It’s Never OK to Publicly Shame a Mother’s Postpartum Body

The majority of the time, I completely skip over any articles that include the words “postpartum body,” “new mom flaunts,” “body after baby,” or anything remotely referencing a bikini and the latest celebrity who has just given birth.

Not because I hold any grudge to any mother who happens to look fabulous after birth, but because I refuse to encourage any sort of societal pressure for women to look a certain way after having a baby. I’ve had four babies myself, and by now, I know my own body and how it behaves post-baby. And also, I don’t really care that much what any mother looks like in a bikini after birth. I’d rather look at my own baby, thanks.

So when I saw a recent headline that proclaimed that Kim Kardashian was looking “chunky” after giving birth, my first reaction was to roll my eyes and keep on scrolling, because:

  1. Kardashian news is not my first priority
  2. It’s impossible for a new mom to look “chunky” because  — giving birth

But then I realized something important …

There really are new mothers out there who are going to read this drivel and weep in their soggy, leaking, soft postpartum state. There really are mothers who are going to be in the throes of postpartum depression who might see this and feel even more hopeless that their extra skin is deemed “chunky” by society. And there really are impressionable young women out there, yet to be mothers, who despite their best efforts, are absorbing the message that a body that shows physical evidence of having grown, carried, and delivered a human being is a body that will still solely be judged on how aesthetically pleasing it is to someone else’s eyes.

It might not seem like a big deal to those of us who fully appreciate what a woman’s body goes through to have a baby, but trust me, there are people out there who still don’t get it, and every time we let a headline like this pass, it hurts women on some level.

Luckily, judging from the ever-reliable comment section, it would appear that most of us stand up for Kim — which is really standing up for women everywhere who are sick of having their bodies, postpartum and other, judged — even if most of us can’t stand her.

“This is the only time I would defend Kim Kardashian. I can’t stand any of them. She just had a baby, of course she looks ‘chunky.’ How insentive [sic] is this magazine? I think your popularity just went down with all the women. Leave the woman alone.”

“She is a human being. Shallow, but human. She is beautiful and just had a damn baby and her husband is Kanye West people, I would drown my sorrows in a freaking pizza and a cheeseburger too. Can you imagine being married to that guy. Good god, that’s the real problem,not her baby weight!!”

“And you wonder why girls stop eating and throw up to make themselves skinny. It’s because of media like you, people struggle more with their insecurities.”

A lot of women carry extra weight after having a baby. But on the flip side, there is a sort of secret fascination we have with moms who go the other route and end up even more slim after having children. We pounce on them, hungry for signs that they are doing something “wrong” or that they are a bad mom because their bodies are doing something ours is not. We criticize women like the “six-pack mom,” who will forever live in Internet infamy for seemingly pulling off the impossible feat of having a six pack at nine-months pregnant. But shaming women with fit or skinny bodies while pregnant or postpartum is just as damaging as shaming any less-than-model-esque bodies.

Personally, I wish all of the talk about postpartum bodies would go away all together. I wish we wouldn’t praise them, bash them, or even exalt them because this is all still forms of judging them for being anything other than what they are: completely and totally normal, which is different for every single woman. I wish we didn’t talk about women’s bodies and how they look to other people, period. It’s just not right, and who do we think we are, anyways? Even Kim Kardashian, who has famously made a living from her body, deserves better. Our bodies don’t exist to be judged by other people, skinny, chunky, or otherwise, especially if they’ve done something so incredible as grow a human being.

So Kim, carry on rocking your “chunky” self, and while you’re at it, you might want to check your husband’s Twitter, because there’s been some much more newsworthy stuff coming out of there than you exposing your stomach.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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