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Sydney Leroux stood up for herself after being harshly judged on Instagram. (Photo: Getty)
It should be a time of celebration for 26-year-old Sydney Leroux, but instead, the soccer pro is fending off verbal attacks on social media about her choice while pregnant. After the U.S. Women’s National Team forward posted a photo of herself on Instagram happily tubing on a lake with her husband, English soccer player Dom Dwyer, users questioned her decision — and some even blasted her for putting her unborn baby in danger.
“She’s still pregnant though. Is that really the safest thing to do?” wondered @el_jefedos. Other commenters were much more direct. “Ur gonna kill ur baby,” wrote @alex_raimi. “If the boat is making a wake … um that’s going fast. It’s advised to not even go on boats while pregnant, and if you do … for it to be calm waters. smh. why risk it. hope this is an old picture.”
But there were fans who came to the athlete’s defense too, with @jordannmilamm saying “…the human body is capable of INSANE things. If you’re not a doctor, get outta here with your negativity,” and @samanthatavarez adding, “she can do what she wants it’s her baby and her life.”
Leroux — who, in January, announced that she is pregnant and would be skipping the Olympics in Rio — felt bothered enough by the public takedown to respond in an “open” post.
In the post, Leroux includes a bikini shot standing and staring out at the horizon along with a statement on empowerment and her right to do what she wants with her own body. “It’s unfortunate that I have to say something, but after a number of comments like: ‘you’re going to give birth to a dead fetus’ or ‘you just killed your baby’ I have to remind you that this is MY body. MY body is the body that is creating life. MY body is the one that has stretch marks and cellulite and varicose veins and sore hips and back pain that runs down my legs. MY body is the body that is tired and sore and emotional and the happiest it’s ever been.”
Leroux, who’s been playing soccer professionally since she was 15, defends her right to stay active and adventurous while pregnant. “So if I want to jump in a pool, go on a tube and slowly ride around with my husband, dance like an idiot or work out I am absolutely going to,” she writes. “Leave your awful comments to yourself and let me enjoy MYSELF and MY body the way I want to.”
In the original image, Leroux and Dwyer are pictured lounging in a big tube that’s being dragged by a rope that appears to be attached to a boat. Leroux looks secure in the tube, laying on her back, though it’s not possible to know how fast or slow they’re going. On its website, the American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding “water sports,” but does not specifically address tubing.
Celebrities are often the target of criticism while pregnant — whether they’re being body-shamed like Blac Chyna and Kim Kardashian, chastised for their choice of diet like Chrissy Teigen, or scrutinized for their age at conception like Janet Jackson. But the decisions a pregnant woman makes under the guidance of her doctor can vary, and there often is no clear “right” or “wrong” way to be a responsible mom-to-be.
Leroux’s decision to stand up for herself — literally — after being harshly judged by strangers is a testament to the star’s tenacity.