Even for moms who aren’t plus-sized, pregnancy is a harrowing time. The body is changing, she's feeling sick, and she worries about her birth, her new baby, and the rest of their lives together. But for plus sized moms who catch criticism for everything from their body shape to what they eat to how many kids they have, fending off internet trolls is basically just part of daily life.
For a lot of plus size moms, even those who share body positivity vibes proudly, posting pics or going out postpartum is hard. New moms are not only adapting to life with their tiny babies, but also life as milk-making machines and near-sleepless creatures whose only value in life often seems to be as a caregiver to their new darlings.
Which is why it’s horrifying that these fifteen plus size mamas had to deal with being publicly shamed for their bods.
While mom Brynne Huffman was running errands one day, a woman who was behind her in line at a UPS store took the opportunity to compliment Huffman on her hair. Then she made a rather rude suggestion; “rethink the shorts.” Huffman was wearing mid-thigh length denim shorts and a flowy top, an outfit suitable for running errands on a warm day. But the woman in line behind her, ironically enough wearing a Coexist shirt, had other ideas.
However, as US Magazine reported, Huffman’s story soon went viral on Facebook, proving that there’s more to moms than what they wear and what size they are. Huffman also inspired family and friends to don their own oft-neglected shorts in favor of hiding their legs and feeling embarrassed about their bodies. That’s a slap in the face to body shamers everywhere!
Kelley Markland told US Magazine that she was used to being shamed for her weight throughout her childhood. But as a mom of two and a busy substitute teacher, Markland dressed the way she felt comfortable and went about her life. However, she says that she has still received taunting from strangers, such as being mooed at while she is out exercising. And this time, a body shamer’s attempt at hurting Markland came a little too close.
Someone who evidently knows this plus size mama sent her a rude letter saying that people who weigh 300 pounds shouldn’t wear leggings, and included a meme that said “your pants say yoga but your butt says McDonalds.” If this wasn’t personal enough, Markland is sure that the critic is someone close to her family since they knew her address.
Melissa McCarthy may have had audiences rolling on the floor laughing in movies like Tammy and Ghostbusters, but one particular critic really had it out for her following a movie review. People reports that Rex Reed, from the New York Observer, called McCarthy a “female hippo” and a “gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious.”
The mom of two impressionable daughters, Vivian and Georgette, said that while the review was the opposite of what her fans report after watching her onscreen, she wouldn’t let one bad apple get to her. As a mature mom, McCarthy says bad press won’t crush her the way it would have when she was younger, and she’s happy with her lot in life regardless. That’s the way to be a role model for your girls, Melissa!
Plus size model extraordinaire Tess Holliday is no stranger to online backlash for her size or others’ perceptions of beauty. In fact, she started a social media campaign that says screw you to body shamers everywhere with the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards. She’s long supported other women’s endeavors to find their authentic and beautiful selves. But as she became a mom of two, Tess was feeling self-conscious after giving birth to her second son, Bowie.
It’s understandable that even this queen of self-love felt apprehensive about sharing postpartum shots, since some Instagram trolls told her to “waddle back to Weight Watchers” and saying that she probably eats beauty standards for lunch. Holliday called the troll out, and afterwards the account that the comments came from was deleted. Holliday’s response? “This fat f*ck wins.”
After welcoming son Angelo in 2012 with husband Simon Konecki, superstar Adele was on the receiving end of some awful Twitter comments in response to their birth announcement. Crass commenters called Adele’s baby “fat and handicapped” and others suggested that they hadn’t known Adele was pregnant because she was overweight.
While the singer has fielded ugly comments about her appearance and her weight before, having Twitter followers jump all over her in the days following her son’s birth was new to the star. Also, Adele later shared that she experienced postpartum depression following her son’s birth, and wasn’t motivated to go out and do anything on her own without him. Like many new moms, Adele struggled with depression until finally sharing her experiences with other moms and getting honest with herself about her troubles.
Kristen Bosly was afraid of the beach for years, she told US Magazine. She’d wear a one-piece bathing suit, a coverup, board shorts, and hide as far away from other beachgoers as possible. The 41-year-old mom of two publicly shared her pic in a now-viral post about being comfortable in your own skin and recognizing that these moments with our kids as they grow up are fleeting.
Bosly noted that she’d been shamed by strangers for years, and learned to be self-conscious of her beach body because of it. However, when she forgot her coverup on one beach trip, Bosly decided it was time to come out of her shell and use her experience to remind other moms what’s really important; taking pic with our kids and the happiness on our faces!
When Kelly Diane Howland was shopping at Target a few weeks after having her baby daughter, she tells Today, a stranger approached her and began asking questions about her new baby. Howland made small talk with the woman, who asked about the baby at first, then asked if she’d heard of It Works. Howland notes that this woman, while she may not have meant the approach as an insult, has bought into society’s suggestion that postpartum women are somehow less-than.
Howland’s Facebook post about the encounter went viral after a friend asked her to share it publicly. Now a mom of three, she tells Today, “My body doesn’t need to be wrapped or squeezed or changed,” and she’s quite content to bask in the glow of the three beautiful people she created with that very body.
Brittany Dykstra wanted what all pregnant mamas want- photos memorializing her pregnancy and the glow she felt while her baby was in her belly. But when she shared the poignant photos to social media, Dykstra was disappointed by her family and friends’ reactions. Comments ranged from claiming Dykstra was unhealthy and endangering her baby, to people suggesting that maternity photo shoots were only for small or skinny women.
While she was devastated with the public reaction to her photos, Dykstra later volunteered for the Honest Body Project’s photo shoot, which featured women of all sizes and shapes. During this shoot, Dykstra was dealing with not only a recent miscarriage, but also an unexpectedly quick pregnancy following that experience. The photos from that shoot serve as inspiration to Dykstra not to let others’ opinions influence the way she mothers, or the way she loves her body.
Mom of two Stephanie Redmond shared with the Daily Mail that she posted her bikini selfies as a response to hearing other women say they were embarrassed to debut their post-baby bods in public. Redmond, who is a size sixteen and proud of it, shared her bikini pics- including one of her rear end- online, and received much support along with much criticism.
Even the Daily Mail called her swimwear “revealing” when reporting on the outcome of Redmond’s sharing the photos. The result? A professional photo shoot with a local photographer on behalf of a clothing store, and even more gorgeous pics to rub in her critics’ faces. Redmond reminds other women, and not just moms, to embrace their bods and live their lives without worrying about what others have to say about their curves.
Mom of three and aspiring model Jazzy shared an Instagram photo of herself with her husband, who is a super fit farmer, and received an overwhelmingly positive response to the beautiful pic. However, plenty of body shamers soon flocked to the post, calling Jazzy unhealthy and fat. While Jazzy seemed unfazed at first, she later followed up the bikini pic with images of herself working out at the gym.
Even though she describes her post-baby body as curvy and jiggly and notes that she has rolls and stretch marks, Jazzy told the Mirror that she loves her body and so does her husband. She says although her husband has a “born fit” bod, he loves her “imperfect” body regardless. Jazzy continues to share pics on her Instagram to inspire other women to love their bodies while keeping healthy too.
Model Denise Bidot didn’t start out as a plus size model walking the runway at CHROMAT. But the mom-of-one and former makeup artist couldn’t get on screen when she first came to LA. Bidot told People that when she first moved to LA at 18, she couldn’t get any acting work because of her weight. She was told to lose 10 to 15 pounds and then come back.
Rather than sacrifice who she was for a job, Bidot started working as a makeup artist to stay in the industry. Later, a photographer asked her if she was interested in modeling. Bidot’s road to plus size modeling wasn’t an easy one, but now she serves as inspiration for her young daughter and women everywhere who don’t relate to size zero models walking the catwalk.
Although well-meaning friends and family try to tell Marie Southard Ospina that she looks like she hasn’t given birth, she wishes they’d stop. Writing for Romper, Ospina explains that she’s been plus size most of her life, and following the birth of her daughter Luna, that didn’t change. She admits she struggles with the changes her body has undergone, and the new stretch marks and “uneven curves and rolls” that cover her formerly hourglass shape.
Prior to her daughter’s birth (and her pregnancy), Ospina told Bustle that she is relentlessly criticized by online trolls, but makes it her mission to ignore them and keep living her life and enjoying her body anyway. After suffering eating disorders as a teen, Ospina is ready to fully embrace her body and her new role in motherhood.
By now, every mom has probably seen Maria Kang’s “super mom” portrait- featuring the fit mom posed with her three kids and rocking hard abs at 8 months postpartum. In stark contrast to the fitness guru’s marketing ploy, San Jose based lingerie shop Curvy Girl started its own campaign, inviting “regular” women to share photos of themselves wearing their purchases from the shop.
It didn’t take long for Maria Kang to comment on the campaign, insulting all the participants by stating that the US is breeding a strange mentality of people who don’t appreciate bodies formed through hard work, dedication, and discipline. Well, Maria, we’re pretty dedicated to not being massive a*holes to other moms, regardless of what they look like.
Delfina Baca, a nurse who struggled with her own unexpected C-section birth experience, participated in the 4th Trimester Bodies project, which endeavors to inspire people through education and empowerment. Baca told Popsugar that she participated in the project on behalf of her daughter, who she hopes will remain confident in her body and her abilities throughout her life. Baca’s birth experience was a letdown at first, she says, but she came to appreciate what her body has done for her- given her daughter life.
Baca notes that the lessons she has to share with her daughter are painful and powerful. The fact that Baca has experienced teasing and criticism for her size made her want to show her daughter that our bodies are our temples, and no one should make another person feel bad for how they look or who they are.
When mom Kassondra Coxson, a blogger and business owner, had her second child, she knew she wanted a special photo to commemorate the occasion. Her toddler daughter and infant son tandem nursing in a milky bath made for a gorgeous postpartum photo, which Coxson shared via social media. But as soon as she posted the image, internet trolls came out of their caves and started bashing the plus-sized mama for anything and everything.
Commenters criticized Coxson’s size, the fact that she was nursing a toddler, the fact that her son appears lighter skinned than his dark-skinned mama, and the fact that she’s a woman of color nursing a baby in the first place. While Coxson deleted most of the trollers from her post, she notes that plenty of positivity did come from the post.
Sources: Daily Mail, US Magazine, People, Romper, Today, Parents, She Knows, Mirror UK, Huffington Post, Bustle, BizJournals, Popsugar