For any woman who goes through a pregnancy, accepting a postpartum body can be a struggle. But that struggle has been magnified for Jessica McCoy, who made the difficult decision to abort her daughter after six months of pregnancy because the baby had fetal abnormalities.
The Missouri-based executive assistant, 27, shared a photo of her postpartum body as well as a heartfelt post about her body acceptance issues following the loss of her child on Instagram earlier this month.
“I am not okay with my body,” she posted. “I think I would’ve been okay if Evie was here, although she would’ve likely still been cooking inside me. The fact that I am bigger than I normally am and don’t have my baby makes it harder.”
“I dealt with a postpartum body after [my first child] Brennan,” she continued. “And I was uncomfortable in my larger body, but it grew my beautiful little man, and how could I be upset with it when I looked at him? Every day I get clothes on and they’re tight. And every day I’m reminded that I grew my baby for six months and she died. It really is a constant reminder to me.”
McCoy shared that she is having trouble maintaining a body positive outlook.
“It’s too hard and it hurts too much […] looking in the mirror at my uncovered body hurts,” she wrote.
McCoy decided to share her personal struggles with her postpartum body after the loss of her baby, because it’s something that’s rarely talked about.
“I’ve never seen anyone post about their feelings toward their body after pregnancy loss,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’ve seen so many body positive posts by women celebrating their body because it grew their beautiful child, and I fully support that, but at this time, I don’t feel that. I feel anger toward my body. I feel like I can’t trust it. I feel broken. And every time I look in the mirror or put clothes on, it’s a reminder that my sweet girl is gone.”
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She hopes her post will help women who have had to deal with similar experiences.
“I wanted to share my experience in case any other women feel the same way so that they won’t feel so alone,” says McCoy. “I know it has worked because I’ve had literally hundreds of comments and messages from women thanking me for sharing and letting me know my story helped them to want to share their experiences, so that people they know can be helped as well.”
Her post has now been shared by many women and has been able to reach beyond just her Instagram followers.
“When I shared my post on Instagram, I never expected it to go beyond that,” says McCoy. “It’s been a very healing journey, knowing that I’m helping other mothers.”
While McCoy has received a lot of positive feedback, she says she has received a lot of hate as well.
“Of course, with the nature of my loss, I have received some very hateful comments from those in the pro-life group, which is sad, because you’d think that people who are ‘pro-life’ would be kind because they’re often religious,” she says. “Some have even posted that they wish that I was dead (the irony here is not lost on me), but they really don’t bother me because I know my decision was 100 percent made with love for my daughter and never wanting her to suffer.”
McCoy hopes her post can help other women through their own healing processes.
“Many women experience body image issues on a regular basis,” she says. “When those body image issues are coupled with pregnancy loss, it makes the experience that much more painful. It is a constant reminder of what could have been and it is hard to deal with having a different body and no baby to show for it. And hardly anyone is talking about it. I want to help with starting the conversation because it helps to know that others are out there, feeling the same way as you.”