First of all, I find it sad I even have to write a post on this topic. You think that it would go without saying that fat-shaming a woman who just gave birth to a baby is unacceptable, rude, and a disgusting thing to do, but unfortunately I’ve been on the receiving end of that at as early 3 weeks postpartum with Mckenna.
And the worst part? I took it completely serious each time I received that criticism over my body, over what I was eating and over how much I was eating. The first time I heard it, I thought maybe it was a joke, but as the punches and negativity kept coming, the “joke” became less and less “funny.”
And the saddest thing? No one there stuck up for me.
It left me feeling sad, worthless, ashamed of my body, and like the giant “elephant in the room.”
When you have a baby, your hormones go haywire. You’re emotional, you’re oversensitive and you can cry at the drop of the hat. At least that’s how I felt. I was already upset that I had one pair of jeans that I could maybe button 80% of the time and that leggings, yoga pants, and maternity jeans were still a mainstay in my wardrobe. Sure, we were in the heart of the holidays with pies, cookies, and an abundance of food all around. I certainly wasn’t counting calories and I was eating quite a bit more than I usually would, but if you’re a nursing mama or breastfed in the past, you know that breastfeeding makes you absolutely ravenous! I knew I was burning an extra 500 calories each day and also knew that I needed to consume those extra calories in order to maintain my milk supply and provide adequate nutrients for my baby girl.
Even still, those raised-eyebrow stares when I dished up my plate or had a late-night snack felt like they were searing through me to my core. And the “didn’t you just eat” comments made me wonder if I should be doing more to lose the baby weight or if I should be eating less.
Isn’t that horrible? What I really wanted to say was “Screw you. I’m eating to feed my baby that I just gave birth to weeks ago. My stomach was stretched to hold a 7lb bowling ball and isn’t going to magically sport a 6-pack now.”
But that’s not what I said. I didn’t stick up for myself once. I just bit my tongue. Rolled my eyes. Angry-texted my closest friends, and tried to move on.
What else are you supposed to do when you’re in the midst of the holidays and don’t want to cause any family drama or tension. (There’s enough of that as is sometimes!)
I guess being I gave birth to Alea 6 years ago made me forget that my body wouldn’t just bounce back immediately after birth. Heck, it took me at least a year to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight with Alea and even then I still haven’t been 100% confident in my body since having her.
As a woman, we’re faced with so much pressure in magazines, on TV, and in the media in general to have this “picture perfect body.” As a woman who just had a baby, we’re faced with even more criticism thanks to the celebrities that give birth and then sport a stretch-mark-free, love-handle-free, bikini bodies 3 weeks later. The odds are stacked against us to begin with and having a baby just makes those odds even worse.
Am I completely happy with my body since having Mckenna? Absolutely not.
But am I proud of my body and it’s ability to give birth to our little miracle baby? You bet I am.
Those stretch marks won’t be going away probably ever, but the weight will come off gradually and until then, if yoga pants and leggings are my wardrobe staples, then SO BE IT.
I wish I had some “I overcame this postpartum fat-shaming criticism” epiphany to share with you, but honestly? I just wanted to let other mom’s who have faced the same criticism know that I’m there for you. I know it’s hard and I know it completely sucks. But we got to stick together and we need to be open about this not-so-fun topic.
Maybe speaking out on this topic more will make these over-critical jerks criticize a little less?