Jun 08, 2015 9:30 AM

Author: Jen Brass Jenkins, MPC

The experience of pregnancy and birth is life changing, but what’s surprising is the amount of criticism—specifically body shaming—focused on moms post-baby. “We…live in a world that seems to love babies yet thinks that we should erase any evidence of how they came to be,” wrote Ellen Friedrichs in a post for Everyday Feminism.*

“The really sad part to me,” says U of U Health OB/GYN Tiffany Weber, MD, is “the public's reaction when women are attacked and shamed for the natural changes of their body. Pregnancy is a great sacrifice and a wonderful gift—we should celebrate this process and embrace the imperfections.” It’s time to change the dialogue.

Change the Dialogue

Body Shaming Post Pregnancy: What You Should Focus On | Health Feed, Expert Health News & Information

Countless celebrities and public figures have defended their appearance post-baby in multiple forums online. One blogger, January Harshe, started the Take Back Postpartum movement on Instagram a few months ago. This account encourages mothers to share photos of their post-body babies, tiger stripes and all, with hashtag #takebackpostpartum.

Other ways to change the dialogue include changing YOUR focus. Center yourself on what really matters: your baby, your relationships, and your general health.

What You Should Focus on Post-Pregnancy

Choosing what to focus on will help you set your post-pregnancy priorities. Here are some recommendations:

  • Take care of yourself and your health. Get regular exercise and work with your health professional on a post-pregnancy health plan.
  • Strengthen your relationships with your friends, family, and support network. These are the people who matter. (But if they are shaming you about your body, maybe it’s time to make some changes.)
  • Keep a positive outlook. You grew a human in your body! Doesn’t matter what those otha’ motha’s be saying—you compare to no one else.
  • Keep doing activities you love as possible. It may be one small thing you do everyday that reminds you of who you are, but just because your body has changed doesn't mean your worth has.

Whether the changes in your body reverse or are longer lasting, as Weber says: “It is just important to remember that the body changes are truly a labor of love.”

This post is part of a series on body shaming. Read more about:

*Why We’ve Got to Stop These 5 Ways of Shaming the Post-Pregnancy Body, Everyday Feminism, March 27, 2015, http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/03/shaming-post-pregnancy-body/

Jen Brass Jenkins, MPC

Jen is the web content manager on the Interactive Marketing and Web Team. She manages projects and works with clinical services, departments, and colleges across University of Utah Health Sciences. She also writes and edits many, many things. Find her on Twitter @chrlichaz.

women's health pregnancy

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