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This Doctor’s Note About ‘Wanting Your Figure Back’ To A New Mom Is Exactly What Postpartum Body Shaming Is

September 23, 2020 | by Sadhika Sehgal
Postpartum body shaming

A few weeks after my brother was born, my mother one day decided to run to the neighbouring departmental store to get a few groceries. As she was walking down the store aisle, getting her stuff together, she ran into a nosey neighbour. Even though they casually asked her something, it went on to stay with her for the coming few years. “So, when are you due?”, a question that my mother, who had already had her baby, could never really let go of. It was the first time she experienced postpartum body shaming in her life.

You see, giving birth is a challenging, life-altering process, one that leaves the mother pretty worn out and out of shape. And what doesn’t help is others chiming in to give their two cents about how and when she must start working out. In this recent case, it wasn’t a neighbourhood aunty or a not-so-friendly acquaintance on social media, but the doctor of the woman who just gave birth, who slammed her with rather alarming postpartum body shaming advice.

Shared on Twitter by a user called Louise Goulden is a snippet of a her hospital discharge report that contains some solid advice from her doctor. The doctor talks about how once the mother delivers her baby, she would get anxious about her weight and figure. And the best way to go about it is to start immediately. Clearly, the doctor cared more about a woman’s curves than her health, because this offensive prescription didn’t sit well with Louise or other women who read this.

Also Read : Lisa Haydon Talks About Working Out During Her Pregnancy And We Love What She Has To Say!

Louise wrote, “Finally written my letter of complaint to the hospital about this ‘advice’ in my discharge papers when my daughter was born. For the avoidance of doubt, she was born in 2020, not 1950.” And honestly, we were just as annoyed as she must have been reading this. Not only did the advice shame mothers who take their time to get back into shape postpartum and body shaming won’t help and it also came across as a rather insensitive to new mothers who can barely get their bearings. 

Other women joined in on the thread and wrote things like, “Also the language ‘you will be anxious’; ‘do start straight away’ etc etc”. Another user wrote, “Cos, you know, you might not be, I don’t know, physically recovering, managing on little sleep, getting to know your new baby and its needs, or, just, you know, happy to have five minutes to yourself here and there.” Every woman has a different body and an individual pace to work things out. And it is only natural to have the interest of your infant at heart, before you jeopardise everything and run off to the gym.


As cringeworthy as it sounds, it is true that ‘shaming’ has become a second nature to most of us out there. As self-proclaimed critics, most people have now transformed into full-fledged shamers, who could probably make you feel bad for even existing if they tried hard enough. From weight, to height, to skin colour, to everything in between and beyond, nothing is now left untouched when it comes to shaming someone. And some of the most easily targeted in this dirty game are women who’re in their postpartum period, when they are vulnerable and body shaming is real.

Relating more and more to the words of Ellen Friedrichs who wrote about women fat-shamed postpartum, where she mentioned, “We…live in a world that seems to love babies yet thinks that we should erase any evidence of how they came to be.”

Except now, women aren’t seeking that nod of approval anymore, because we aren’t just well informed, we’re also self-aware about the health, risks and needs of our own bodies. After all, for every doctor, nosey neighbour or an unlikely troll on social media that slams you for being you, postpartum or otherwise, there is a woman like Louise Goulden, not taking that crap anymore.

Also Read : Covid-19 Tests Not Mandatory For Pregnant Women Going For Health Check Ups Unless They Are Suspected Of Symptoms. Finally Some Relief

Sadhika Sehgal

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