsblog.com/2010/04/an-open-letter-to-jillian-michaels-draft.html

I am not boycotting Jillian by any means, but it disappointed me that she couldn't find a different way to express herself. She unintentionally alienated a good percentage of her fans.

I saw (on Access Hollywood) her trying to correct the whole thing, but instead she responded to the headline that quoted her as saying she didn't want to "ruin" her body, and didn't go on to correct her actual words.

That said, famous people are scrutinized for EVERY LITTLE THING. I know I wouldn't want to be a celebrity, that's for sure.

@Carrie (the first posted comment.)

I did! Did you?! I think the point that Kristen is trying to make is that to be a motivating force, particularly for moms trying to shed that baby fat, you need to abstain from making ANY derogatory comments about pregnancy no matter what you personal feelings are about childbirth and carrying a child. If it's not a sacrifice that you are willing to make, then as a fitness instructor and motivator to moms everywhere, you of all people should abstain from these comments.

It's an insult to the many women out there that made the sacrifice and risk of their bodies (in some cases to be forever changed) to carry a child.

Today, my body looks better than it did BEFORE my children. Thanks to some motivation from within myself. And if I need to find that motivation again, believe me I will not seek it from someone that has little or no understanding of what it's like to carry a child.

Did you actually read the article in Women's Health? You shouldn't bash someone until you have all your facts straight.

I've been thinking this one over for awhile, too, and I think I'm coming in on the side of JM.

While she may have put her foot in her mouth, we have no idea what the context of "wreck her body" means. Perhaps she has PCOS. Perhaps she has had ovarian cysts, surgery for endometriosis, injury from her time as a kick boxer, or even emotional scaring from abuse. A dear friend of mine had a VERY difficult time getting to the point of wanting to get pregnant for that reason alone.

Her work as a fitness trainer may be her way of attempting to heal herself in the process. Maybe she's in therapy for these issues, and has chosen to keep it private - which is her prerogative, in spite of the fact that she is a very public figure.

I still like her.

I thought of useing her plan but after that I don't want too.
Is that bad of me?
sorry but I think babys are blessing from the LOrd!!

Wow, she REALLY needs to be careful now that she's even more in then public eye with her products, books and the new show. I'm sure her publicist's eyes bugged out when she said it, picturing the storm that has indeed unfolded!

I've just given you the Sunshine Award on my blog, come by and check it out!

Great post -- I've been mulling this over a lot and I really enjoyed hearing everyone's thoughts!

The thing is, OF COURSE she shouldn't have kids if she doesn't want to, OF COURSE that's her choice. But that doesn't mean people aren't going to react to her reasons.

I mean, if she said she didn't want to quit smoking and drinking, she would get a lot of crap for that, too. Or if some celeb said they didn't like sperm so they wanted to adopt, that would get a reaction, too. I am very sensitive about allowing people to make their own choices -- but if you make a valid choice for a dopey reason, people might call you dopey!

I kind of agree with Sarah Lena, too, it does feel like she's looking down on all of us foolish enough to risk our flat bellies with those pesky babies, you know?

But Kami's comment about our inner voices and yours about wet jumping jacks totally made laugh! Thanks, ladies!!!

Hahaha, Kristy. The question is - have all those 400lb people had babies - because that makes jumping jacks a whole helluva lot more complicated.

And wet.

Dude, there must be another reason Jillian doesn't want to get pregnant because I'm tired of hearing her shout at me (on her DVD - while I try to lose my "baby" weight) - 400 POUND PEOPLE CAN DO JUMPING JACKS, YOU CAN TOO!"

JM better be careful with her words or everyone will say screw all these weight loss products, videos and pills and will just go get the Lap-Band after they have their babies, like I did.

I also agree with commenter Erin. Out of context, the rescue comment was terrible. But considering that she has adopted greyhounds (a breed that is traditionally abused and malnourished) she might have meant that totally innocently.

It's been really interesting reading this post and comments but I'm going to respectfully disagree with you.

I do think that Jillian's commment was rude and slightly hypocritical given her line of work but your comment "...those folks are completely wrapped up in all that business might have a rude awakening when they have kids, so let them enjoy the company of their teeny dogs" sounds a little derogatory to me. I know several women who do in fact have teeny dogs and no kids; they all like their lives just fine.

I understand that you're disappointed (and maybe even a little offended) by her comment, but at the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with a woman choosing not to have children. If Jillian doesn't yet feel that she's emotionally equipped to carry a child, kudos to her for making that decision.

Regardless of whether she decides to adopt - a baby, a puppy, whatever - I don't think we should look down on her for a personal choice.

Just my two cents!

AMEN, I say. **AAAAAMEN.**

This struck me badly. Like, I felt like someone I had given my personal credit card number to had gone and racked up a thousand dollars worth of debt in crack.

To each his own - baby or not, family or no, momma or two mommies or WHATEVER, more power to you. Adoption is certainly admirable. So is motherhood through birth. Parenting is just so damn hard, either way.

But to say that you'll never do THAT to your body? Dude, it means you're looking down your nose at me. And you think you're better than me, and you are disgusted by me. And my dear? I help butter your bread. I put food in your (flat) belly. I BUY YOUR PRODUCTS.

Or bought. Past tense. I'm done with her.

Incendiary! Ok, we all know context is everything. And I agree with Liz that pregnancy is a hugely personal issue and unless it's my pregnancy, it's a private matter. BUT, Kristen, as a woman who turned to Jillian for help in shedding post partum baby weight, I can easily see how you feel betrayed. Because I kinda do. Her vanity makes me think about the havoc my two pregnancies wreaked on my body. I don't want to contemplate my pregnancies in those terms. Just because it's not the right decision for her, doesn't mean it wasn't for me. And I'm going to continue shredding because I think it works. She is a very public figure and a very inspiring figure. Doesn't mean she needs to be a mom. She probably should hire that PR person though. Brash or not, does she really need to be talking about child rescuing or pregnancy in terms of fat? That's what we have inside voices for...

Liz - I don't doubt that she (and many others) have issues about getting pregnant. And I don't think that they should do it.

But she's not just some Jane Schmo on the street just spouting her mouth off to a friend. She's a hugely public figure, and a well-known fitness trainer. There are WAY better ways to say what she said. And I could come up with a few thousand of them.

I agree that the adoption comment was poorly worded at the least, inappropriate and misguided at the worst. But sometimes people use the wrong words, and sometimes people say insensitive things. In my moms of twins club, there are a lot of people who struggled with infertility, and are intensely put off by people asking if their twins are "natural." A stupid comment from someone not sensitive to the issue. But shit happens.

As for the pregnancy bit, I have to respectfully disagree. While I definitely see your point about the way she pushes people to get beyond their own issues, I think there's a big difference. What she does is force people to deal with and correct issues that are making them unhealthy and unhappy, and help them to get physically (and emotionally) strong and fit. That's not the same as having your own reasons (vain or otherwise) for not wanting to get pregnant. Sure, maybe it has to do with her physical fitness, both in the sense that she makes a living off of her body, and in the sense that she used to be heavier and that was really hard. But there are other "body issues," too. Any number of which could make something like pregnancy quite unthinkable. I've heard from people who dealt with sexual abuse who simply cannot handle attempting to breastfeed their babies. It's not up to me to decide where that person's comfort zone lies, and how much they can handle being pushed outside of it.

Basically, I think I mean to say that it's not my place to judge why anyone does or does not choose to become pregnant. I do see the apparent contradictions in her statements, but I'm willing to bet that there's a whole lot more to the story than a quote or two, and that the story is none of my beeswax.

"Aside from a few folks with extremely amazing genetics (and let's face it, personal chefs and trainers)"

Let us not forget those plastic surgeons. C-sections with a side of tummy tuck.

Uhmmm.. Sorry JJ, but your little hot body ain't gonna last forever. You will be an old lady just like the rest of us... and you may be an old lady with regrets.

I agree in that it doesn't change how I feel about Jillian, @AmeliaSprout. I just think, at least for me, it was the tying together of the body issues with the "hey, so I'll adopt" that was definitely unsettling.

It really bugs me that people critisize women for the choices you make with their bodies. I think encouraging healthy empowerment is great, which is what she does for me. I sort of suspected what Deb confirmed. I have friends who have the same issues. Did she maybe come about saying it wrong? And is she trying to not get in to details about her personal life and thus digging herself a little deeper, sure. However, we need to stop judging people for the choices they make. Especially choices like this that don't hurt anyone. If anything, they save the world from having parents who had kids just because there was a societal expectation that they would. I don't doubt she has the capability to be an excellent parent, and if she does, that is between her and whatever she answers to. It doesn't change how I feel about her and how inspiring she has been to me.

I think it's irritating b/c her personality is one of conquering your fear and pushing forward. But when you say you won't birth a child b/c you don't want to ruin your body, you've made a value judgment based on vanity and it's hard to respect that.

But that isn't to say she should get pregnant to raise a kid. She can make her own choice for her own reasons. Just that when you sell something, perhaps you should be able to stand by it.

Your last comment is the crux of it for me. If she thinks her flat belly is the ONLY thing she'll sacrifice if she has a kid ... she is so very wrong.

I read the article you linked to, and I think that taken out of context, her comment about rescuing "something" sounds awful. In context, though, I don't think it's so bad -- I think she was just trying to encompass all the living creatures that can be rescued -- babies AND pets -- in one statement, and taken out of context it sounds like she's referring to a baby as a "thing". I get what she meant.

I don't particularly care for her personality, but it's got to be hard to censor your every statement in a way that someone won't misinterpret or get upset about. Especially when you're as brash as she tends to be.

That said, I do agree with you that she kind of botched this one, and lost a chance to further inspire people. Great post!

I'm with Jodifur - she's brash. That's her entire appeal.
I don't think she should change who she is, because it's what makes her good at what she does. The problem is, brash works when you're a boot camp instructor, it doesn't work when you're talking about a sensitive issue to a sensitive audience.

Yep, parents are sensitive. Breaking news!

I haven't read the story, so I might be reading more or less into it...

But I wonder if her comments are possibly the kind of defensive, flippant comments about parenthood that someone with fertility issues has sometimes.

I'm a pretty open person, so people who asked me about kids got my long and sordid infertility story. But most people aren't really as open and out there as I tend to be.

I can see telling someone, especially someone who was basically a stranger, that I didn't want to do it for the cost, pain, damage, etc. Even though inside I died every time I saw that one lonely line on that HPT.

@DebRox - Thanks for your thoughts. I thought she identified as gay, and as you said, I'm sure there are lots of other issues behind what was said in the interview that perhaps this was the just scraping the surface.

Great post. I have incredibly conflicted feelings about her adn Biggest Loser, and this is an incredibly interesting PR gaffe so I'm captivated. I did want to add one thread of an idea that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere. Jillian is gay. I can't hear her talk about what she can envision putting her body through without filtering it through that fact. Although there is no one way to describe an incredible diversity of experiences surrounding queer women and pregnancy, it is not uncommon for women who grow up either knowing they are perceived as different culturally, or feeling a different gender/sexuality alignment than they are told they should feel, to decide early in their lives that they will never become pregnant and or mothers, or if they do that they will adopt. I have friends for whom that was a natural choice that they feel they would have made if straight, others who are conflicted, and others who wonder if they made that choice to protect themselves from the heartache of wanting something that might be hard or impossible to have, part of the boxing-in that oppressed people do to themselves to survive. Who knows what the woman was thinking or feeling--and she certainly made a mess of whatever she was trying to share--but I just wonder if part of her comment is grounded in something that would be even harder to talk to Women's Health about.

I couldn't have articulated it any better.

I also agree with Laurie; I'd be surprised if she chooses to bring a child into her life.

Ironically, having a baby could do wonders for her the career she's worked so hard to build. Since many of the shredheads I know are moms trying to get their bodies back, she could inspire others with her example and gain some empathy for how hard it is for some to get back to their fighting weight.

But that's no reason to have a baby. I hope she gets a dog instead.

I love this, Kristen. Really great post.

I will still continue to do her workouts, regardless of her personal issues she's a kick ass trainer. No one is perfect, Jillian included.

I've been thinking about this for a few days now, since I saw a couple of mothers I respect who became parents through adoption react really negatively to this comment. I don't view it through that lens and I'm inclined to defer to them in this case but I can't help my opposing view. I'm no Jillian apologist. She gets on my nerves. But I read the article (at the gym, no less) and eh...a little concerned at the backlash in general.

Her whole schtick and professional (and seemingly now persoal) aim is rescue. Nobody ever saved her, sounds like, except this trainer who still makes her run through the LA subway system. Does that make it okay to use that word? Should she be in line to adopt with that attitude? Does she need more intensive therapy? Who knows. Is she better or worse than a parent who has a child biologically or through adoption who abandons or neglects or has an apathetic attitude in the first place? Depends.

People parent or give care for all kinds of self-serving reasons all the time. They just don't say it. She kind of accidentally did. Oop. And I have to admit that I'll be surprised if she does choose to bring a child into her life. I don't know why, just a feeling I have.

I'm kind of surprised but yet not at all by the backlash and it has done what was pretty difficult to do: make me feel compassion for this person who really, really bothers me.

The not wanting to get pregnant bit doesn't surprise me at all and I don't think she should even have to justify that choice (I am so sick of women having to justify their choices in either direction here.) Her whole world is built upon her physical condition and who knows what that means for her personally. Vanity is closely tied to shame and insecurity and those of us who were obese as children tend to get an extra dose of the latter two. I'd imagine it requires insane emotional, mental and physical control to keep yourself from losing it relative to your body when you've walked this path and chosen to make that the center of your life. I need to exert that kind of control and I'm a teacher who still has a lot of weight to lose.

Ugh, complicated. And now I will go back to rolling my eyes at her crazy emotional takedowns of crying people on The Biggest Loser. It's just what I do.

to each his own. those are her feelings and her opinion and she's entitled to it. Just like you're entitled to think she was wrong. With all the harsh judgment she's getting I'm sure she regrets saying it.

I actually don't think this is the first time Jillian M. has put her foot in her mouth publicly. She needs a good publicist. She comes off pretty brash, and that is probably who she really is, and that doesn't work well when you are in the public eye.

When you read the whole article, I think some of the comments have been taking out of context, but it clearly was not the smartest thing to say, especially when you are marketing yourself to women.

Agreed, K. Was very disappointed to see these comments from JM. Though I haven't been doing the shred these days since I've been doing running and yoga now that the weather is nice, it made me not want to do her workouts in the future, if that makes sense. Sad.

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