About 4 months ago I was diagnosed with PCOS, Adenomyosis, and Liver Disease. It was a lot to process and a lot of ‘solutions’ were thrown my way…One being a hysterectomy. At the age of 35. Big nope. So in my own research (because the internet is a magical place), what most women living with these conditions said was helping their symptoms, even more than the drugs and painkillers, was eliminating certain things from their diets. Sugar being the #1 culprit. So while I waited (am still waiting) for appointments with specialists, I decided to give up sugar and start a regular workout routine again.
I was on a roll eating tonnes of veggies and working out 3-4 times a week pretty intensely. And I started to see some shifts and my pain had definitely gone down. But then my kid got sick. Real sick. 9 weeks of ear infections and fevers and pain and hospital stays for the poor kiddo. And then I got sick because germs were everywhere and I was stuck in bed for days, not able to eat.
When we finally got through the fog, I visited someone I hadn’t seen in a while and when I walked in she said ‘Wow! You look great! You’ve lost weight! ‘. I went red in the face because although the working out was definitely shaping my body, I knew the weight loss was from stress and from only being able to eat broth and frozen green juice and not being able to take care of myself while taking care of my kiddo.
So here is the thing….
It is never, ever, ever, EVER ok to comment on a Woman’s body.
I know some of you are probably thinking ‘Chill out! She was trying to pay you a compliment!’.
But losing 15lbs does not, all of the sudden, make me or my body worthy of compliments. That 15lbs does not make me more or less attractive automatically.
And my situation was fairly minor. What if someone was going through a horrible divorce and lost the weight? What if someone had been diagnosed with cancer and had lost the weight? What if someone was experiencing a relapse in disordered eating?
The thing is, I have Mamas come to me AT LEAST once a week saying they need my help because someone asked them when they were due when they weren’t even pregnant.
WHY IS THIS STILL HAPPENING IN SOCIETY!?!? Why does someone feel it is their business whether a woman is able to ‘bounce back’ (whatever the fuck that means…) and if she hasn’t, then her body must be up for comment? Why are Women’s bodies up for comment whether they are smaller or bigger?
The answer is, they are not.
The next time you see a Woman and you want to compliment her, here are some suggestions:
‘My GOD you are hilarious!’
‘Holy Crap, you are brave!’
‘Jesus H. Christ, you are smart!’
Ok. But seriously, things you can say that are not ‘Wow! You’ve lost weight!’
You are smart, funny, kind, brave, powerful, thoughtful, talented, strong, considerate, empathic, resilient, charming, perceptive, generous, fearless, don’t take shit, etc, etc, etc.
Go ahead. Try them on.
And as a final note:
Dear Mamas of the world,
I see how hard you are working to keep your head above water. To do all of the things, all of the time, the ‘right’ way. From working, to raising your Little(s), to the mental and emotional load you bare for your family, to ON TOP OF IT ALL trying to stay ‘healthy and fit’ because society says you must fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans by ‘such and such’ date or you are a failure.
I say screw society.
If you want to workout because you LOVE it, because you love feeling strong, because you love moving your body, because you love socializing with other like-minded peeps, then all the power to you. It is why I do what I do.
But if what you need, for the state of your mental health, is to stay in your PJ’s and watch copious amounts of Grey’s Anatomy until you feel ready (which could be a year, 2 years or 5 years from now), then you do you, Mama. Don’t let anyone pressure you otherwise.
I will be here when you are ready.
Baby Mama and Body (Postive) Boss,