As a new mom, your body goes through countless physical changes. Of course it has to in order to pull off the ultimate magic trick of birth; the equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a thimble. But somehow watching our bodies change so drastically is a cause of self-consciousness, negative self-body image, and even low self-esteem. And what is worse is that other people feel it is appropriate to comment on our appearances, as though they have the audacity to wonder why our bodies are not the same as they were pre-baby!
Instead of reveling in the miracle of what our bodies did, and viewing those physical changes as proof of what it accomplished, it is viewed as being flawed (by ourselves and others).
What inspired this post was a comment from a fellow new mom. She had shared her experience shopping at a department store (that shall remain nameless):
“The lady who helped me yesterday at [the store] was terrible. She was rude and told me that I should find ways to work on my saggy stomach…”
It should be noted that the associate knew she was a new mom as well, which makes this comment even more offensive.
We have to stop body shaming! As new moms, we are harsh enough on ourselves that we definitely do not need anyone else to comment on our physical appearance (other than to say we are ravishing). It is no one’s business what our bodies look like post baby. So on behalf of all new moms, no we do not want to hear what you have to say! Like my mama always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.
To all mamas- I challenge you to find something positive to tell yourself about your body, and embrace the changes it went through. And for the next time someone dares to comment on your physical appearance may I offer these comebacks (because you always think of them too late):
To the woman who says your stomach is large: “Yes, of all people I know that it did just accommodate a watermelon, but what’s more exciting is your great news, when are you due?!”
To the person who asks what how much you gained: “Oh, I gained a beautiful baby and his/her unconditional love! I would say I gained quite a bit, wouldn’t you?”
To the person who asks what you are doing to lose weight: “Oh, I am so glad you noticed, I gave birth and immediately lost 10-15 pounds! It’s the best weight loss program I have done yet!”
And remember, your body is YOURS, so don’t let anyone (including you) try to let you feel bad about yourself. As long as you are happy and healthy, it does not matter what you see in the mirror, and the weight on the scale is just a number… We should all be supportive of each other and work to lift each other up, not tear each other down. Was there a time when someone said something inappropriate to you? What did you do?