It seems like moms are always on display–and it seems like strangers find it appropriate to make comments judgments on how women look and parent. Well, one mom has had enough. Recently, Kelly Howland was shopping with her newborn when a stranger approached her (and you know how this will go).
At first the woman began talking about how adorable her baby is and so forth. However, then the woman asked a question that Kelly felt compelled to address:
“I’m a brand new postpartum mom. And then she asks The Question: ‘Have you heard of It Works before?’ I tell her that I know what it is but I’ve never utilized it. She proceeds with artificial shock and surprise and gives me her card and her spiel.”
It Works is skin and nutrition company that sells products. For Howland, having perfect skin is the last thing on her mind, as she wrote:
“Listen. 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. But let’s not pretend that approaching me specifically was a coincidence.”
Of course, what hurts even more is the fact that Howland felt that she was being singled out for being a new mom–and thus, for being vulnerable:
“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.”
It’s important that Howland is questioning this kind of behavior, instead of just chalking it up to a thoughtless stranger. It’s this kind of attitude, that women are merely concerned with how they look, and are only valued because of their appearance, that permeates into our own self-esteem.
When it comes to women and mothers, this is especially true–and should be noted that moms (whether they have given birth or not) are responsible for the well-being of another person. And that’s a lot more important and beautiful than perfect skin Howland put it best when she asked the question, “Can we just offer each other adoration of the amazing things that we’ve accomplished and see our physical changes as marks of phenomenal accomplishment…?”
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