This Mom’s Request Made Women – Including Other Moms — Furious

There is no denying the fact that pregnancy and childbirth permanently affect a woman’s body.  Depending on a woman’s body type and fitness level, these changes may hardly be noticeable – or they can be drastic.

Most women go through a period of mentally adjusting to these body changes, perhaps lamenting their pre-pregnancy appearance.  But they often quickly move on, accepting it as part of the territory of motherhood.

One woman, however, recently caused a firestorm of controversy on social media when she made it known that she could not accept her “mom body.”  But the request she made was what really caught people’s attention.

Café Mom reported:

After falling into an incredibly difficult time after having four kids, Esther Houben is ready to make some positive changes. For this mom from Australia, that starts with not only deciding to do something drastic about an area that’s causing her pain, but also admitting that she needs help accomplishing that. In order to start feeling better and put an end to her dark journey, Houben wants a tummy tuck and made the bold decision to ask for friends, family, and strangers to donate to her cause on social media.

Her social media profiles were flooded with comments – and the majority of respondents were either outraged or disgusted.  Millions of moms experience the same feelings as Houben after having children.  We often gain a lot of weight, see changes to our hair, nails, and skin, and have permanent stretch marks.

But most women who experience a drop in their self-esteem due to postpartum body changes either accept it as part of being a mom, or work hard on diet and fitness to help improve the way they feel about themselves.

The overall consensus on Houben’s post was that she should do what she needed to do to make herself feel better physically and mentally.  And many did not judge her desire for a tummy tuck – just the fact that she was asking others to pay for it.

Houben defended her request in response to the criticism over her post from other moms.  Café Mom reported:

“This decision is not only just about vanity it is also a reward for an awful journey over the past few years, not being able to accept myself as a good mum, wife or friend,” she wrote on the campaign’s page. “This is about courage, mental health, acceptance, change, strength and motherhood.”

“My mental health, my body and my lifestyle will benefit from this change. I will exercise more without the fear of my belly popping out the bottom of my shirt. I will feel lighter, I will appear better in the mirror, I will not have lower back issues, I will fit better into clothing without having to tuck the excess skin into my jeans and wear a long shirt to cover it,” she wrote. “This all wears a girl down. So please, give a girl some support to reaching her goal. Help someone who has actually suffered from real life challenges. Help a girl feel better about herself as a whole.” 

Houben’s defensive position did not appear to bring her an increase in support.  Many moms were upset with the post because they have experienced the same issues, but they found healthier and more realistic ways of dealing with their feelings and physical health.

Others commented that the bottom line was Houben’s inability to accept herself after having four children, saying that the solution was seeking help in the form of counseling, not going under the knife on someone else’s dime.

Millions of women struggle with body image, and we are bombarded by media representations of thin, perfect women or Hollywood moms who have bounced back immediately from pregnancy with the help of expensive trainers or crash diets.

These are the types of comments that cause our teenage girls and young women to often sacrifice their health to achieve the perceived image of perfection that we are force-fed by Hollywood and magazine publishers.

Café Mom continued:

For those who think she’s ignoring the problem instead of dealing with it, Houben wants the skeptics to understand her position. “You might say it is not acceptance, because I am not accepting the way I look. Acceptance comes in different ways,” she wrote. “I am accepting the fact that my tummy/body will never be the same again after 4 bubbas. But I don’t want to accept that this is the best I can be. It’s time to create the new me.” 

With so many worse things going on in the world than “looking like a mom,” it is hard to understand how any woman would think this crowdfunding campaign would bring her the desired result – sympathy and money for her surgery.

Café Mom reported on some of the responses to the post.  Although some were understanding and asked for compassion for Houben, most were of a similar nature – one of anger:

“[I] have battled depression and post-natal. I hate the way I look. But hell, I’m gonna fight it with exercise and eating right. A tummy tuck is not the answer to mental illness,” one user wrote. “My question is, how hard has this lady tried.”

“Oh please, really? What, you think you’re the only one who would like to look good and feel better about the way you look?” one woman commented.

“Mother of 4 here too, where’s my tummy tuck,” another mom wrote. “Pretty sure there are many women out there who want one but aren’t going to create a GoFundMe page to get it.”

“Umm get a loan and pay for it yourself,” one person wrote. “You’re not the only person who has had kids and needs surgery … I can’t believe the nerve, so rude.”

And perhaps the most important point made was that there are far more important causes to contribute to than one mom’s feelings of inadequacy with her body — victims of natural disaster, a loved one’s illness leading to massive hospital bills, or issues like homelessness or meeting the basic needs of those living in poverty.

It is hard to believe that any mom would think it is acceptable to ask for financial assistance with an elective procedure, and then be offended when people didn’t understand her perspective.  Comments like Houben’s only show our girls and young women that you cannot be fulfilled unless you look “perfect.”  Instead of identifying the underlying causes of her feelings, Houben is perpetuating the myth that something superficial will fix one’s problems.

What do you think of this mom’s outrageous request?  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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