Grieving mum’s raw post: “I don’t have love for my body. I am angry at it”

jessica habe

A grieving mum has posted an image of her postpartum body to Instagram, sparking an important, yet rarely broached discussion about womens’ bodies (and emotional wellbeing) after baby loss.

Content warning: This post discusses baby loss

Shaking stigma of baby loss

It’s a sad reality that baby loss is not discussed, or cared for, anywhere near as openly as it should be.

Women are not only very often left to grieve in isolation, they’re further reminded of all they’ve lost and endured by the changes in their bodies, which can display the signs of pregnancy and birth for many months – even years – after these tragic events.

On the whole, we need to do a better job of caring for these women and their families. It’s important that we push past our own uncomfortable feelings about death, strip away the stigma surrounding baby loss and allow families to express their thoughts and feelings about the tragedy they’ve endured in ways that make sense to them.

View this post on Instagram

I want to talk about my #postpartum body. There is a lot of emotion that goes with gaining weight during pregnancy. I gained 15 lbs in 6 months. And then, after everything, I gained about 5 more. I am 20 lbs heavier and two sizes bigger than I was pre-pregnancy. And I am not okay with my body. I think I would've been okay if Evie was here, although she would've likely still been cooking inside me. The fact that I am bigger than I normally am and don't have my baby makes it harder. I dealt with a postpartum body after Brennan. And I was uncomfortable in my larger body, but it grew my beautiful little man and how could I be upset with it when I looked at him? Every day I get clothes on and they're tight. And every day I'm reminded that I grew my baby for six months and she died. It really is a constant reminder to me. I don't have love for my body. I am angry at it right now. I can't be body positive right now. It's too hard and it hurts too much. I'm working on losing this weight so it isn't one more thing that is a constant reminder. I really think my hormones are making it difficult to do so with my normal routine. That's why I enlisted the help of a friend who is a personal trainer. I'm really hoping it helps me. Because looking in the mirror at my uncovered body hurts. #postpartumbody #grief #loss #motherhood #motherhoodrising #fourthtrimesterbodiesproject #fourthtrimesterbody #takebackpostpartum #evelynlouisemccoy

A post shared by β™€οΈπ‰πžπ¬π¬π’πœπš (π‡πšπ›πž) She/Her (@habe_mccoy) on

 

Emotional toll

One gutsy women, Jessica McCoy, is doing just that. Jessica took to Instagram to share her very raw feelings about the tragic loss of her critically ill baby at 6 months gestation, and it’s shining a light on just how unfathomably difficult learning to live with these losses can be.

This mum found a tangible way to illustrate these impossible feelings, via an Instagram photo of her post-pregnancy body, and has shared some complex thoughts on her experience, alongside the image.

“I want to talk about my #postpartum body. There is a lot of emotion that goes with gaining weight during pregnancy. I gained 15 lbs in 6 months. And then, after everything, I gained about 5 more. I am 20 lbs heavier and two sizes bigger than I was pre-pregnancy. And I am not okay with my body.”

“Every day I’m reminded”

Jessica said she felt completely different – and more positive –  after her first pregnancy, but that following Evie’s death, her body is a distressing reminder of what she’s been through.

“I think I would’ve been okay if Evie was here, although she would’ve likely still been cooking inside me. The fact that I am bigger than I normally am and don’t have my baby makes it harder. I dealt with a postpartum body after Brennan. And I was uncomfortable in my larger body, but it grew my beautiful little man and how could I be upset with it when I looked at him? Every day I get clothes on and they’re tight. And every day I’m reminded that I grew my baby for six months and she died. It really is a constant reminder to me.”

“I am angry”

Understandably, self-compassion and acceptance seem close to impossible, as Jessica described how disconnected she feels from her body.

“I don’t have love for my body. I am angry at it right now. I can’t be body positive right now. It’s too hard and it hurts too much.”

She’s hopeful that focusing on getting physically stronger might assist in her recovery – and coming to terms with grief.

“I’m working on losing this weight so it isn’t one more thing that is a constant reminder. I really think my hormones are making it difficult to do so with my normal routine. That’s why I enlisted the help of a friend who is a personal trainer. I’m really hoping it helps me. Because looking in the mirror at my uncovered body hurts.”

“I feel your pain”

Jessica’s feelings have struck a chord with other mums, highlighting just how important discussion of baby loss is – and that, in the right circumstances – it’s a key element in supporting mums after their baby has died.

“You are speaking out loud what I have inside me for more than 3 years now – thank you thank you thank you,” one commenter wrote.

“I hear you. I feel your pain. It’s a cruel reminder of your missing baby that you don’t get to have, hold. Thanks for being so honest. Big hugs,” another woman wrote.

“This post is so brave and honest and states exactly how I feel, I lost Millie at 6 months and feel the same – if she were here I would relish the changes my body has taken on, but now every single day it’s a constant reminder of her loss and how my body let her down,” one woman posted.

We think Jess is amazing for sharing such personal, intimate, painful feelings so openly, in her quest to help herself – and other mums.

 

If you’re struggling with the loss of a baby, please don’t go it alone. SANDS counsellors are there to support you and provide helpful advice about living with loss.

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