I posted this on my Facebook page and I guess you could say it went a little “viral.” Sixty thousand people viewed it and many liked, shared and left encouraging comments. I received messages and emails that moved me to tears. Some bloggers on the internet are used to that kind of attention… I was not! Prior to this post I was averaging about ten people a day on my Facebook page. :)
I’m posting it again in my blog because I would like to immortalize the message instead of having it get lost on my Facebook feed. I wish I could share it with every woman who’s been made to feel ashamed for not having a “rocking body” at nine months postpartum. For the record… I think all your postpartum bodies are rocking! (Think about it… You just grew and birthed another human!)
Here it is…
You can be anyone on the internet. Pop a hip, apply a photo filter, change camera angles and BAM you’ve got a bikini model (well… thats a bit of a stretch but you see what I mean!) The point is… A picture is just a picture.
I want to get very REAL with you. I’m two months postpartum with my third child. The picture on the left is a pretty accurate depiction of what even an active pregnant woman might look like postpartum after three children. I hold health and fitness in high regard. I LOVE being fit and strong and I want to motivate you Mamas to be fit and strong too! But I would never ever use the words “what’s your excuse?” to try and motivate women with young children to get stronger and leaner because of my personal experience having children.
The postpartum period can be a very raw time for women emotionally and physically. Hormones aside (but they also come into play!), we suddenly have these bodies that are unrecognizable and there’s a ton of pressure to “get back into shape.” Many of us are already dealing with body shame issues coming from within and I think we least expect a fellow mother to make us feel further ashamed. It stings the most coming from someone who should have the greatest compassion and understanding. That’s how I feel anyways.
Many women’s bodies change from pregnancy. Mine did, each and every pregnancy has changed my body. I’ll never look how I did pre-children so my journey is to start appreciating my new body for what it’s accomplished and for what it can do! The journey is not just a physical one, it’s emotional too. As a wise woman in my life once said, we have to learn to love our new bodies and love ourselves too. It’s not always a black and white issue of “you do it or you use excuses not to do it.” You need support. You need the time. You need the knowledge. You need the self worth! Many of us don’t have one or all of those. That is why a more positive and encouraging message is needed to help mothers find the body they are comfortable in, whatever that may be!
All I did in my photos was change my body position and apply a few Instagram photo filters. I could have taken this even further and photoshopped my tummy a bit leaner (a postpartum tummy is totally NORMAL post-baby!!!), put on some heavy make-up (face AND body), got a spray tan, and tried a few different camera angles. Pictures can be manipulated to show something completely different! Don’t look up to someone because of the photos they post online. Look up to someone because of the kind of person they are, the things they say, the emotions they show, the struggles they share. Find someone who is relatable and REAL!
Here are a few people I follow online that I’ve found to be honest and inspiring, for whatever message they are spreading:
Go Kaleo (personal trainer, eating disorder expert, weight loss coach)
Marianne Kane (personal trainer, kettlebell queen)
Molly Galbraith (all around awesome woman in fitness)
Jen Sinkler (bad ass, body positive, strong amazing human being)
Pregnancy Exercise (my go-to lady for everything pregnancy and postpartum related)
Natalie Hodson (fit mom keeping it real)
Jade Bealle (postpartum body awareness)
Blonde Ponytail (strength and conditioning coach, awesome fit Mama!)
Julie Wiebe (changing lives and turning heads in women’s health physiotherapy)
Katie Bowman (the queen of movement and biomechanics)