Society Needs To Stop Judging Postpartum Bodies So Harshly

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“I saw this photo in my husband’s phone, and said, ‘Why the hell would you take a photo of me at that angle?’

I became so self-conscious. But why?

wife stands at deck with back to camera wearing a red and white stripped one piece bathingsuit
Courtesy of Laura Mazza

It reminded me of when I took a photo of me and my newborn son and someone asked me if I wanted to try a scrub that got rid of acne scars and a cream that freed me of dark lines under the eyes – I had been in labor for 14 hours. But it made me feel bad about myself, even though I was feeling euphoric.

I also once had a girl tell me quietly that my dress would look better if I had some Spanx on – I had a cesarean three months prior to that. I loved the way I looked in that dress.

I asked a Facebook group about the best physio for muscle separation and was bombarded with sales for stomach wraps.

I asked a friend to help me find a swimsuit and she said, ‘Right, straight to the plus-size section, they have the best tummy control.’

All of these were women. I don’t blame them. I’m not angry.

This is what society has taught them, this is what cultural pressures have led them to believe, and so much so, that they feel it’s okay to say it to their fellow sisters as if it’s helping them.

It’s hammered into us – you give birth. You bounce back.

You don’t? And you’re lazy. You’re not trying hard enough.

You have to justify to everyone of why your body has changed so much… but the reality is, it’s because you had a freaking baby. Why is that so shameful?

I have cellulite. So does most of the population. We all have a uterus, and organs and some of us have evidence of a place where a baby once lived, and that’s why our bellies are the way they are.

Imagine if we just spent time appreciating all that we can do, the amazing life-creating vessels that we are, instead of trying to scrub, wrap and hide all that we have done. Imagine we valued ourselves and each other like we deserved to.

Imagine how better we would all feel. Body confidence starts within, but our surroundings are responsible for it too.

So, my husband’s response? ‘You looked so happy!’ … That’s all he saw, not my cellulite, not my imperfections.

He saw a happy wife enjoying a moment, and he was right. I was happy. I am happy, That’s all that matters.”

husband takes a selfie with his wife, both are smiling wide
Courtesy of Laura Mazza

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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