A genuine way for people to celebrate postpartum bodies is to not comment on them at all. However, this is the real world, and drowning out the world and enjoying motherhood can be nearly impossible.
I am a mother of two and my youngest is seven months. After I gave birth to baby number one, I hated myself. I hated the 60 pounds I gained, the hair loss, the stretch marks. My feet had grown two sizes, and let’s be honest, my teeth were falling out. Oh, and did I mention all of my “friends” stopped calling and texting?
When you give birth to your baby, you are also giving birth to the new you both physically and emotionally. I spent so much time wishing everything could go back to normal, I had not thought about what was being wished away: my little angel.
I must admit, it was not until I gave birth to my second child that I began to truly appreciate and give thanks to my body.
Just because some celebrity or other woman you know “snapped back” quickly, it does not mean you are doing anything wrong or that your body has failed you.
For example, during my pregnancy with baby number two, I battled with borderline preeclampsia. I was only allowed to gain the weight of the baby. So after I gave birth, I went right back to my pre-baby weight and I looked as if I had not given birth at all. I was getting compliments and comments on how my body did not change and high praise for “snapping back.” Nothing is more infuriating than going through the plight of bringing a child into the world and having your whole experience diminished with how quickly your body appears to be “back.”
No one was complimenting the fact that I could not enjoy indulging in my cravings because one false move could send me into early labor. I was not praised for making it through being readmitted to the hospital after my c-section with an infection and hematoma in my uterus. I did not get any high-fives for surviving COVID-19 while pregnant, and I certainly was not getting kudos for nursing my baby until my nipples grew raw.
The truth of it all is your body will never truly be “back.” When you give birth to your baby, you also give birth to a new physical, emotional, and spiritual version of yourself.
When I realized everything my body had endured to nurture and bring human life into the world, all I could do was thank her.