Last Wednesday, mom Kelly Diane Howland was out and about with her newborn baby when she says she was stopped by a woman in Target looking to sell her postpartum weight loss product, It Works!.
Howland told People on Tuesday that while she didn't find the initial interaction to be anything out of the ordinary, being told that her body needed work was hurtful.
"After three kids, I’ve learned it’s pretty normal for lots of strangers to approach you in public when you have your newborn," she says. "They want to see the baby, which I’m perfectly fine with. It wasn’t until after a few questions of small talk about the baby did she pull out her business flyer and ask me if I’d heard of her company before."
"Let's not pretend that approaching me specifically was a coincidence."
"I knew what the company [It Works!] was and what their most famous products were for, and I was disheartened," she adds.
It Works! is "a direct selling company" that produces beauty and wellness products, according to the company's Facebook page. Their best known product is a "body wrap" that claims to offer "tightening, toning, and firming results," for the belly. But whether or not it actually works is up for debate.
The 29-year-old was so taken aback that she shared the odd scenario on Facebook.
"Listen. I'm not upset this company exists," the mom of three wrote. "And I'm not even upset at this woman ... but let's not pretend that approaching me specifically was a coincidence. Because it's not like she ran up to every female at Target to hand out her card."
"We all know that this culture hammers into postpartum women a lot of physical insecurity about their bodies after delivering their miracles from their wombs," she continued. "I don't think I have to spell out for a single woman the cultural pressure that postpartum mothers face regarding their physical appearance."
"My body doesn't need to be wrapped or squeezed or changed. It needs to be valued and revered for the incredible life it just brought into this world."
"If the manifestation and physical evidence of bringing three new souls into our community isn't an image of beauty, then we are desperately missing the mark on what beauty is."
Many of other Facebook users were quick to back Howard up, and shared that they'd also be pretty pissed off if they were approached by a salesperson for the brand.
"You are so much nicer than I am," one woman commented. "I would have GONE OFF on her right there in the Target and probably would have gone to find her some containers of plastic wrap to go sell someone else."
Others left notes of praise for the mama, calling her a "goddess," and thanking her for being an inspiration.
However, some thought Howard was being "too sensitive."
"This is dumb!" one person declared. "I mean the obvious you had a baby and we all want to look better and live better she didn't say anything harmful and just passed on a useful tip when the mother is ready! Hello it's 2017 we all need to be in reality with our current mommy bods and want to make them better and there is no harm by simply sharing an amazing all natural product that can change your life then so be it!"
Another distributor for It Works! also found her way to the post, and suggested that Howard, who also works as a jewelry maker, took the woman's sales pitch out of context.
"In my honest opinion, I don’t think [the saleswoman] meant any harm,” she wrote. "If I was the person who handed you this card and saw this post on the internet, I would truly be hurt ... As a [woman], I would never want another [woman] to think I was thriving off of anything she could be insecure of."
But judging by her Instagram page, the artist doesn't seem to be insecure at all these days. And she's definitely embracing every facet of motherhood and the body that comes along with it.
"A year ago, I wouldn't have shared this photo because of the outline of my two week postpartum belly showing through my dress," she captioned a photo she posted to the 'gram in early April. "But my goodness, if the manifestation and physical evidence of bringing three new souls into our community isn't an image of beauty, then we are desperately missing the mark on what beauty is."
Similarly, Chicago-based yoga instructor Sabrina Ewell shared nude photos of her postpartum body in late March, and detailed her road to accepting the skin she's in.
"I've been on a journey of self-discovery for the last two years, and the universe has lined me up with thoughts, circumstances, and people that have allowed me to connect with my authentic self," Ewell wrote on Instagram. "I no longer look to societal norms to define who the fuck I am. I am unapologetically me in my bikinis as I do handstands on the beach because I'm the shit. Fuck your photoshopped imagery because your bullshit no longer applies to me."
Right on, mamas.
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