Mom Nails the Pressure Women Feel to 'Erase' Pregnancy

alexa wilding
Allure/YouTube

There's a period after pregnancy when many women stop feeling like themselves. Your body changes when you're carrying a baby, and for some women it's never quite the same. So what's a mom to do? In our society, the answer is usually something like lose weight, have surgery, or do whatever you can to hide the fact that you were ever pregnant. But there's another option. Singer/songwriter Alexa Wilding hasn't just embraced her post-pregnancy body. She's spoken out to Allure in a viral video to tell women to stand up for our bodies and to refuse to have our pregnancies erased.

  • For Wilding, the pressure to erase her pregnancy started before she even had her baby.

    Wilding carried twin boys and says she was "starving" throughout her pregnancy. But when she brought this up to her doctor, the only advice she got was to keep her weight in check. "She said, 'You know, when you're hungry, just have, like, a handful of almonds. Have an apple.'"

    In other words, Wilding was being sold the idea of the "stylish pregnancy" -- a concept she says is total bullshit.

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  • Even after Wilding lost weight post-birth, the insecurities and body-shaming didn't stop.

    "I remember lying on the bed wanting so badly to feel that sensual feeling again, and realizing that I had no idea how to be that way now," Wilding recalls. "And I remember lying on my side to face my husband and the skin fell over. It was like a landslide. There was so much of it. It was me, my husband, and this wad of flesh between us. And I missed that body I used to have."

    Wilding had diastasis recti -- meaning her abdominal muscles had literally separated during pregnancy, leaving her with decreased muscle tone and extra skin. It's a fairly common condition in pregnancies with multiples, but it seemed like that skin was all people could focus on. Wilding even saw her young son Lou through cancer treatments and continually had to defend her body.

    "I was seeing Lou through cancer treatments, and if there was a new nurse, they'd always come up to me and say, 'Oh, you can't be around the chemo if you're pregnant," she says.

    There are ab exercises moms can do to help with diastasis recti, but often surgery is the only option, as it was in Wilding's case.

  • But when Wilding sought help, she was quickly referred to a plastic surgeon, who told her she needed a "mommy makeover."

    They didn't want to just fix her diastasis recti. They wanted to give her a tummy tuck, a boob lift, and "lots of lipo." Wilding was appalled but a friend told her to go for it. "'Don't tell anyone,'" she says her friend told her. "Just say, 'I've been working really hard.'"

    Wilding said yes to the tummy tuck, no to the rest of it. Six to eight months after her tummy tuck, the skin again began to sag, and the surgeon told her she needed more "mommy" help.

  • That's when Wilding decided enough was enough.

    "I was being sold this erasure," she says. "But now it's like a hobby I have to have. I have to keep going back? I'm not going back!"

  • Instead, Wilding chose to embrace the body that made her boys, and now she wants other moms to do the same.

    "It's this maidenhood-to-motherhood transformation. And we as a culture, we want to stay in maidenhood as long as possible. So many women are trying to erase that rite of passage from their bodies, from their faces, their experiences," she says. "We're still going to be mothers. We still left point A to get to point B. And we should be proud of all the steps we took to get there."

    No matter whether you opt for plastic surgery or not, whether your body "bounces back" or not, pregnancy itself changes you in ways that will always be there, and Wilding says that's something we need to embrace.

  • "In a strange way, I’m free now," Wilding says.

    "I'm still learning to be comfortable with being free but I'm starting to feel a new sexiness ... My favorite part of my new body is my arms. They're bigger. They're strong. They've held two little boys through a lot."

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