I’ve been wanting to touch on this subject for a while, and now I’m a little disappointed because I know by this point I’m just so fed up and the words are moving way too quickly from my head to the keyboard that I’m worried I won’t do it justice.
But here we go…
There is no need to comment on a women’s post-baby body.
Did we all get that? Do I need to repeat it again? There is absolutely NO need to comment on a women’s post-baby body. And here’s the thing, I’m not only talking about those who struggle to lose their baby weight (because I can’t speak on behalf of those women). I’m also talking about women like me, who are perceived to “bounce back”. Those who lose the extra weight they put on, and those who didn’t really put on any extra weight in the first place. Those who have worked their ass off to get where they are, and those like me who watched the weight fall off without any effort.
“You don’t even look like you’ve had a baby” is one of the most stupid, backhanded ‘compliments’ I’ve heard – and trust me, I’ve heard a fair fucking few of them. How are you meant to look after you’ve had a baby? Am I supposed to be a few kilos heavier? Should I have stretch marks over my thighs and my stomach? Do I have too much of a thigh gap? Should my boobs sag lower? And lets not get started on how my vagina is supposed to look!
I’ve spent 18 months pregnant. I had morning sickness, migraines, an iron level of 4, stretched ligaments, itchy skin, pregnancy related anxiety, panic attacks, I’ve thrown up in a bin in the middle of the shopping centre, been rushed to hospital in the middle of the night because I was bleeding, been totally and utterly exhausted beyond what I ever imagined possible, and then been kept up all night with pregnancy insomnia. I well and truly carried both of my babies and experienced all the ups and downs of pregnancy. And then do you know what I did? I HAD A BABY! I had two of them! A total of 21 hours in labour, HAVING A BABY. My stomach went from looking like I had a watermelon shoved up my shirt, back to basically “normal” for me within a couple of days. If that isn’t what having a baby looks like, then I have no fucking idea. If I “don’t even look like I had a baby” I would have a baby the size of an 8 month old inside of me at the moment, which would look pretty ridiculous.
Skinny shaming is just as detrimental as fat shaming!
Yet for some reason everyone thinks it’s a-okay to skinny shame you to your face? Would you walk up to someone in the street and say “Hey, I noticed you were looking a little fat. Are you okay? Do you think you should be eating less? I mean, you look great! But I’m just worried about you.”
So why is it okay to do the exact same thing to someone who is skinny?
I once read a quote that said “You shouldn’t point out things about people appearances if they can’t fix it in ten seconds”. And that really rang true for me. Unless someone is a very close friend or family member, and you’re coming from a constructive place and actually have advice and help to offer – there is no need for you to comment on their body shape.
A lot of the time, people think they’re handing out compliments, and I can tell that they’re coming from a genuinely good place. But there’s only so many times that a joking “Do you eat?” can be laughed off.
Being skinny does not make me any less of a mother. Just the same as being skinny does not make me any better than a mother who is bigger than me. My children do not love me any more or any less because of a number on the scales or the size clothes that I wear. My body shape does not validate me and it does not define me.
So please, stop with the skinny shaming. Stop with the backhanded compliments. And STOP commenting on women’s post-baby bodies! If you want something nice to say, try “Your children look really happy, you’re doing a great job!” instead. We’re all on the same team mamas x