The Untold Housewife Chronicles: The Circus Mirror

Melody Payne
5 min readJul 15, 2022

Becoming a mother there were many things I looked forward to. One thing I dreaded however were the changes my body was about to endure. Your whole life you hear horror stories of sneezing and accidentally wetting your pants. You hear stories about how horrible labor and delivery was going to be. You hear the stories about how next to impossible it is to tie your own shoes once your belly begins to grow. I can tell you that most of these are true. Tying your shoes becomes a feat, your bladder becomes almost nonexistent, and while going through the actual physical part of labor is not near the top of my list, for me and most women it is not that bad. The one thing I was not expecting though was the sudden outlook of myself to be different. I was always confident. I loved the skin I was in I thought that I was attractive. However, after having Ryder and seeing how much my body changed, I did not know who I was looking at in the mirror anymore. Suddenly the mirror I looked in every single day became more of a circus mirror my view of myself became distorted, unreal. While my husband was still telling me that he thought I was beautiful and that he thought I was attractive I did not feel that I was attractive.

Image courtesy of Giorgio Trovato

Now most of you reading this now will go oh sis you had postpartum depression that’s pretty normal for any woman. I will tell you what was not helpful for me postpartum depression or not, were the opinions of other people.

Before I became pregnant with my son, I was a size 3 so basically, I was tiny. After I had my son, I went from a size 3 to a size 8 to a size 10 to a size 12. I was depressed at how big I had gotten. What many people did not know though is that while I looked extremely healthy on the outside before I had my son, that size three was not my healthy weight. What many people did not know is that before we got pregnant with my Ryder, we had suffered a miscarriage. What many people did not know is that my stomach was a hot mess from unresolved trauma that I experienced as a child. That my GI tract was no longer absorbing nutrients and shoving most of the nutrients I took into my kidneys. Therefore, I had the miscarriage. Therefore, I was so tiny because I was starving. My healthy weight for my size and stature was anywhere from 140 to 145 which would put me in a size 10. Now that I had my son, I was already really struggling with the fact that I was bigger. Even though I knew I was healthier than I was before I was not as small as I was before. I was struggling with the fact that I knew people would look at me differently because I was not as small as I once was.

Photo courtesy of Kat Smith

This is the part of having a baby that no one tells you about this sudden low confidence, this sudden desire to not look at yourself in the mirror anymore. Then came the opinions of other people. People would tell me about how after they had their child, they would fit into the bikinis they wore before they had their children. People would ask me when you think your hips will go back to where they were before, or they would make comments about how big my hips had gotten. People on a consistent basis would say how I was not as small as I once was.

Now I do not know about you guys but the way that my mother raised me there were two things that you never brought up to people one of those happens to be their weight. Here is the thing, whether we realize it or not and whether we think we are helping someone out they get to look at themselves in the mirror every day. The unfortunate truth is that most women that just have babies already are feeling down about how they look. They are already struggling with trying to figure out this new identity with this little baby attached to their hip. They do not need any help pointing out the flaws that they know are already there. Whatever happened to women empowering each other? Whatever happened to women lifting each other up? Whatever happened to women understanding the shoes that another woman is standing in?

While you may be able to have still fit in the bikini you wore before you had a baby it does not mean that we all are going to be able to do that. Whether you were able to get back down to size 6 jeans you used to rock back in the day before you had a baby, it does not mean that we are all going to be able to do that. Now do not get me wrong I am not advocating for people to not care about their looks or for people to not care about their health or their weight. What I am advocating for is that not everyone’s healthy weight is what your healthy weight is. What I am saying is that all our bodies are different and where one woman may be a healthy size 12 and that is what her body stature says is healthy for her. It means that another woman may be healthy at a size 3, but as the old saying goes one size does not fit all.

Photo courtesy of Szabolcs Toth

Please understand that after a woman has a baby, she is going through so many emotional up swings. Her hormones are trying to regulate she is trying to figure out how to take care of this new crying little human that is in her life. The last thing she needs is for anyone to point out that her physical appearance is much different than it used to be. The new moms need people to surround them, to love them, to tell them that they are beautiful, and to help them through this new change in their life.

We must remember that where we may think that we are being helpful, that every day that woman must wake up and look in a mirror that is distorted that looks like a circus mirror. Instead of helping her realize her worst fears why not help her fix the distorted reflection in her mirror and help her see how beautiful she still is.



Melody Payne

I am a homeschool Mom living in the Lowcountry of SC. I like to help & encourage others through my experiences.