A PSA about Postpartum Bellies
Hi. My name is Kristen. I’m here today to tell you a little bit about postpartum bellies.
You see, I’ve seen some cruelty and stupidity floating around the Internet. (Shocking, I know.) And some of this cruelty and stupidity has been directed toward Kate Middleton’s postpartum belly. People are calling her “fat.” People are wondering “why she still has a bump.” People are asking if she is “pregnant with twins.”
If you’re not one of the cruel or stupid people out there, it’s alright: you may pick up your head from your desk. You may unclench your fist from its imminent Hulk Smashing. You can breathe easy. Because I’m going to put a stop to this particular form of cruelty and stupidity right this very second.
1. The presence of fat on a body is not a moral failing.
Come down off your obesity epidemic high horse. Pull your head out of your fat-shaming butt. Keep your moralizing off of women’s bodies. And all bodies. Fat bodies, thin bodies, tall bodies, short bodies, pregnant bodies, postpartum bodies, infertile bodies, brown bodies, light bodies: all bodies. Because you know what is a moral failing? Being an asshole. And do you know one way you can be an asshole? By casting a woman’s postpartum body as disgusting and/or as a moral failing.
2. Pregnant bodies have to expand to grow babies.
Babies are solids. They are not gasses, nor are they invisible, formless whispers in the wind. They start as cells, and then they grow into bigger people-shapes over the course of a few months. When they’re doing all of this growing, they are inside of a woman’s uterus. Now, before a woman is pregnant, her uterus is about the size of a pear. But full term babies are bigger than pears. (The more you know!) So the uterus has to grow and expand along with the growing baby. This is what makes a woman’s belly get all big and round during pregnancy. Because her people-shaped and baby-sized baby is growing inside of her uterus. And it’s not like you can just move a woman’s organs around and just squeeze the baby in there: her body has to grow to fit that baby in there.
3. The uterus is a freaking awesome body part, but it’s not magical.
So you already know that the uterus grows from about the size of a pear to whatever size a baby is. But once the baby’s out, it’s not as if the uterus magically shrinks back down to its teeny tiny pear size within seconds. It’s not as if the skin on a woman’s belly magically shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size within the hour. This stuff takes time. So less than 24 hours after a woman gives birth–and even beyond that–she’s still going to look a little pregnant. There isn’t a twin hiding in there. She hasn’t done anything wrong. She’s not five months pregnant the day after she gave birth. (Really people?) She just has a normal postpartum belly.
4. If you are the sort of person who not only scrutinizes but also criticizes the appearance of a person’s body immediately after they have given birth (or truly at any other time), you are an asshole.
I’m just stating the facts.
You and your family look beautiful, Kate Middleton. And all you new mothers out there? You all look beautiful too. Rock on with your very normal, very awesome postpartum bellies.