These Before & After Postpartum Pics Are So Inspiring

New moms face a lot of pressure. They’re encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for six months, feel pressured to return to to physical and sexual activity after six weeks, and many return to work in 60 days (or less, because maternal care in America sucks). They are also expected to thin down, tone up and “bounce back” immediately. And while there is so much wrong with this mentality — so, so much — Katrina Scott wants new moms to know their postpartum body is beautiful, no matter what.

The BlogHer alum and co-creator of Tone It Up recently shared two postpartum pictures on Instagram in the hopes of breaking down this BS belief.

“Instead of posting a pic at 9 months pregnant, I chose a pic at 3 months postpartum because 3 months is where everyone kept telling me I’d be ‘back’ to where I was. I’d have the fitness SnapBack [but] that wasn’t my journey,” Scott wrote. “I was not disappointed… nor was I sad that I didn’t live up to the expectation a lot of people had on me. In fact, I was the opposite — I was happy, proud & body positive. And my mind was healthy… I mean, I made it through the 4th trimester.” But “imagine if I was hard on myself, ate my emotions, hated the body that gave me a beautiful daughter, or if I tried to live up to what I thought everyone expected of me,” Scott continued. “I don’t think I would be where I am today.”

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officially 9 months postpartum 💛 instead of posting a pic at 9 months pregnant, I chose a pic at 3 months postpartum because 3 months is where everyone kept telling me I’d be “back” to where I was. I’d have the fitness SnapBack. That wasn’t my journey. On the left, I was not disappointed… nor was I sad that I didn’t live up to the expectation a lot of people had on me. In fact, I was the opposite— I was happy, proud & body positive. And my mind was healthy… I mean, I made it through the 4th trimester! Woohoo🤣🙌 On the right, I’m equally happy, proud & body positive. I feel healthy & strong for my daughter. I truly believe that giving yourself patience, grace, & kindness each day leads to progress & strength. Imagine if I was hard on myself, ate my emotions, hated the body that gave me a beautiful daughter, or if I tried to live up to what I thought everyone expected of me? I don’t think I would be where I am today. It would have led to me feeling like I failed myself & everyone who followed me. It would have led to self-sabotage & maybe I’d be stuck bc I wouldn’t think I deserved self-love. So what matters most? The way we speak to ourselves. I want u to know that ur postpartum body is remarkable. For me, I appreciate my tiger marks, my dimples that stayed on my booty cheeks, my tummy that expands more than ever when I eat, & the new skin I’m in. I also love that I can do yoga, I can do our @ToneItUp postnatal workouts & I can carry Bella around for 12 hours a day! Everyone’s journey looks different & every mom has her own unique path~ so let’s not compare our chapter 1 or 3 to someone else’s chapter 30. If ur feeling down or defeated, I want u to know it’s ok. Start with this 1 thing—kindness. Everything u say to ur body is important bc it’s listening. And someday, that baby of yours will hear u too. Do it for her (or him!). So start now. Start with “I am beautiful. I am capable. I am worthy of my goals & dreams. I am exactly where I need to be today. I can do this. I am loved. And I am so grateful for this body, my beating heart & my beautiful mind.” Every decision u make, make it with self-love and because you deserve it. Love u girls. Xx #TIUmom

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And she’s right. If Scott let the shamers and the societal pressures get to her, she wouldn’t — truly couldn’t — be as proud and strong about her postpartum body as she is. How do I know? Because I’ve been there. I’m a writer, a runner, and a mother who has placed ridiculous amounts of pressure on my postpartum body to look like what pop culture tells us is “normal” — to “bounce back.” And you know what? My mental and physical health have suffered.

In fact, I’m five months postpartum, and still struggling to get by and feel good about myself.

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Have you ever fallen victim to Instagram envy? You see someone’s “perfect” family pics online and wish your kids were that loving. Your husband was that doting, or you were that cheerful. . You wish you were that happy. . You see snaps from concerts, fireworks displays, Paris and Disney and wish you were there. Why can’t you be there? . And you see influencers sharing shots showcasing their clear skin, thin thighs and flat tummy. They all have bedroom eyes and that perfect pout. Oh, and let’s not forget their big breasts and perky chest: the ultimate symbol of femininity. . But what if I told you it was all a farce? A facade? What if I told you everything you see online is lie? . Well come in close, friends, because I have something to say: it’s all bullshit. . All. Of. It. . Case in point? These pictures. . You see, what looks like a before and after photos is actually two snapshots: two snapshots taken 30 SECONDS APART. . I didn’t go down a dress size, shave inches off my thighs or lose weight. Not even an ounce. Instead, I posed differently. I stood taller. I held my head higher, and I sucked in. . A lot. . So if you find yourself feeling down while scrolling through your news feed remember: social media is not real life. It is angles, filters, lighting and curated images. So be kind to yourself. Love yourself, and forgive yourself. . Your body is beautiful. . Your life is beautiful. . You are beautiful. . #body #bodyimage #bodylove #selflove #nofilter #unfiltered #stomachtattoo #tattoos #babesofinstagram

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So what can new moms do? According to Scott, it’s imperative we respect, appreciate and honor our bodies today. In this very moment. “I want u to know that ur postpartum body is remarkable… I appreciate my tiger marks, my dimples that stayed on my booty cheeks, my tummy that expands more than ever when I eat, & the new skin I’m in. I also love that I can do yoga, I can do our @ToneItUp postnatal workouts & I can carry Bella around for 12 hours a day!”

And while everyone’s journey will look different, our paths don’t matter. What matters is that we stay the course. “Let’s not compare our chapter 1 or 3 to someone else’s chapter 30,” Scott wrote. “If ur feeling down or defeated, I want u to know it’s ok. Start with this 1 thing — kindness. Everything u say to ur body is important bc it’s listening. And someday, that baby of yours will hear u too. Do it for her (or him!). So start now. Start with ‘I am beautiful. I am capable. I am worthy of my goals & dreams. I am exactly where I need to be today. I can do this. I am loved. And I am so grateful for this body, my beating heart & my beautiful mind.'”

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