In his opinion piece “Why I love my wife’s postpartum body”, dad Brett Ortler delivers the most beautiful ode to his wife, leaving us weak in the knees and giving hi-fives around the office.
Brett, whose wife has been pregnant 4 times and born them two children, wrote the brutally honest letter on the Fatherly Forum. “My wife’s postpartum body is really none of my damned business,” he starts. And later,
“Let's be clear: my wife's body has changed because of pregnancy, but so what? Changes be damned, she's the same smokin' spitfire redhead she's always been. And my body has changed too.”
As an author, Brett can be forgiven for being more eloquent than most fathers, but we dare say many dads would absolutely agree with him. Despite being bombarded with images of supermodels regaining their pre-birth weight, muscle tone and six-packs a few weeks after giving birth, and despite the porn epidemic, there are still lots of men who look at their wives in awe.
If only we mothers would realise that and stop being so dreadfully ashamed of our new bodies.
Owning that he is directly responsible for the pregnancy and the changes in her body, he says, “Let’s have a baby!” is akin to saying:
“Hey, Lady, I'd like you to carry my child for 10 months. If we're fortunate, this will produce a living child. However, this process will dramatically alter your neurotransmitter levels and lead to massive, permanent changes to your mind and personality, not to mention indelible changes to your body. Oh, you'll also become a de facto dairy dispenser and gain enough weight to leapfrog 4 boxing weight classes."
And that’s without counting the dreadful pregnancy symptoms his wife had to put up with, or even birth itself.
“The idea of judging my wife's postpartum body is repellent because it's selfish and myopic; I mean, I don't know anything about episiotomies or tiger stripes or discrimination in the workplace, and these are the rewards that a new mother can expect.”
Poking fun at the "dad bod", he highlights the double-standards of the world’s view on male and female bodies perfectly.
“Think about this way: If one of your beer-league softball buddies is laid up from work for months, gains a lot of weight in the process, and then has to undergo a major abdominal surgery, I can guarantee you'd never find yourself wondering aloud about his abs, scars, or less-perky pecs. That's because you'd be too busy high fiving him and saying, "Dude, you lived!"
And the only difference here, he points out, is that his wife not only survived, but “miraculously produced a human”.
“And not just any human — that human is your kid. And that kid is part of your family. I love my wife's postpartum body because, when I look at it, I see my family, and my family makes life worth living every day.
And the clincher:
"Also because, after everything I put her through, she still sleeps with me."
What do you think about your wife's post-baby body? Do you agree with Brett Ortler or are you having trouble shaking off the Western view of how a woman's body should look? Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org.