'This Body Isn't Shameful': Mom's Post Inspires Us All Toward Acceptance

by Valerie Williams
Images via Facebook

A mom explains why she isn’t ashamed that a stranger mistook her post-baby body for a pregnant one

If a stranger suggests you’re pregnant when you’re not, it can feel pretty awful — for both parties. It happened to one mom and instead of being upset, she took it as an chance to share a beautiful message about post-baby body image and why no mother should be ashamed of how she looks after having a child.

Ohio mom Lindsey Kay Self posted to her Facebook page a few days ago to describe an exchange between herself and a fellow Target shopper. The man made a comment suggesting the new mother was still pregnant.

“This week a gentleman at Target asked me when I was expecting. I laughed and told him ‘if you’re asking when I’m expecting my 9 week old to sleep for longer than 45 minutes, I’m hoping soon.'”

Image via Facebook

Yikes, right? So many moms have been there and of course, it’s not exactly fun to hear that someone thinks we’re pregnant despite having already given birth. Rationally, we know that it’s completely normal to still have a “baby bump” for months (or even years) after having children, but nevertheless, it can sting pretty badly when we hear that fact confirmed by a total stranger.

Instead of getting upset about it and noting that the man looked embarrassed and ashamed for what he’d said, Self explained why he shouldn’t feel that way at all. Because she certainly isn’t.

I wish I would have said more. I wish I would have told him that there is nothing to be ashamed of – not for him or for me. This body grew a freaking human (two of them, for that matter) and has continued to nourish said human for 9 weeks. This bump was my child’s home for 9+ months. This bump is his favorite place to nap. These arms, that could use some toning, lifted my son out of the water and held him as he took his first breath. They will hold him tonight as he fights sleep. They will pick him up when he scraps a knee and hug him when he experiences his first heartbreak.

Image via Facebook

While her response is beyond admirable, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that no one should suggest a woman is expecting unless they see a baby falling out from between her legs or she brings up the topic herself. The fact is, you never know; and it’s not a fun mistake to make in most cases.

That said, it sounds like this man meant no harm and simply had an awkward social stumble, despite good intentions. Self handled it with grace and a very healthy attitude. She went on to explain why she’s so accepting of the changes in her body after giving birth.

This body isn’t shameful, this body is amazing. It barely resembles the body is once was – it has grown and stretched and has a few scars to prove it. Just like my heart that loves more than I could have ever imagined. Just like my mind that often races with thoughts of child rearing and art projects and milk supply and the number of wet diapers my son had and “did I turn off the oven” and the theme song to Daniel Tiger.

Amen. Although there are the lucky ones who have a baby and quickly look as though nothing ever happened, most of us experience changes that never fully reverse. And as frustrating as that can be, it’s something we should do our best to accept. What happens to a woman during pregnancy is a literal miracle and in more reflective moments, we can acknowledge that the result of all those changes is very much worth the scars and damage left afterward. The stretching and growing Self refers to is all to accommodate a growing infant, and that’s an incredible thing. While it’s totally understandable to bemoan our pre-baby figures, we should never feel embarrassed for how we look after having a child.

Self closes by expressing her gratitude. “Parenting is not for the faint of heart, and we are never the same for it. If you have a bump because you were given the gift to carry a child be proud, not ashamed, for it’s a gift denied to many.”

Truer words were never spoken. While it’s OK to sometimes wish to have a flat stomach again, we should never lose sight of what that “bump” means — that a baby once lived inside of it. And it’s nothing to ever be ashamed of.