People probably think women sound like a broken record when it comes to discussing society's beauty "standards." We expect moms to snap back to their pre-baby bodies faster than you can post a throwback photo on social media, but that's not real life, and it's an unhealthy and unfair expectation no new mom should have to deal with. Kelly Diane Howland, an Indiana parent of three and newly minted postpartum mom, is speaking out after she says a woman tried to sell her weight-loss products while she was out with her baby ... because, obviously, that's exactly what every new mom wants! (*Eyeroll*)
Howland, who's a better woman than I am for keeping herself composed during an incident of pure f*ckery, shared her mom-shaming story on Facebook, where it's resonated with so many people -- likely because so many of us can relate, which is a sad freaking reality if you ask me.
While Howland was on the Target scene with her "obviously fresh baby," a woman stopped her to make small talk before asking if Howland had ever heard of It Works, a multi-level marketing company that provides a series of beauty and wellness products. She then handed the mom a card that promoted a tummy-flattening product.
... Yes, really.
"I'm not upset this company exists. And I'm not even upset at this woman because she could be absolutely charming and just trying to hustle her own living, and I have respect for a woman with guts to do that," Howland writes on Facebook. She continues:
But let's not pretend that approaching me specifically was a coincidence. Because it's not like she ran up to every female at Target to hand out her card. But she did come to me -- with my baby billboard of being brand new postpartum.
We all know that this culture hammers into postpartum women a lot of physical insecurity about their bodies after delivering their miracles from their wombs. I don't think I have to spell out for a single woman the cultural pressure that postpartum mothers face regarding their physical appearance. We know. We all know. She knew. And that's why she approached me.
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I really give Kelly so much credit for keeping her composure during an incident that was likely humiliating and infuriating all at the same time. As a member of the mommy group, I have been there and probably would've had a Samuel L. Jackson response (sorry, Mom), as disrupting me in my happy place (Target) is a bad move, even without adding the "Hey stranger, I don't know you but I think you might benefit from this tummy product" sentiment into the mix.
It's crazy to think about a postpartum mom being "targeted" about stuff like this -- as if this mom needs any more stress or pressure on her shoulders -- but it also proves our society has an issue with shallowness.
"Can we PLEASE not perpetuate the pressure, the impossible expectations, and therefore keep alive the insecurities that we newly postpartum women face regarding our new and changing bodies as we enter motherhood?" Howland questioned in her Facebook post. "Instead of leaning into superficial ideals imposed upon us, can we PLEASE start bucking the system and instead start praising each other for being the amazing, life giving, creation birthing vessels that we are?"
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Hopefully, Kelly's experience is food for thought for us all. Even if your intentions are good, please stop and think about your actions beforehand, including the potential hurt it could cause. There are too many new mommies struggling just to adapt to life as a parent -- along with raging hormones, a lack of sleep, and all the physical changes that come with the territory -- without someone trying to push products for a flatter tummy.