Postpartum bodies are a sensitive subject, yet everyone seems to have an opinion about them. But when one new mom was confronted about her post-baby weight in an upsetting and hurtful way, instead of getting sad or mad or even rage-y, she coolly and calmly turned her bad experience into a teachable moment.
Indiana mom Kelly Diane Howland shared a photo of herself on Facebook, wearing her 2-week-old baby in a wrap while shopping at her local Target. In the picture, Howland holds a card advertising the company It Works. Her caption explains the story behind the photo and her completely-and-utterly-over-it facial expression.
Apparently, Howland, a "brand new postpartum mom," had been innocently shopping with her "obviously fresh" baby. An older woman approached her, making small talk about the baby before quickly segueing into a pitch for It Works, a skin care and nutrition company that sells body wraps advertised to tighten and tone stomachs. Ugh.
First of all, it's completely against woman-code to offer a complete stranger unsolicited feedback and advice on their appearance - but it's particularly shitty to zero in on someone who's obviously a new mom. Surprisingly, Howland didn't fault the woman for attempting to sell the product or the company for existing - in fact, she even said she has "respect for a woman with guts" who tries to "hustle her own living." Instead, she railed against the way "culture hammers into postpartum women a lot of physical insecurity about their bodies after delivering their miracles from their wombs."
"I don't think I have to spell out for a single woman the cultural pressure that postpartum mothers face regarding their physical appearance," Howland wrote. "We know. We all know. She knew. And that's why she approached me."
The new mom continued her post with a plea for society at large (and particularly fellow women, like this ballsy saleswoman) to stop perpetuating the pressure and insecurities foisted on postpartum women to immediately snap back to their "ideal" pre-baby figures. Rather than supporting "superficial" and unrealistic body images imposed on women by society, Howland called for women to instead praise one another for the act of carrying and birthing a child.
"Can we just offer each other adoration of the amazing things that we've accomplished and see our physical changes as marks of phenomenal accomplishment that only our sex has the privilege of experiencing? My body doesn't need to be wrapped or squeezed or changed," Howland ended her story. "It needs to be valued and revered for the incredible life it just brought into this world. THAT is beauty and THAT is all it needs."
Clearly, her inspiring message resonated with other women and mothers online who have been through something similar - her story has been shared over 16,000 times since she posted it last Wednesday, with many commenters railing against the kind of "predatory marketing" tactics in Howland's story.
(h/t Huffington Post)
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