This Mom's Powerful Message About The Post-Baby Body We Really Don't Talk About

Photo: Getty Images.
Talking about and sharing photos of your "post-baby" body is pretty damn brave. It's also absolutely necessary if we're ever going to break down all the stupid stigma that surrounds postpartum bodies (and all those myths that you can and should just "bounce back!" as if you didn't just cook up and eject a whole human being from your body.
Another pregnancy "taboo" that doesn't get half the open, honest discussion and coverage it deserves? Pregnancy loss —whether it's miscarriage, abortion, or stillbirth.
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Missouri mom Jessica McCoy is here to tackle both of these topics in one fell swoop. The 27-year-old posted on Instagram about what it's like to come to terms with her new "post-baby" body — without a baby.
"I am not okay with my body," McCoy says in her courageous caption. "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... 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."

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

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ScaryMommy reports that McCoy, who already has a son, could feel that there was something wrong early on in her pregnancy with her daughter. She experienced cramping and bleeding, and then found out in her second trimester that the fetus had spina bifida and a "22 Q" genetic deletion.
“A whole host of things can be wrong and coupled with spina bifida, it’s even more severe," McCoy explained to ScaryMommy, adding that the child would require 24-hour care and would likely be in a great deal of pain for her entire life. “We decided this was the most loving thing to do as a mom, because I never wanted her to suffer,” she says of her decision to seek an abortion.
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McCoy's advice to others experiencing their own version of loss: “I know every day is a struggle, but I think that it’s important to recognize that and share it. I think it’s important to share your experiences."
She's also planning to commemorate her daughter, whom she named Evie, by getting a tattoo of her footprint, planting a tree, and having jewelry made from the breast milk that would have fed Evie.
As common as pregnancies are, the loss — whether intended or unintended — of a pregnancy is more common than many expect. In 2014, 19% of pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) ended in abortion. One in three women will experience a miscarriage, and 1% of U.S. pregnancies end in stillbirth. And as McCoy knows, the only way we'll know just how common these experiences are is if people open up about going through them.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.