Media, Cultural Expectation and the Postpartum Journey

"We are constantly being bombarded by cultural expectations of how our bodies should look. Take a second to scroll through your social media feed, peruse any pop culture website or magazine, or think about all the products that exist to help you “lose weight quickly.” Society places an insane emphasis on thinness and physical appearance — the “perfect body.”

Of course, everyone knows a woman must gain weight in order to grow a healthy baby, so expectant women are exempt from the expectation of thinness. But, sadly, that respite doesn’t last long after the baby is born. Indeed, we’re somehow led to believe that we should be able to quickly lose the baby weight and fit back into our pre-pregnancy wardrobe. 

This message is unrealistic, highly damaging and outright dangerous, as it leads so many new moms to feel like failures (how can we not do this thing we are supposed to do? Losing the baby weight should be simple! All the celeb moms can do it…) and like “less than” versions of their former selves. For some new moms, it can trigger deep feelings of disgust and self-loathing every time they look in the mirror, and, in certain circumstances, may also lead to postpartum depression

Michelle Malloy, M.S., MFT, a therapist who specializes in OCD, body dysmorphia, eating disorders and perinatal mental health, says, “When women are together, think about how often the talk turns to disappointment about our bodies. It’s so prevalent.

But if we can start making some changes with ways we react — like move the conversation away from talking about our weight and appearance — and encourage others to do the same, we can change this.”

The above excerpt is from Lucie's List and written by Marissa Bader. We hope you'll join us as we continue to share helpful information and encouragement on this topic. Stay tuned!