Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Moms already know that waiting six weeks for a postpartum check is bullshit. By the time a doctor gets around to asking you how you’re doing, you’ve already gone through the process of sink or swim. Help should be given much sooner, and there’s so much that needs to be addressed in a postpartum visit. The baby gets several visits after birth, but what about mom?

Instead of simply asking “how are you doing?” we need much more pointed questions, and one should be about our bodies. Our physical perception of ourselves greatly impacts our mental health, and pregnancy is a drastic change. After my first pregnancy, I was shocked at the “new” me. Stretch marks, boobs triple in size, hips that no longer fit into my jeans. My self-esteem took a huge hit. I had to wrangle with seeing someone completely different in the mirror.

It gets worse when every woman is asked about diet and exercise the second she is cleared at a not-so-helpful postpartum visit. There’s a huge push to get your pre-baby body back. There’s no acknowledgement that things will never be the same, but regardless, you should bust your ass to make it happen.

There needs to be a discussion of body positivity. Someone should be asking new moms how they feel about the changes they’ve undergone, not as a mother, but as a person. You were an individual before you had the baby, and it’s important to still recognize that. Yet mothers get lost in the sea of baby needs and forget any aspect of self-care.

The beauty of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum should be celebrated. A woman’s body is creating life, but as soon as it’s over, it’s not attractive. Every mother is beautiful. What they have accomplished is incredible and it’s time to put a positive spin on it.

It’s time for doctors to ask about the stretch marks and the sausage-size nipples (because how the hell did that happen?!). It’s time for someone to encourage feeling confident in their new skin, regardless of stretch marks. If someone isn’t confident, let’s talk about what we can do to fix it. It’s time for society to forget the stereotype of what a mother should look like postpartum and embrace the reality.

Pregnancy and childbirth are hard. They are painful. The experience is a significant trauma to the body.

Mothers have been through one hell of a battle. Can we please acknowledge them for the warriors they are? It’s not an overnight process to love your new body, but it would be much easier if we talked about it. It’s not vanity, it’s self-love. There’s a difference, and your perception of yourself as a mother AND a person is more important than you’ve been led to believe.