CBS3 meteorologist speaks out against haters who body shame her for pregnancy

TV meteorologist Katie Fehlinger. (Source: CBS3)

CAN'T A PREGNANT woman catch a break?

Apparently not as CBS3/CW Philly meteorologist Katie Fehlinger has discovered since becoming pregnant with twin girls. Some morons don't like seeing her baby bump and have been body shaming her.

They need to get over it.

You'd think certain people had never seen a pregnant woman before. Ever since getting around the two-month mark, certain viewers have been sending insulting comments and emails to Fehlinger, including calling her a "sausage in casing."

On Monday, a viewer emailed her on Facebook to let her know that "sticking your pregnant abdomen out like that is disgusting." It was one nasty comment too many for Fehlinger, who's about 35 weeks along.

Reading it, "all of a sudden, it was a like a flip switched for me," she told me yesterday afternoon. "I just felt the need to get it off my chest.

"I just had to say something."

So, on Wednesday, she fired off a lengthy Facebook post aimed at her haters: "Frankly, I don't care how 'terrible' or 'inappropriate' anyone thinks I look," Fehlinger wrote. "I will gladly gain 50 pounds & suffer sleepless, uncomfortable nights if it means upping my chances to deliver 2 healthy baby girls.

"Now it's about more than aesthetics. I want these babies to have the best start possible. And that hopefully means my belly that 'looks like it's about to explode!' will continue to grow the next few weeks," she added.

Since putting the post on Facebook, it has gone viral. As of yesterday afternoon, more than 33,000 people had liked it and nearly 3,000 had shared it on the popular social media website.

Fehlinger's story also appeared on People.com and the Huffington Post. The CBS station in New York City interviewed her for a segment and CBS3 aired a piece on her pregnancy shaming last night. When she and I chatted yesterday, Fehlinger sounded upbeat and also amazed at how much attention her baby bump had attracted.

"My mantra for the most part is just ignore this kind of stuff," she explained. "[But] I just felt as though these comments were being directed toward every person who has gone through this.

"I went into this with a sense of, 'I'm not trying to attack anybody,' " she continued. "But I also sort of wanted to make a statement more than anything."

She sure did all right.

I don't blame her one bit. People can be such jerks. And get this: It's not just wise-guy men who've been giving Fehlinger a hard time. She also has heard from certain women who find her protruding belly off-putting.

"It was really interesting to see and hurtful to see where these comments were coming from," she told me. "It was from all angles."

But not all of the comments about her pregnancy have been straight-up hateration. The ones I saw yesterday on her Facebook page were all giving her a thumbs up. One Facebook commenter wrote, "You're beautiful and adorable and I hope you breast feed in public . . . "

On Twitter, fans posted photos of their pregnant bellies in support. Co-worker Nicole Brewer, who gave birth to her first child a year ago, included hers and wrote, "Sending out my #BabyBump in support of @katiefehlinger & moms everywhere! @CBSPhilly #CBS3."

Some of the tongue clucking is aimed at some of Fehlinger's fashion choices. "Why are her dresses so tight?" one guy asked me.

I replied, "That's the style now. Pregnant women don't wear maternity smocks to hide their bodies anymore."

When you're pregnant, everybody has an opinion as NBC's "The Today Show" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie found out before giving birth last year.

"Of course, pregnant or not, when your job means that you are on television every day, folks definitely feel free to comment on what you're wearing," Guthrie wrote on Today.com in 2014. "I may not always love that, but I get it. It comes with the territory and I am used to it. But I guess everything is bigger during pregnancy, including the commentary on your looks."

Fehlinger is due Sept. 27, but because she's carrying twins, she thinks she won't be able to continue working that long. She expects to continue showing up at the station until about Sept. 13, depending on how things go. Fehlinger, who'll be a first-time mom, plans to take 12 weeks of maternity leave and then return to the newsroom.

It won't be easy, juggling newborns with a demanding on-air job. There's an unrealistic expectation these days that mothers are supposed to snap back to their pre-baby bodies like Hollywood A-listers such as Heidi Klum, who in 2009 walked in a Victoria's Secret fashion show just five weeks after giving birth.

Fehlinger appears to be in good humor about it all, though. As she wrote on Facebook, "I say let's raise a Shirley Temple to swollen feet, stretch marks, nausea, all the extra pounds and the dark circles! They're badges of motherhood. And for those of you who think that's 'disgusting,' remember a woman went through the very same thing to bring YOU into the world."

Can I get an amen for Katie?


On Twitter: @JeniceArmstrong

Blog: ph.ly/HeyJen

Email: armstrj@phillynews.com