A Partner's Perspective
I am a proud 38-year-old father of four amazing children and husband to my equally amazing wife, Angie. Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by women with alarmingly negative self body images. Ranging from family members, friends, an ex-girlfriend, students I’ve worked with, and to my own life partner.
As a feminist, partner, high school teacher, friend, brother, and father, it is time for me to dedicate energy and creativity towards a movement that will work to end this cycle of body shame that is all too prevalent in our culture.
I want to help create a culture where my daughter, my wife, my sister, and all mothers can be revered for their strength as mothers, rather than ridiculed and judged for having bodies that show evidence of said motherhood. Where mothers with stretch marks, sagging skin, or a soft belly can go to a public beach and not have to feel the need to “cover up” the body that has created life and that this body is simply judged as “that of a mother,” rather than “fat,” “ugly,” or one that should be insecurely hidden.
How can this happen if our media and norms continue to set unrealistic standards for mothers to return to work and society with “pre-baby” bodies? How can this happen if “beautiful” is defined by unrealistic, air brushed images that portray a vast minority of women?
My wife, and all mothers, need to know that they are still beautiful after baby, even if they might not look like the “beautiful” we see on TV or in magazines, or the “beautiful” in themselves that they defined before motherhood came into their lives.
Partners of mothers often impact, and are impacted, by these issues of self-esteem, sexuality, and value, so it is about time that this body image movement is not simply about the victims, but about all of us that hold a stake in society’s views and expectations. These conversations will involve all of us.
I see Mid Drift as one small facet of a collaborative effort to spread postpartum body love, but I am confident that our role in this movement is timely and important.
Angie and I not only want to help spread our collective message and continue discussions on this issue locally, but we also plan to travel the world seeking answers as to why there is so much shame in our own culture. Therefore, one of our goals of traveling and gathering stories from cultures different from ours is to see if what we can learn about body image from alternative perspectives.Hearing and sharing voices from mothers and partners from around the world will be the catalyst to this project.
This adventure might not be easy or convenient at times, but we know it will be worth it. Our whole family will be engaged in this mission and work because we view this as an issue for “all.”