We don’t often see photographs of real women’s bodies in the media – especially not post-pregnancy.
Magazines, newspapers and television breaks are filled with photoshopped images of so-called ‘perfect’ bodies.
When we see so few realistic representations of women’s bodies, it’s hardly surprising new mothers don’t get a look in.
Media portrayals of new mothers are unrealistic. They feature either ‘bounce back’ celebrity success stories, or adverts with a suspiciously skinny, bright-eyed, glossy-haired mother cuddling her perfectly clean baby.
For new mothers, who sit at home, trapped under a sleeping baby, this lack of genuine role models to turn to can be very isolating.
We all have a desire to fit in, and it can be tough, emotionally, when we look around and realise we don’t fit anywhere.
Our bodies haven’t ‘bounced back’ yet, and our children are pretty much constantly covered in dried pasta sauce (why do adverts never show that?)
We just don’t fit in with those glossy mothers who adorn the magazine stands.
Mama’s Photo Of Belly Just Hours After Birth Goes Viral
Well, fear not, all you real mamas. Thanks to social media, this is set to change.
Now, it’s easier than ever to find women who capture genuine motherhood – the women unafraid to show their stretch marks and get real when it comes to parenting.
And these women aren’t celebrities or experts: they are real mothers, just like you. Thanks to the rise in social media and blogging, real mothers have been given a voice and a platform to share their views.
For one Australian mama, this meant sharing a photo of her now-empty baby bump, just hours after giving birth. Instagrammer Elise Raquel, a mother of three, shared the raw photo of her body taken hours after the birth of her third child, Willa.
Raquel shared the image to her Instagram account where she has over 30,000 followers. The image, which has gone viral, captures her in a bathroom, a hospital band still wrapped around her wrist.
It’s a photo of a peaceful and intimate moment between Raquel and her body, taken as she gathers her thoughts after the birth. Her bump protrudes, and you could be forgiven for assuming she is still pregnant. We so rarely see the reality of postpartum bodies; many of us just assume a bump is a clear indication of pregnancy.
Why Raquel Shared The Photo
Sharing the beautiful image to her Instagram page, Raquel wrote:
“It’s a strange feeling to look down and still see a bump, even though you’re holding your baby in your arms, even after doing it three times. It’s not easy to go home with a baby and still have to wear maternity clothes.
“It’s taken me three babies, but I’ve finally realised this postpartum body isn’t something to hide! I am beyond proud for what this body has given and sacralised. I am thankful that my body is able to carry and birth babies naturally.
“I am NOT ashamed of my (many) new stripes and my postpartum body. And neither should you! Let’s celebrate postpartum bodies, in all their glory. The female body is incredible and I am so proud of what mine has done!”
Her sentiment resonated with women across the globe, and the striking image quickly racked up thousands of likes. It’s not hard to see why; her words are exactly what new mothers need to hear.
Yes, your body might look a little different, and you might not look like the celebrities in the glossy magazines, but you are real. Your body has done something amazing. It deserves to be celebrated and admired accordingly.
When asked why she decided to share something so personal online, Raquel explained:
“There’s so much pressure from society and from ourselves to look a certain way, post baby, but for many that’s not the case, and that’s ok!
“I posted that photo because I wish someone had posted a photo just like mine when I was pregnant. I wish that someone had told me what realistically might happen to my body and to my mind.
“The fourth trimester is such a taboo topic. I want other mums also walking in my shoes to know that they’re not alone”.
For more inspiring postpartum news, check out This Blogger Whose Postpartum Body Went Viral.