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Model is slammed for postpartum bikini photo

Lisa Fogarty

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Lisa Fogarty

Lisa Fogarty has written numerous articles for USA Today, The Stir, Opposing Views and other publications. She has covered everything from red carpet events to the discovery of toxic PCBs on school windows. She lives on Long Island, N.Y....

Same old story: Woman looks hot after giving birth and the claws come out

New moms can't win. If we don't shed the baby weight fast enough, we're branded lazy and unhealthy. If we work hard for the return of our strong abs and, god forbid, proudly post a photo on social media of our postpartum bodies, we're labeled vain or worse.

One mom, who just so happens to be a model from Australia, received a slew of mean-spirited comments from other women, who seem to resent the fact that she has a rock-hard body just four weeks after giving birth.

Erin McNaught, 32, shared this photo of herself in a bikini on Instagram last Friday, with the caption, "4 weeks [post part] and I'm starting to get my stomach back! Aside from lots of walking and eating healthily, I've been doing loads of pelvic floor and transverse abdominus exercises. Still no traditional ab work though which is driving me crazy! #bodyafterbaby"

Most of the comments Erin received were positive, with women citing her as an inspiration for getting her shape back so rapidly. Maybe we should only focus on the positive comments, because the negative ones are downright nasty.

One commenter named Shonyasingh wrote that her photo was "Unrealistic." Another, Smashhappiness, lived up to her name and asked, "Did she have a surrogate?" And, perhaps the meanest one of all, posted by gclovin: "We have to stay relevant in the media somehow I guess don't we? Goodness knows you don't do that just being a mother."

That's true. You also rarely get press attention just being an actor who hasn't starred in a great film or a police officer who hasn't saved a child's life — what, exactly, is the point of that statement?

To be fair, the commenters don't deserve to be slammed any more than Erin deserved their harsh criticism. They are just three of many, many women (I'm guessing they are female) who have been taught to dislike their bodies and feel threatened by other women who appear to have so-called "ideal" figures.

And, boy, do the gloves seem to come off even faster when we're talking about women who have just had babies. Instead of protecting new mothers, many of whom are living through a glorious, but incredibly vulnerable and frightening stage of life, we consider them easy targets and don't think twice before shoot, shoot, shooting away.

In a perfect world, we'd either praise Erin and derive inspiration from her healthy example, or be able to say, hey, that's great for her, but I'd rather do about a million other things (like sleep) during the first few months of my child's life. But more power to her.

This woman worked hard for her body. Every time her baby takes a nap, she probably makes that difficult choice to exercise rather than pass out on the couch. She isn't pretending her abs are a result of fairy dust and genetics — she's being real with women about what it took to get herself in fighting shape so soon after birth.

Spreading negative messages about another woman is never going to make us thinner or, more importantly, happier.

More about body image

Why you shouldn't compare your body to others' bodies
8 Thoughts I have after reading a fat-shaming headline
Secrets to having a positive body image

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