What is it about people commenting on things that have absolutely nothing to do with them? Like other people’s bodies, for instance. What your body looks like has nothing to do with me, and vice versa. Still, people feel entitled to comment on a person's appearance, and childbirth (including the months that follow) seems to only make it worse. As if motherhood wasn't challenging enough, right? So I asked moms to reveal the terrible things they've been told about their post-baby bodies, not because it's part of being a new mom, but because it absolutely shouldn't be. In no way should a postpartum woman accept unsolicited comments about her body, and the only way to fix a problem is to admit one actually exists.
After I had my son, I heard it all. Friends told me I looked “OK” for a new mom. “Well-meaning” relatives would remind me that I should start working out and watching what I eat. Strangers would ask me when I was due long after I’d given birth. In fact, I can still remember the look on the lady's face from my local smoothie shop after I told her my son had been born four months ago. Hell, years later people still think it’s somehow OK to comment on my figure. But it isn’t. Y’all are being rude as heck and, frankly, us moms don’t need to put up with it.
Turns out, I haven’t heard the worst of it, either. I spoke with a few other badass moms who revealed all the messed up things people said to them about their postpartum bods and, well, it was difficult to keep my eyes from popping out of my head (or curse words from exiting my mouth). People, we deserve some damn medals for taking these comments with a hefty grain of salt.
“I’ve heard more times than I could ever count, ‘Wow, you got your body back! You almost can’t tell you've had babies!’ Why is that everyone’s first comment, like it's so important?”
“‘Isn't breastfeeding supposed to take the weight off?’ The baby was 1 week old and I was overweight before I got pregnant, so technically I weighed approximately 6 lbs more than pre-pregnancy.”
“Months after I had given birth, a colleague asked me when I was due. I told him I had the baby already and he actually started arguing with me, saying it wasn't possible and he was sure I wasn't due for a couple more months. I guess he was so embarrassed he didn't know what to say? I just smiled and was super gracious (if I do say so myself). I mostly just felt incredibly awkward.”
Emily F, 37
“When [my daughter] broke her arm, the receptionist told me I couldn't go in the x-ray if I was pregnant. I was holding [my other daughter] on my hip. She was about 9 months old.”
Emily R, 32
“I was ordering a drink for [my husband] and I at [a restaurant] when the guy next to me told the bartender, ‘She should be ordering a salad instead.’ I gave him a stare that burned through him, and he just felt awkward and didn't even look to the left of him for the rest of the time we were there. [My husband] had been in the bathroom and I didn't say anything until after. He would've punched the guy in the face.”
“When I was a week postpartum with [my daughter], my husband and I went around the corner for sushi while my mom stayed home with the baby. The waiter asked me if I wanted him to tell me which had raw fish since pregnant people shouldn't have raw fish. It wasn't like super rude, he was trying to be helpful, but it was definitely awkward trying to explain that the baby had already been born."
“Does repeatedly having my belly rubbed by little children who think I'm pregnant count?”
“A new doctor I'd never met before saw me for neck and shoulder pain seven months postpartum. He literally looked me up and down with a disgusted look on his face and said: ‘You know all you need to do is lose some weight.’ He didn't even ask about my pain or examine me. It was totally humiliating. And I blamed myself so much I didn't get checked out again for severe pain for two months. By then it was excruciating. Turns out I have a pinched nerve and repetitive motion injury from doing EMDR with my clients. I still get livid thinking about it. It was seven years ago.”