It’s Not Just You: Most Moms Hear Negative Comments About Their Post-Baby Bodies
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to ensure that all moms feel like the beautiful queens that they are, one poll has revealed that the majority of mothers report having heard negative comments about their post-baby bodies.
The poll, done by Channel Mum, asked 2,000 women if they had ever received negative comments about their post-baby bodies and unfortunately, the majority of mothers revealed that they had, indeed, been criticized about how they looked after having a baby. Even worse, the majority of comments came from people they thought loved them, from family and friends, instead of total strangers.
The moms surveyed revealed that the most common comments they heard were (in order):
“You still look pregnant.”
“Your body shape has changed a lot.” (Um, ya think?)
“You need to exercise.”
And “You need to stop eating for two.”
The women were also shamed for how they looked in relation to their partner, as helpful friends and family tried to warn them that their partners would leave them if they didn't look more desirable. So sweet! (Not!)
A shocking 13% of the mothers even reported being shamed by their doctor or other pregnancy care provider for what they looked like or how much they weighed. This is devastating, especially when you consider how many other factors play into a woman's body type with pregnancy. I mean, there are so many things that affect how you “look.” Not to mention true health has nothing to do with how you look. You could be the thinnest you've ever been after kids, but be dealing with postpartum depression or other hidden mental health disorders. And that can be passed right over just because you “look fine.”
So much of how a woman looks is dependent on other factors. It makes me furious that we want to judge women for how they look, but look the other way when she's literally left alone, dripping and bleeding, to deal with a baby who won't latch or sleep, immediately after birth. I mean, seriously. How about a little support for her as a person first, then we'll deal with how she looks?
Sometimes, the criticism is concealed, in forms like, “You're not taking care of yourself.” Or comments about how they still look pregnant (which, side note, can actually be a real medical condition called diastis recti caused by the abdominal muscles separating). Or how about the classic: “Wow, you look good for having a baby!” Like the gold standard for moms is to look like crap.
The point is it's not about how thin you are or how much you weigh. But for some reason, people think that having a baby is an excuse to judge another woman's body. Why the heck is that? At what other time in a woman's life do we think it's OK to publicly comment on someone's body? Is it that we see pregnancy as a time when a woman's body isn't really “hers,” so she's fair game? I don't get it. Let's stop the body shaming for moms once and for all — especially to ourselves and among each other.
Have you ever been body shamed after having a baby?