Body Shamed in Target While Holding my New Born Baby…


Kelly Diane Howland

I have folded back the contact info of the woman who gave this to me because I’m not about to put another woman on blast like that, but listen.

I am shopping in Target with my obviously fresh baby. I’m a brand new postpartum mom. A woman approaches me and chats me up the usual small talk about “how old is she?” and “how much does she weigh?” And then she asks The Question. “Have you heard of It Works before?” I tell her that I know what it is but I’ve never utilized it. She proceeds with artificial shock and surprise and gives me her card and her spiel.

Listen. I’m not upset this company exists. And I’m not even upset at this woman because she could be absolutely charming and just trying to hustle her own living and I have respect for a woman with guts to do that.

But let’s not pretend that approaching me specifically was a coincidence. Because it’s not like she ran up to every female at Target to hand out her card. But she did come to me – with my baby billboard of being brand new postpartum. We all know that this 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. We know. We all know. She knew. And that’s why she approached me.

Can we PLEASE not perpetuate the pressure, the impossible expectations, and therefore keep alive the insecurities that we newly postpartum women face regarding our new and changing bodies as we enter motherhood? Instead of leaning into superficial ideals imposed upon us, can we PLEASE start bucking the system and instead start praising each other for being the amazing, life giving, creation birthing vessels that we are? 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. 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.

Kelly Diane Howland

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