back off our baby bodies

I love this response from Mary Elizabeth Williams, writing on Salon.com, to all the ridiculous and offensive critique of Kate Middleton’s post-baby body. Clearly, those slinging the postpartum postmortem have never given birth. Who says we should all look like Heidi Klum or Shakira — who probably spend as many daily hours in the gym as I do teaching classes — even at the best of times? Days after popping out a kid (and no, it’s not as easy as it sounds, even with a cesarian birth like mine) no mother wants her body in the spotlight. It hurts, it feels surreal, it doesn’t function like it used to, and it is being used for something way more essential than sexual attraction. It is feeding our future generation, so shut the f*** up.

It took my body five years to get anywhere near where it was before I was pregnant, and I still proudly bear the tummy flab that once protected my child. My 40-year-old skin was not as elastic as it would have been at 20, but who cares? Why the hell should we “get our pre-baby body back”? I was too busy breast-feeding, caring for an infant, and fighting with my husband to exercise the weight off during the first year. Then I started working again (because my husband wasn’t) in addition to caring for a toddler, so screw anyone who thought I should be going to the gym. I had neither the time nor the inclination: I was focused on survival. I will never look like I did when I got married, and that is okay with me. My body knows the wisdom of carrying a child, delivering her, and nourishing her, which is far superior to anything else I have done in my lifetime. I consider my belly fat a badge of honor, a souvenir of what that belly once held.

To the Duchess of Cambridge, stop listening to the haters. They are ignorant, mean-spirited, and just plain wrong. You look radiant, so don’t fall into their trap. You keep that pudge around your Middleton frame just as long as your body needs it or you feel like letting it be. You’ve got more important work to do.

Credit: Reuters/Cathal Mcnaughton 2013

Credit: Reuters/Cathal Mcnaughton 2013

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3 thoughts on “back off our baby bodies

    • Great blog post, thanks for sharing. And yes, heavier and still tired is the norm… we are stronger than anyone can know 😉 You are beautiful! Hug that boy (okay, both of them) from me.

  1. I love what writer Anne Lamott said about her post-baby body, something like, “No one told me that after I’d given birth, when I lay on my side, my stomach would come and lay beside me like a loyal dog.” I liked being able to laugh about this stretched-out body, to be reminded that there are much worse things than having the loyal dog of our stomachs come plop down beside us – and, hey, what about the fact that every time that happens, we are reminded of the being we brought into the world and can’t imagine life without?

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