I would be lying if I told you I liked my postpartum stomach. I sort of hate it, what with it's stretch marks, sagging skin, and scar where my belly button piercing used to me. Everyone tells me should love my "tiger stripes," as if a "cute name" changes everything. Now, I know that my body has done some seriously badass things. I love that, but my postpartum stomach? I just don't want to talk about it. So yeah, when you tell me that you "still like" my post-baby stomach, I want to rage.
First of all, none of my body parts are here for your viewing pleasure, so why should I care what you may or may not like? Plus, saying that you "still like" my postpartum stomach implies that you liked how it looked before, noticed that it's somehow less than perfect now, and feel the need to let me know that, hey, these "negative changes" are OK with you. My body is different, yes, and I don't need a reminder, thank you very much. And while you might mean well or are trying to pay me a compliment, it honestly makes me feel like my body and how quickly I find myself "bouncing back" from childbirth are all under a microscope. I don't know what's worse, being expected to "get my body back" after having a baby, or failing at it and then being told that you are OK with that "failure," regardless.
Looks, how my postpartum stomach looks is not that important to me. I am so much more than my waist size or the number of stretch marks I sport. I don't have to be OK with the way my stomach looks, feels, bulges, or hangs over the waistband of my pre-pregnancy jeans. So, if you see me or another new mom and notice that her belly looks different, do us all a favor and keep it to yourself. It's seriously gross, and us postpartum moms couldn't care less.
Because It's Mine, Not Yours
I'm still me. It's still my body. I don't have to like the way my stomach looks and, honestly, mine is the only opinion that matters on this topic. It's not reassuring or helpful to hear your thoughts about it. It's actually pretty gross, because this is my body we're talking about. Not yours.
Because I Don't Exist For Your Gaze
Erin McKean wrote, "prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female.'" Say that one more time for the cheap seats in the back. I don't exist to look pretty for you or look hot in a bikini or appear in whatever way you've arbitrarily decided is attractive. My stomach wasn't hear for your viewing pleasure before I had babies, and it's certainly not here for your gaze now.
Because It Has Accomplished Some Awesome Things
My postpartum stomach bears the stretch marks of three pregnancies, a little deflated balloon of skin above my bikini line, two matching surgical incisions, and a darkened scar where my piercing used to be that still retains a bit of color from my last pregnancy. It tells the story of my life as a mom. It's so much more than how it looks.
Because I Didn't Ask You
Besides, who asked you? I mean, I sure as hell didn't. I am so tired of people thinking that I want their unsolicited opinion about anything. If I want to know your thoughts, I will ask. Period. Until then, though? Keep your opinions to yourself.
I Don't Want To Hear About It
Why do people think that new moms want to hear comments about their bodies? Even if it's your approval, or a comment that's made with the best of intentions? Honestly, my still-healing-from-childbirth-body is pretty much the last thing I want to talk about right now. Unless, you know, you want to bring up infant mortality statistics or the thought of my cat dying. I guess those would be the only two topics of discussion I would consider worse than my post-baby body and, honestly, why in the hell would you want to talk about any of the aforementioned?!
Because I Am Making Peace With It
I am slowly making peace with my new stomach. It won't ever look the same as I did before having babies, though, and it has taken some time for me to get used to that idea. You making comments about it doesn't help that process at all. The last thing I need is your pseudo-approval of my postpartum body.
Because Commenting About Someone's Body Is Rude AF
Stop looking at my body. Stop. It's creepy and gross. And if you did look and have an opinion, it's still not OK to say something about it and keep that unnecessary opinion to your damn self.
Because It's Super Sexist
I have literally never heard someone talk to a man about how their stomach looks. Even if he has an amazing six-pack, people tend to keep those comments to themselves. As a society, though, we are obsessed with women's bodies and how they look, and feel pretty comfortable telling everyone and anyone what we think about another woman's figure.
I've heard that people still like my stomach, that I don't look like I've had kids, and that I "look great" for having a baby. Yuck. Does telling a guy that "you still like" his stomach after he's gained weight or had abdominal surgery sound strange to you? If yes, then why the heck would you say the same to a postpartum mom?
Because My Value As A Person Doesn't Come From My Stomach Size
If we want to achieve gender equality, we have to start treating people of all genders as equals. This means treating people like people and not bodies. It's totally inappropriate to reduce a person to their appearance. My waist size doesn't even make the list of important things to know about me. I am so much more than that.
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