She is embracing her postpartum body and sharing it with the world
Tiffany Burke of Tacoma, Washington, is a photographer and a mother who recently turned the camera on herself to highlight a very important topic: embracing our postpartum bodies in whatever form they take.
The mom of three started her powerful Instagram post with, “Not an easy share: This is what 70 lbs overweight looks like.”
Not an easy share: This is what 70 lbs overweight looks like. This is what exclusively breastfeeding yet gaining weight looks like. This is what a working mom, with no make-up and no time for self-care looks like. This is also what my happiness looks like. What my body looks like does not determine my happiness or my success. My body is my temporary shell. My life is truly beautiful. I have given birth to 5 babies (3 of my own and 2 surrogate babies). But my body was at a "healthy" weight before getting pregnant with baby #5. My body does not look like this "because I've had 5 babies." Currently, I can't workout hardcore like I have in the past or I will lose my milk supply. I am also eating all the food because I'm just starving. Some weeks I eat so healthily, other weeks I'm downing a sleeve of Oreos and feeling giddy. I work a lot and choose my free time to be with my kids. My body can wait a bit and I'm proud to make that choice. It's mine to make. They won't be little much longer and I will have missed it all. My body is the home I keep. And like my home, it ebbs and it flows as the seasons of my life do. My home is sometimes messy, sometimes clean, sometimes both. Our bodies ebb and flow in the seasons of our lives. From the season of when junior high starts and we are questioning everything about our bodies, to the season of no time for self-care, or the season of IVF injections for so many years. Or weight gain from pregnancies of angel babies lost and our bodies not willing to let go just yet. The season of a divorce, or depression, eating disorders, a death, addiction or toxic relationships. So much affects our wonderful shells. We must give grace, find ways to self-love as often as we can. We must be the inner voice that we should have had growing up. Our thoughts have great power over our daily lives. Our bodies are important to love, but not so important to invest so much hate into. SO MUCH MORE MATTERS. Be healthy, be strong, make a change when you can, be you, be unafraid. Ignore the rest. It’s okay if someone thinks I'm not pretty. I'm not here on this planet to please their eyeballs. I am worth so much more and so are you. Baby Quinn agrees❤
She adds, “This is what exclusively breastfeeding yet gaining weight looks like.” Seriously, can the myth that you automatically lose weight while breastfeeding just die forever pretty please?!
Her baby is just six-months-old and caring for her takes up a lot of time and energy – as it does with babies. “This is what a working mom, with no make-up and no time for self-care looks like. This is also what my happiness looks like.”
Not only is her vulnerability so refreshing for moms everywhere, so is the point she’s making. You can be a mom, especially a new mom, with no time for yourself to even apply chap stick and still be happy. You can have extra pounds on you and still be happy.
“What my body looks like does not determine my happiness or my success. My body is my temporary shell. My life is truly beautiful,” she writes.
Our bodies and our appearances don’t always reflect what’s going on inside of us and in our lives. Having a postpartum body, being ravenous from breastfeeding, and not having time to do CrossFit five times a week isn’t sad or bad – it’s OK. It’s totally fine. It’s beautiful really.
“Sharing such a vulnerable photo was not easy,” Burke tells Scary Mommy, “In our society, if you gain weight you are seen as a failure; you’ve mistreated your body and that is a shameful thing and you have to wear that shame publicly because there is no hiding that weight gain.”
Burke explains that she has given birth to five babies total (two were surrogacy pregnancies) and that she was a “healthy” weight before this last pregnancy. “Some weeks I eat so healthily, other weeks I’m downing a sleeve of Oreos and feeling giddy,” she writes.
Burke goes on to explain that she works a lot and any free time she does have, she wants to spend it with her kids (presumably not on a time-sucking work-out routine).
“My body is the home I keep. And like my home, it ebbs and it flows as the seasons of my life do. My home is sometimes messy, sometimes clean, sometimes both. Our bodies ebb and flow in the seasons of our lives,” she writes.
Our lives indeed go through seasons, most notably, girlhood to adolescense. Burke points out that for some of us the seasons of our bodies include depression, addiction, eating disorders, toxic relationships, divorce, death, IVF, miscarriage, all of it.
“So much affects our wonderful shells. We must give grace, find ways to self-love as often as we can. We must be the inner voice that we should have had growing up. Our thoughts have great power over our daily lives,” Burke writes.
She’s right, the way we talk to ourselves and our bodies can be incredibly healing, if you’re saying kind things.
“Our bodies have done some amazing things, we know this. Accepting that our bodies are not perfect, nor should they ever be, is a huge step to healing the pain we have carried for years of body hate,” she says. Burke tells us that she has yet to meet a woman, no matter the size – thin, “out of shape,” or fat who hasn’t had body issues and self-hatred at some point. But she believes through speaking out and sharing all of our experiences, not just the photoshopped, air-brushed, “perfect” ones, we’ll be more gentle with ourselves.
“We are in this together, we are not alone and together we can encourage each other to heal ourselves and in time, love ourselves fully,” she says.
Burke’s whole post is spot on and so inspiring, but her last few lines will give you life.
“It’s okay if someone thinks I’m not pretty. I’m not here on this planet to please their eyeballs. I am worth so much more and so are you.”