Ask Scary Mommy: People Won't Stop Commenting On My Postpartum Body

by Cassandra Stone
Originally Published: 
People Won't Stop Commenting On My Post-Partum Body
Scary Mommy and ronstik/Getty

Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s new advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.

This week… What do you do when you’ve just had a baby, and everyone can’t wait to tell you how “great” you look, but you only lost weight because of mental health struggles? Email

Dear Scary Mommy,

I had my first baby about six months ago, and I lost all of the “baby weight” (sorry, I hate that term) within a month. People won’t stop littering my social media posts with comments about my body and how “great” I look. Even after losing the weight, I’m regularly a size 14-16, so it’s not like I’m conventionally thin. But it still bothers me when people say anything at all, even in a complimentary way. I had MAJOR postpartum depression and anxiety and just now feel like I’m turning a corner on it. That (and breastfeeding my little milk monster) is why I lost the weight. I was too distracted, anxious, or depressed to take good care of myself. How do I respond?

First, I’m sending you a giant virtual hug because no one needs a hug more than a postpartum mama does. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the fact that you should pretty much never, ever comment on anyone’s body at any time and that keeping those thoughts to yourself is absolutely free.

Additionally, if people are dishing out the commentary in a complimentary way, they likely don’t see the harm in it. But you know that their good intentions don’t cushion the impact. Especially when you know exactly what frame of mind you were in as the weight came off.

As someone who went through a similar struggle, I can relate. Big time. Those comments can immediately take you back to the mindset you were in during those first few weeks, which is like re-traumatizing yourself all over again. It can also make you wonder why your postpartum body is somehow more worthy of celebration than your pregnant body, which is just ass-backward.

When you get these comments — either in person or online — I think it’s perfectly okay to respond as honestly as you want to. I do want you to keep in mind that you don’t owe anyone your story or your struggles, but if you feel like educating Aunt Miriam about why it’s tacky to talk about a woman’s appearance — go for it. One option is to say something like “Thanks, but a mother’s body before, during, or after pregnancy has nothing to do with how well they’re doing mentally, emotionally, or physically.”

Or you could say, “I don’t strive to be my pre-baby self and I don’t think any person who’s given birth should. Fuck the patriarchy and your diet culture brainwashing. See you at Thanksgiving.”

It’s totally up to you! I hope you’ve got the support you need, and are taking time to heal yourself in every way you deserve it.

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