Postpartum bodies are something of a secret, previously kept hidden under layers of comfortable clothes.
It wasn’t an issue that achieved much airtime, and certainly wasn’t something that most people were interested in.
In fact, the only media representations of postpartum bodies were the awe-inspiring magazine articles about celebrity mamas showing off their perfectly toned abs mere weeks after having babies. She’s lost the baby weight, doesn’t she look great!
Well, yes, she does, but not many people look like that so soon after having a baby.
What The Media Showed Us
Realistic representations of postpartum bodies just didn’t exist in the media. When the only example of postpartum bodies were flawless celebrity images in glossy magazines, it’s no wonder women ended up feeling pretty crappy about how they looked.
With a newborn baby at home, you’re likely to have a saggy tummy, a stretched out belly button and an impressive array of stretch marks snaking across your skin. And while that’s normal, not many women are aware of that.
Thanks To Social Media We're Seeing The Truth
Thankfully, due to the rise of blogs and social media, this is now changing. Women are opening up and sharing the truth about their postpartum bodies.
The internet is being flooded with beautiful and inspiring images of new mamas rocking their postpartum bodies.
There have been a number of photography projects highlighting the beauty of postpartum bodies, and now this issue has gone viral.
Julie Bhosale – The Blogger Showing True Postpartum Beauty
Julie Bhosale, a blogger from New Zealand, shared some photographs of her postpartum body on her blog and the post went viral. As a nutritionalist, Julie is only too aware of how many people are more concerned with how they look than how they feel.
She wanted to show people what a postpartum body really looks like. She shared photographs of her tummy after the birth of her second son. The photographs were taken 24 hours, two days, one week, two weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks after the birth. The resulting blog post captures the transformation of her body in the weeks after the birth.
The images of Julie also feature her baby son. It’s a great reminder that her body has changed for a reason. Why are women’s bodies judged so harshly based simply on how they look and not what they have achieved. On her blog, Julie says:
“You live in a society that pushes images at you every day of women who have given birth and just “bounced back” – great for them (truly, that is great, Kate Middleton you are amazing!). But this is such a small minority. For most of us, our bodies change, and change a lot. It is scary, it is hard, it can be down right disgusting and upsetting but it is real and normal. Although I am a qualified health professional I am also a mother and my body has also not just ‘bounced back’. We are starting to see a shift in the media and online with more women sharing the often hidden and unspoken realities of childbirth and the effect on your bodies. So I have joined in the movement. Here is my #takebackpostpartum body blog. My real body after two children.”
‘You Are Beautiful, You Are Amazing, You Are A Mother'
The words ‘you are beautiful, you are amazing, you are a mother'’ are repeated throughout the post. That’s a great mantra for any new mama who is struggling to love her postpartum body.
Your body may be different now, it may not look exactly like it did before, but it is still beautiful. Julie asks her readers to focus on how they feel rather than how they look, an important message for new mamas who maybe need a little TLC.
The post quickly went viral, accumulating over 75,000 likes on Facebook. The post was even shared by Ashton Kutcher who said it was time to celebrate reality. It’s not hard to see why. Finally, someone was talking openly about postpartum bodies and what to expect. Mothers across the world commented with messages of love and support. Some even started joining in with the campaign. A quick search on Instagram will reveal thousands of images of proud women showing off their postpartum bodies under the hashtag #takebackpostpartum.
There are plenty of reasons to celebrate your body now that you’re a mother. Here are just five of them.