Should I Stay Small to Make People Comfortable? Episode 34 with Alissa Alter

Alissa Alter and I get into body image, gaining weight during pregnancy and what society has to say about it.  As a Motherhood Advocate and Women's Health Expert she is committed to cracking open the taboo topics of pregnancy and postpartum. She joins us in today’s episode to talk about some of these issues. 

We kick off the show by learning about her and her experience of being  a blond-haired, blue-eyed Jewish woman as Alissa acknowledges that she does not meet most people’s expectations of what a Jewish person "should" look like. We talk about the challenges she has had having her identity constantly called into question. We then discuss pregnancy, hearing about Alissa’s journey, and what she learned during this time. Having been a performer for most of her life, she was used to her body being in the public domain, but what she experienced while she was pregnant surprised her more than she expected. After this, Alissa opens up about outgrowing her first marriage, ending her people-pleasing habit, and how she has learned to set boundaries. 

Our email this week (59:49) is about how to keep your mascara from smudging under your eye. This is a common issue, and there are some simple solutions. 

Call Outs from the Episode: 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Alissa’s experience of growing up Jewish but ‘not looking typically Jewish.’
  • How Alissa’s background in dance and musical theatre helped her cope with people commenting on her body.
  • The importance of being open with our struggles; we are never alone.
  • There is pressure not to gain weight even when you are pregnant!
  • The sadness Alissa feels when women call themselves fat when they are pregnant.
  • When you are pregnant, you are not in control of your body and this is overwhelming.
  • How Alissa dealt with the changes happening to her body during pregnancy.
  • Alissa’s experience of setting boundaries, having not grown up with clear ones.
  • Why, according to Alissa, women wait till they have children to stand up for themselves.
  • The story of Alissa’s first marriage and the people-pleasing role she fell into.
  • Hear about what a dance captain does and why Alissa was not satisfied when she was one.
  • Overcoming the idea that the partner who makes more financially has more power.
  • People’s reactions when Alissa told them she had filed for a divorce.
  • Why leaving her career as a performer was so liberating for Alissa.
  • The insight that being pregnant gave Alissa into how people with bodies other than hers navigate the world.
  • Alissa’s postpartum experience and how she felt receiving comments on her body at this time.
  • What Alissa wishes people would have said to her after she gave birth.
  • The difference between the way we comment on women’s and men’s body changes.
  • Why Alissa is grateful for her first marriage and the lessons it helped her learn.


 “When we don’t talk about things, we are all left suffering in silence. But when we talk about it and give a voice to these experiences, we realize that we’re not alone and we can support each other.” — Alissa Alter [0:12:12]

“There are people in your life who really benefit from you not having boundaries. So, when you set them, and what you’re really saying is, ‘I have to take care of myself right now,’ for them, it’s a slap in the face and you don’t care about them. ” — Alissa Alter [0:22:12]

“If you are happily married, don’t get divorced. But if you are miserable, get out of there.” — Alissa Alter [0:37:34]

“I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself not a performer. But the problem for me was that I could no longer tolerate handing over my power.” — Alissa Alter [0:40:50]

Come have fun with us!
Our private Facebook Group: Erin’s Faces Green Beauty Gathering
Instagram: @erinsfaces

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