Black and Native doulas are already addressing maternal and post-partum healthcare inequities through their community work. Disclaimer: At various points throughout this article, the author uses gendered language. This is because most studies done about birthing people only include or refer
The only time I saw Black parents represented were to mention mortality rates during childbirth. It left me infuriated and frustrated. By Sadiyah Bashir Like any other pregnant Millenial/Gen Z-er excited about bringing new life into the world, I took to the
Beyoncé addressing this post-baby body reality is an important moment.I am not a rabid Beyoncé fan. I like Lemonade and a few more of her songs, but it would be a stretch to call me a “fan”. However, reading her statement in Vogue’s September issue, I felt a kinship with her that I had never felt before because she spoke honestly and openly about birth and the post-birth body. As a Black woman who is prized in part for her looks, I believe this was a radical act on her part. Beyoncé took over the high-fashion magazine and, yes, we were given the beautiful photo shoot that we were expecting to see, having been photographed by Tyler Mitchell, the first ever Black photographer to shoot the cover for the 126 year-old magazine, but we were also gifted with the raw and open discussion of her pregnancy and postnatal period. This wasn’t an exposé or an in-depth report — it feels intimate and candid. In her own words, the artist states, “To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.” [caption id="attachment_49914" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo by Tyler Mitchell for Vogue U.S.[/caption] It was Beyoncé saying, “This is what happened to me and this is what I did to come to terms with it.” It is part of a larger statement that she is making about her recent history that shares space with her career and performances. It is not a separate, specialty story, it is just part of her life. She described having a “FUPA.” This is a very normal post-baby body change, but I cannot recall ever hearing any reference to it in a mainstream fashion magazine. And when have we ever heard a celebrity speak about their belly fat unless it was about how they lost it? The post-baby body is one of the most scrutinized bodies. No matter how you looked before, your body is almost always different afterwards. The culture we live in thinks nothing of commenting on and reminding people who have given birth that they need to look like they did not just have a baby, and this starts as soon as you’ve given birth. From the perspective of all people who have given birth, who have lived with the changes that their bodies go through during and after that process, Beyoncé addressing this post-baby body reality is an important moment. A woman known for her perfection and beauty is standing up and telling us, “My body isn’t perfect by external standards, but it is perfect by the standards that matter most — mine.” That’s a radical act, to acknowledge the process of birth, to accept that once the baby is no longer physically in your body it doesn’t mean that the process is over. That these changes will last and you don’t have to fight your own body to be what it was before you gave birth.
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