The constant pressure women face to lose weight isn't just unfair — it can have devastating emotional consequences.
Women struggle with body image issues at all different stages of their lives, but the period right after giving birth can be especially difficult. Rather than embrace the changes that allowed them to have children, moms are taught to erase all signs of this experience and pursue Instagram-perfect "post-baby bodies." In a strikingly honest Instagram post, parenting blogger Brittany Noonan writes about the psychological toll this societal standard took on her, The Daily Mail reports.
"There was a time in my life when I wanted to die," she wrote. "I did not want to live. I wanted to escape, run away, disappear — I didn't want to be me all because of my body."
Next to these words is a sweet photo of herself in her underwear, holding her baby. "This photo would have destroyed me if I saw it when I was that girl because nothing was ever good enough," she wrote. "My only purpose in life then was to be what I thought was a better looking, skinnier version of myself because I thought that meant people would like me and I would be confident, happier, and free of all my self-hate and mental issues."
Now that she's gotten therapy and improved her mental health, she wants others suffering from poor body image to know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. "If you are struggling on any level with self-hate, I want you to know there is help and there is a way out," she wrote. "This resonates so deeply with me: 'I hope one day your human body is not a jail cell — instead, it's a sunny 2 p.m. garden with daisies thriving because of self love.' I know this is deep, but it's a subject I am passionate about discussing and changing for women everywhere in a time when we are constantly bombarded with pressure to be someone else."
As Noonan points out, these feelings of self-hatred don't have to have power over us. But it's also important to know that they're normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Many have felt them, and many have overcome them.
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