If there’s one thing that popular media these days has given women a warped view of, it’s pregnancy and the many ways it affects our bodies, even after the baby is born. But one woman is on a mission to change that.
Pregnancy makes our bellies bigger — this much we know. Unfortunately, thanks to the never-ending stream of perfectly toned pregnant moms flooding our news feeds, that may be all we know. On a basic level, we all realize that pictures aren’t necessarily reality and that even if they are, most of us won’t be like the fitness model or Victoria’s Secret angel who snaps back into pre-pregnancy shape two seconds after the baby pops out. But that can be hard to remember when we only see the “perfect” post-baby pics, especially if we are one of the new mommies ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, I still adore Chrissy Teigen, and baby Luna couldn’t be cuter, but that pic she posted of her cooking eggs in a crop top with a washboard stomach mere days after giving birth? Not normal — not in the slightest.
I remember looking nearly as pregnant when I left the hospital as I did when I went in. True story: I went to the store with my 2-week-old infant, and just as I was being all proud of myself for getting out of the house, the cashier asked, “Oh, when is your baby due?” I nearly sobbed as I pointed to the baby in the cart and said, “This baby?” No one would have made that mistake with Chrissy! Of course, that’s why she’s a model and I’m not.
But one celeb who gets the struggle is Catherine Giudici, the lucky lady who married Sean Lowe on The Bachelor. Taking a page from Kate Middleton’s princess playbook, the 30-year-old first-time mom recently Instagrammed a snap of her one-week postpartum belly looking every bit like a postpartum belly — as in, she still kinda looked pregnant.
It shouldn’t be a revolutionary act, and yet, allowing herself to be seen looking less than perfect showcased how perfectly beautiful she (and all other new moms) really is. Ultimately I feel it’s disheartening and dehumanizing to make pregnancy a competition about how not-pregnant we can look and how quickly we can “get our figure back” afterward. I’m not shaming anyone who has flat abs immediately after giving birth, but there should also be no shame in looking like you gave birth. And your figure didn’t go anywhere! It’s still yours, even if it’s a little softer and rounder!
The more women show the beauty of the the post-pregnancy period — aka the “fourth trimester” — the more we can keep the focus on where it should be: on the health and happiness of our babies and their beautiful mothers.