New Mom Needs More Input on Postpartum Body

New Mom Needs More Input on Postpartum Body

By Gail Cornwall

At 2:06 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28, Kelly Davies of Wilmington, Delaware proudly welcomed Beckett Atticus Davies, who weighed in at 8 lbs, 12 oz and measured 21 inches long. Sources close to Ms. Davies say that mom and baby are both healthy and happy with the exception of one post-delivery complication: “I’m just not sure how to feel about my body,” Ms. Davies laments. “I wish someone would comment on it or write an article about it.”

Ms. Davies reports first experiencing nothing but exhaustion and joy. “But then I looked at my strange new belly,” she says, “and I knew I felt something. I just wasn’t quite sure what.”

The problem was apparently exacerbated by the assistance Ms. Davies had become accustomed to receiving. She explains, “My co-workers were super helpful before the birth. ‘You’re huge!’ they’d say whenever I entered a conference room. ‘You’ve got to have twins in there,’ my boss quipped at least three times a week. It was so clear to me: I was really big. Now, though, I just don’t know.”

Her husband, Jeremy Davies, adds, “Right after the birth she was all, ‘Wow, my body pushed that big baby out. That’s amazing, right? I’m supposed to feel strong and powerful, right?’ I was all, ‘Yeah, you’re like Superman strong.’”

But it wasn’t long before Ms. Davies began to doubt her chosen emotional course. “I saw my new super-ass in the mirror, and it looked mighty alright, but not, like, good.”

Luckily, Ms. Davies soon recalled the Facebook post of an acquaintance (who wishes to remain anonymous). “That’s when I was like, ‘Oh right, there’s just more of me to love!’” Ms. Davies says. This realization led to a reputedly delightful two-minute interlude spent bobbing to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Base,” during which Ms. Davies was heard to call out, “I’ve got all the right junk in all the right places.”

Yet the mood in the room quickly darkened when Trainor addressed “skinny bitches.” In our exclusive sit down, Ms. Davies later recalled, “See, I used to be thin, you know, before the baby, and I read that skinny shaming is just as hurtful as fat shaming. But then there was this other article saying that it’s not the same because skinny shaming is like reverse racism: it may exist, but it’s like a bug splatting on your windshield one day versus getting your car T-boned every time you try to drive. So it would be, like, skinny-racist to love my new butt now, wouldn’t it?” This conclusion apparently drove Ms. Davies to frantically shout, “Turn it off! Turn it off! Just put on some Britney.”

A labor and delivery resident on call that evening reports another sudden change of atmosphere upon the arrival of Lindsey Abrams, who has been Ms. Davies’s best friend since either seventh or eighth grade (there is a complicating factor involving Katie Banasik, who may or may not have been Ms. Davies’s actual best friend in seventh grade). When Ms. Davies confided her confusion, Ms. Abrams took over. “Absolutely not, Kelly! I forbid you to think negative thoughts about yourself! Your body is your gift to your baby. You gave him life. You wouldn’t take that back so you can still be pretty, would you?!” Ms. Davies reportedly nodded vigorously throughout this pep talk.

After Ms. Abrams’s departure, however, Ms. Davies says she reconsidered. “I read that motherhood shouldn’t be all sacrifice. I mean, if I just accept these new saggy bags I used to call breasts like it’s OK, what does that say about my ability to set boundaries?”

Seeking an end to his wife’s “serious yo-yo act,” Mr. Davies briefly glanced up from his cellphone and murmured the reassurance, “I think you’re hot no matter what.”

He then located an op-ed defending minor cosmetic surgery. Ms. Davies described the article to us in detail. “I took notes. It said that some things are totally okay to hate. But it depends. Like, I’m allowed to be pissed about the spider veins because fixing those up is a quick outpatient deal with a laser. But I think I’m supposed to live with my varicose veins because I’d have to go under anesthesia to get those done and, you know, Kanye’s mom died during a boob job. So I have to learn to love those.”

“Also,” she added, becoming increasingly agitated, “I think I really hate my stretch marks. But maybe I think they’re a red badge of courage? Like, a sign of love, but not sacrifice, just like hard-earned or something. I don’t know. The whole thing is just so confusing.”

Holding his now tearful wife, Mr. Davies chimed in, “I know, babe! I’ll go get your laptop. What you need is more advice.”

A visibly relieved Ms. Davies exhaled. “Thank you, honey. I’ll feel so much better once a few more people weigh in on my body.”

This piece was originally published on Joie de Viv.


About the Author

Gail Cornwall is a former public school teacher and recovering lawyer who now works as a stay-at-home mom of three and writes primarily about parenthood. Born in St. Louis and raised in the Bay Area, she’s a serial monogamist of urban living who resided in Berkeley, New York, D.C., Boston, and Seattle before committing to San Francisco. You can read more at (personal musings), (book reviews), and (more serious fare).