Kimberly Henderson's Body Positive Facebook Post Proves That Mombods — And ALL Bodies — Are Awesome
You know what's pretty remarkable? The fact that women's bodies are capable of housing and nourishing a literal other human for nine months. I think we can all agree that reproduction is a really impressive and important thing that women's bodies can do — so why are we still shaming pregnant women and moms for their bodies? Thankfully, South Carolina-based former American Idol hopeful Kimberly Henderson's body positive Facebook post responded to body shamers in a way that is actually perfect.
First posted on June 19, the cute mirror selfie features Henderson with her shirt pulled up to her ribs, pointing to her belly. Her caption begins: "Everyone always compliments me on how I have such a 'perfect' body after four kids. I decided to upload this pic and leave my belly 'unedited' [and] 'unphotoshopped' because I used to struggle with accepting my body after kids."
She then goes on to explain that after struggling for many years to come to terms with the body she was left with after giving birth to four children — her six pack having been replaced by stretch marks and loose skin — she came to realize that loving her body and wearing a bikini make her feel beautiful and sexy. So, she decided, she might as well flaunt her body, rather than try to hide it. She ends her post with, "We ARE moms and we ARE superheroes and we freakin' ROCK and in my opinion that is sexier than any six pack." Personally, I could not agree more, and am so thankful for women like Henderson who understand that in a world that profits from making women feel insecure, loving yourself is an incredible act of badass rebellion.
Henderson's post, along with those of women like Tanis Jex-Blake, who was derided for daring to wear a bikini that showed her stretch marks (the horror!), and Rachel Hollis, who posted an inspiring, stretch-marked bikini pic, are breaths of fresh air when we live in a society that seems so intent on criticizing pregnant women and mothers for not looking right. We are so ready and willing to love Chris Pratt for his sexy #dadbod, but we can't seem to get behind #mombod. We instill women from an impossibly young age with the message that they're supposed to have maternal instincts and want children, and then we're horrified by the natural results that childbirth has on many bodies.
But it's not just women with stretch marks and loose skin who get shamed. Women who are deemed "too fit" while they're pregnant also face unfair criticism. The case of Australian weightlifter Sophie Guidolin comes to mind, who got attacked on social media for a photo where she was lifting weights while pregnant (despite the caption that assured concerned viewers that her doctor said weightlifting was absolutely fine for her during her pregnancy). And then of course we get stories like the one about model Sarah Stage's incredibly toned pregnancy body, reported on with headlines that body-shame the rest of the non-super-fit-pregnant population like, “No Baggy Maternity Wear Here! The Lingerie Model Who Is EIGHT Months Pregnant (But You’d Never Know From Her Super-Toned Abs).”
Can I propose that we just let women's bodies look the way they're going to look, and withhold comment about it? All women's bodies are amazing — and in fact, all bodies are amazing, whether they're women's bodies or not — so let's just quit it with the shaming and criticizing, OK?