This Mom Is Encouraging Everyone To Think About How Body Compliments Can Potentially Be Harmful, And It's An Important Message For All

    "Body comments, we say, are never ok. But did we consider the positive ones to be potentially damaging, too?"

    A mom is calling attention to the unrealistic societal expectations placed on postpartum bodies.

    A woman posing in a swimsuit

    In an Instagram post shown below, Sarah Nicole Landry, who is a body confidence advocate and goes by @thebirdspapaya on the platform, shined a light on how "positive" comments made about a postpartum body can potentially cause more harm than good.

    The photo includes screenshots of compliments that were made about another woman's body after she had recently given birth. "Okay how don't you have a postpartum body??? You're amazing," one comment reads. "Body snapped back like it's nothing wow."

    "No, these comments weren’t for me," Sarah explained in the caption. "They were for a fellow mother on her own postpartum journey days after birth."

    A woman posing

    "Her individual journey. Her individual body. And yet, such reactions from onlookers. 'Respect,' 'Goals,' 'Snap back queen,' 'What baby?' I’ve personally never heard these comments, and I’m thankful (in a way?)."

    "I can’t help but see the damage this could cause all the readers, the future birthers, and the woman herself — a body seen as her greatest achievement (and the silent threat of losing that with time or change)."

    "The reality is — we have no idea what anyone is going through. At the height of my own [journey,] body compliments was at a low in my life. A rock bottom. From the surface, I was an accomplishment. Beneath it, I was falling apart."

    "A reminder, I suppose, that when the world gets loud for you, reflect in your own silence. When the world gets quiet for you, get loud for yourself. And to remember that even a positive body comment may be a negative one. We just never know."

    Many people shared their own experiences with receiving compliments after giving birth in the comment section of her post.

    Screenshot of an Instagram comment

    There seemed to be a general consensus that most people didn’t enjoy receiving any comments — including positive ones — about their bodies after giving birth.

    Screenshot of an Instagram comment

    And some people reflected on their own bodily changes, and how hearing opinions about their body changed the way they viewed themselves.

    Screenshot of an Instagram comment

    To learn a little more about what inspired her to speak out, BuzzFeed spoke with Sarah. "I started to really reflect on the way that we were viewing women's bodies postpartum," she began.

    "I myself felt fragile when I was watching other women who had babies around the same time as me, and they were just so praised for how quickly they returned to a body that looks like it has never had a child, when my body just never did that," she said. "It has never done that. It has fluctuated and changed but never returned."

    Sarah posing

    "I sort of made this post because I was very reflective on how much women were perpetuating this conversation and this praise around whether or not you look like a former version of yourself quickly or not," she continued.

    Sarah posing

    "And it was almost like the silence," she said. "The silence was loud for me because I didn't hear these comments. I didn't hear 'oh my gosh, snap back queen. Did you even have a baby?' I look like I've had a baby. I will always look like I've had a baby."

    A woman holding her infant

    "I think I just really want to emphasize having conversations like these and opening up more windows and doors for women to express how they felt in postpartum with body comments."

    Sarah hopes that people will continue to have conversations like these, and gives this word of advice for new moms who may be going through bodily changes:

    "Our first thoughts are the ones that are conditioned for us, the things that have been shaped by decades of bodily narratives, and then, our second thoughts are the ones that we are choosing to replace it with," she explained. "So, it's not to say that women going through postpartum aren't gonna have a slew of thoughts and fears like I've had about wanting to 'snap back.'"

    A woman wearing a shirt that says, "childbirth doesn't ruin your body"

    "It's okay to ebb and flow. And if you can't love your body emotionally, which is one thing I struggle with, I can love my body with actions," she said. "Sometimes, that's creating boundaries, whether it's on social media or with body comments, vocalizing when you need to have less conversations about those things, and just really getting loud for yourself in those really quiet, lonely moments that often come postpartum."

    What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

    You can keep up with Sarah on Instagram.