This Redditor joined her female colleagues for some poolside relaxation, wearing a bikini and anticipating a fun outing. However, she didn’t expect a harmless compliment to turn into a debate about motherhood and body image!
A Day Out With Colleagues
The day this story was posted, OP (Original Poster) planned to have a get-together with some female colleagues from work.
She said they knew each other “pretty well,” but they had only seen each other in scrubs at the hospital. Additionally, most of her colleagues are a few years older than her and already have children.
A Compliment Gone Wrong
They were all wearing bikinis and having a nice time when, out of the blue, one of her colleagues gave her a compliment about her body.
OP noted that this colleague of hers offered a “genuine, nice compliment.” So, she blushed and said thank you.
OP explained that she was “pretty fit.” She’d walk her dog daily, and since she was a dancer, she used to dance seven days a week.
However, since she started working, OP had less time for her hobbies, so she’d been dancing less. She noted, “While my body doesn’t look as nice as it used to back then, I still am lean and, I suppose, pretty muscular, especially the legs.”
The “No Kids” Comment
The mood took a turn for the worse when a colleague with children implied that OP’s body looks good only because she doesn’t have any kids.
Life Before Kids
Other colleagues commented on “how easy things were before having kids” and “how easy OP has it.” They also told her that her body is “nothing special.
Initially, OP said nothing because she’s “pretty uncomfortable” with body talk. However, their comments soon led to a discussion about the effects of motherhood on one’s physical appearance.
OP felt too uncomfortable not to say anything. She said, “It became a bit much, and I said that I don’t think my body is just from not having had kids but that I also work out a lot.”
OP spoke up and explained that her physique resulted from regular exercise and dance. It was something she worked hard to attain.
A Doesn’t Always Equal B
OP then emphasized that “not having kids doesn’t equal a ‘good’ body.” In the same way, she said, “Having had kids doesn’t equal a ‘bad’ body.”
OP’s response did not sit well with some of her colleagues. They felt she “belittled parenthood” and “downplayed pregnancy.”
They criticized her for speaking without firsthand experience of what it’s like to have children. OP shared, “They said I should just wait until I have kids and ‘these legs are gonna disappear quickly.’”
Facing Her Guilt
OP was only right to have shared her opinions. However, in a follow-up message, OP explained she might be an “a**hole” because she might have hurt the “mothers’ feelings.”
The Community’s Pieces of Advice
Redditors chimed in with their own experiences and perspectives on the issue.
A top commenter shared, “I had a kid and was back to my pre-pregnancy body in six weeks but with bigger b****—breastfeeding—and some stretch marks. I think your comments were accurate and see nothing wrong with them.”
Challenging Stereotypes on Motherhood
Many Redditors supported OP’s response and believed that her comments were justified. Users noted that everyone’s experience with post-pregnancy bodies differs, further supporting OP’s assertion that having or not having children does not determine one’s body shape or fitness level.
One user wrote, “I don’t understand why they got upset. What you said is true.”
Several others agreed, stating that some mothers have fantastic bodies and that it’s unfair to attribute OP’s physique solely to the fact that she doesn’t have kids.
Health Is Wealth
Pregnancy takes a toll on a mother’s body; no matter what, what’s important is that she and her child are healthy. Therefore, one shouldn’t lose time worrying about one’s weight unless it reaches the point of causing other health problems.
“Every pregnancy is different, and what I’ve noticed is that the weight struggle is a combination of diet, hormones, body composition, available energy, and time to workout. Any combination of those being out-of-whack, you will struggle with your weight,” wrote one user.
A Graceful Acceptance and an Unjustified Attack
Other users then zoomed in on how unnecessary the other comments were. OP was gracious when accepting the first compliment, so why did it have to turn out into something negative?
“Obviously not the a**hole. You got a compliment, accepted it gracefully, and they felt the need to attack. ‘Your body is nothing special’ is crazy when you’re not fishing for compliments,” wrote one Redditor.
The same person added, “I get it. The looking-good-in-a-swimsuit compliment is held in high regard as many people are insecure about their swimsuit body. It probably stung to hear ego cookies were being given out and then not receive one. But that’s no reason to degrade someone.”
Overall, people feel for OP. Redditors think her other colleagues were just insecure and taking it out on OP.
A Redditor said, “They projected their insecurities on you; it is very uncomfortable.”
Is OP’s answer justifiable? What are your thoughts on this situation?
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This post first appeared as Her Colleagues Body-Shamed Her Just Because She’s Child-Free. They Said She “Belittles Parenthood,” but for Her, “Having Kids or Not Doesn’t Equal a Good or Bad Body!” on Quote Ambition.