Postpartum Body Image Pt. 1

On your spare tires, that is.

Dude, its so hard to be female.

Let me start out by saying that through both pregnancies, I gained within the recommended weight range for my BMI. I think I maybe reached 30lbs, which is perfectly split between the 25-35lb recommended for me.

::And humblebrag over:: Because BOTH times, after all was said and done, and all was healed and over, I was left with 8-10lbs extra that I had to lose the old fashioned way—through starvation, sweat & tears.

Tonight I was complaining to my husband about the spare tire I currently have around my mid-section ( still +9lbs from pre-pregnancy). However, the spare tire is NEW, and I hope fleeting.

And his response was “but you have a beautiful baby.”

Ever the angel’s advocate, he is.

And yes I have a beautiful baby, but I’m sorry, that is not good enough.

I have always paid attention to what I ate. I’ve always exercised. I’ve been tracking calories on a LoseIt app since 2011 for chrissakes. I WORKED to keep that spare tire far, far away.

I know the narrative I’m supposed to subscribe to is to be proud and filled with love about my body because of its ability to straight-up 3D-Print a human, but it’s really hard to undo 35+ years of societal conditioning that tells me not to love my spare tire. That tells me that my self-worth is dependent on looking a certain way.

And does anyone ever think about how hard it is to learn to love yourself? Like seriously, learning to love the body I have now is probably harder to do than cutting out the excess sugar and stuff to get back to the body I semi-used to have. The real work is going to be when I get back to my arbitrary pre-pregnancy weight and discover that my waist is not as slim or my hips are forever wider.

Thanks for furthering the human race, female, you are now 15% less physically attractive forever.

Its so fucking unfair! But my husband doesn’t understand this, and the sacrifice it is to my psyche and body to go through the process of bearing a child. Which brings me to my next point. Its damn near impossible to explain to a man the way labor pains feel, the way period cramps feel, the way it feels to be kicked from the inside out, and the way pregnancy breaks your body down and wrecks your normal for much longer than a year. A man, literally, has no context to empathize with this. I struggle to give context to what I’m feeling now and the closest analogy I can think of, (which for the record, speaks to the way things have been not the way things SHOULD BE) is that the value society would have me place on my attractiveness, is comparable to the value society would have a man place on his ability to provide. Meaning: Pregnancy and the postpartum period are to a woman’s self-esteem, what a 40% decrease in career competence ( read: salary) for 18 months is to a mans.

Greed is good

It’s a crude, oversimplification of an analogy because woke people don’t derive self-worth from these kinds of trivial things. BUT– because its so HARD to make a man understand how much of a mind-space-reality-fuck having a child is for a woman, uniquely, I am trying to get the point across in a way that resonates, however broad, blunt, and boorish it may be.

And I know I’m not the only one who read too many teen magazines as a child and buys into the societal constructs for women. My husband might think me vain, but my vanity is only at issue when I don’t like the way I look and he has to hear about it.

Which is now.

In conclusion, there’s no lesson in this post, there’s no inspiration to take from it. I don’t even know how to end it other than to generalize. Being a woman is unfair, a man couldn’t possibly understand, and I really need to quit it with the baked goods.

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