TW: body image, body changes, pregnancy, postpartum changes
Some of us blessed with maternal figures in childhood remember holding onto jiggly arms, soft bellies and back rolls. All normal parts of a body and especially, a life-creating one. For a hand that’s 1.5 inches long, these are the ultimate connection to mom.
We remember our moms’ softness, comfort and warmth, and a lot of that came through body parts that society deems unsightly.
Are mom bods a thing yet?
So why is it that when it comes to bodies that go through so much hormonal change in life –
women’s – we hold them to impossible standards? From Venus and Aphrodite to ‘20s flapper and ‘50s pin-up, the “ideal” is ever-changing.
Pregnant and postpartum women feel the weight of this ideal the most, because it often comes with a deadline. They’re expected to “bounce back” in a few weeks.
Dr Jennifer Lincoln (Ob/Gyn) recently shared what the average uterus size is, before and after pregnancy. This fights against toxic bounce back culture, which puts pressure on women to shapeshift. Here is the full video, but look at that size difference!
Celebrities have all the time, money, support and incentive to return to this “ideal” as soon as the baby arrives. What can the average woman do, and why do it? What does “bouncing back” even look like outside of a smooth pregnancy with zero complications?
Studies have shown that up to 40% of moms in the U.S. miss the health check-up appointment 6 weeks after birth. Oftentimes, they forget about their own needs to take care of the babies and leave for later what could be some serious side effects.
Other cultures prioritize moms’ physical and mental health, either by extending maternity leave (over a year, in some European countries!) or with cultural practices such as Latin America’s cuarentena (“a time for new moms to rest, recover, and focus on breastfeeding while the women in their communities provide housekeeping and other support”)
Only 8% of pregnancies end up developing life-threatening conditions, but the other, more common side effects are virtually unheard of. From hair loss to nerve damage, I want to shine a bit of light on what I’ve seen about postpartum bodies and how pregnancy (even the first few weeks) changes you.
Pressure doesn’t always make diamonds
Physical touch is the first love language we are exposed to. From being hugged by the womb as we’re growing to the first skin contact, we experience love with our whole bodies.