New Mom's Viral Post Nails The Problem With Postpartum Body Shaming
“My body doesn’t need to be wrapped or squeezed or changed.”
New moms have more than enough to worry about — adjusting to, you know, raising a brand-new human is no walk in the park. So can we just cool it on the insane pressure put on women to get their bodies to “bounce back” after giving birth?
Kelly Diane Howland captured the struggle perfectly in a Facebook post that’s going viral. She writes about being approached with her brand-new baby by a woman who turned the conversation from small talk to trying to sell her weight loss products. Considering how totally uncalled for that is, she handled the whole situation with a mind-blowing amount of grace.
“I am shopping in Target with my obviously fresh baby,” Howland writes.” I’m a brand new postpartum mom. A woman approaches me and chats me up the usual small talk about ‘how old is she?’ and ‘how much does she weigh?’ And then she asks The Question. ‘Have you heard of It Works before?’ I tell her that I know what it is but I’ve never utilized it. She proceeds with artificial shock and surprise and gives me her card and her spiel.”
Can we take a moment to appreciate the absolute nerve it takes to approach a newly postpartum woman to tell her you can help her lose weight? Because, wow.
Howland continues, “Listen. I’m not upset this company exists. And I’m not even upset at this woman because she could be absolutely charming and just trying to hustle her own living and I have respect for a woman with guts to do that. But let’s not pretend that approaching me specifically was a coincidence.”
Yup. There it is.
“Because it’s not like she ran up to every female at Target to hand out her card. But she did come to me – with my baby billboard of being brand new postpartum. We all know that this culture hammers into postpartum women a lot of physical insecurity about their bodies after delivering their miracles from their wombs. I don’t think I have to spell out for a single woman the cultural pressure that postpartum mothers face regarding their physical appearance. We know. We all know. She knew. And that’s why she approached me.”
Howland is absolutely right. She was targeted because of the pressure that’s put on women to live up to ridiculous body standards all the time, but especially after giving birth. Famous women who have kids show up in the headlines for how long it takes them to “bounce back” from pregnancy, their tips for regaining a pre-baby bod. But why? Why do we put that kind of pressure on the women who have used their bodies for such an amazing purpose as creating a new life?
Or, as Howland puts it, “Can we PLEASE not perpetuate the pressure, the impossible expectations, and therefore keep alive the insecurities that we newly postpartum women face regarding our new and changing bodies as we enter motherhood? Instead of leaning into superficial ideals imposed upon us, can we PLEASE start bucking the system and instead start praising each other for being the amazing, life giving, creation birthing vessels that we are?”
Yes please. We are so on board with all of this.
She ends her post with an epic mic drop and a little affirmation for all women. “My body doesn’t need to be wrapped or squeezed or changed. It needs to be valued and revered for the incredible life it just brought into this world. THAT is beauty and THAT is all it needs.”
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