From celebrity bump watches to maternity collections by major designers, we live in a world where pregnancy is (thankfully!) seen as stylish and sexy. But what happens to your belly once the baby is born?
Exactly how their bodies will “bounce back” (or not) is something women don’t know until they give birth—and the results aren’t always what they think. While pregnancy books will advise moms-to-be not to pack their skinny jeans in their hospital bag, the post-baby belly in its non-Photoshopped form usually stays behind the curtain.
Until now. New Zealand mom and nutritionist Julie Bhosale decided to blog photos of her belly after she gave birth to her second child. The post chronicles her post-baby belly at various intervals, from 24 hours to fourteen weeks postpartum and has since gone globally viral—inspiring new moms everywhere. “I [thought that] because I was fit and healthy, it should be easy [to get my body back]. However, this was not the case. It did take a while!” Bhosale has said about her inspiration to create the photo series.
Bhosale’s blog post also chronicles a newly burgeoning trend of post-baby body acceptance: The 4th Trimester Bodies Project hosts photo shoots of postpartum women to show how bodies change in pregnancy, motherhood, childhood, and breastfeeding; a #takebackpostpartum Instagram trend asks women to share photos of their post baby bodies; and more public figures aren’t afraid to be photographed immediately after birth (think: Kate Middleton, showing that a flat stomach at hospital discharge is impossible—even for royalty).
Personally, I’m glad there’s more emphasis on what a post baby body looks like—and wish Bhosale’s blog post had been up in the weeks prior to my giving birth. Even though I left the hospital at five pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, I was amazed at how I still looked five months pregnant after I left the hospital. Even now, three months after birth, I can squeeze into my skinny jeans, but I definitely don’t have the same body as I did prior to giving birth to my daughter, Lucy. Luckily, I have a circle of new-mom friends who are as comfortable comparing notes about stretch marks as they are with infant sleeping tricks, and for that, I’m thankful. And while I’m definitely planning on getting started with a post-baby workout plan now that my daughter is on some semblance of a schedule, my focus is more on building strength and endorphins—and not trying to reach some pinnacle of perfection that may not even exist.
“I hope to empower moms to take time to recover and nourish from the inside out—with both good food and love,” Bhosale has said about her project. Sounds like the perfect plan to us.