A mum-of-three has shared a revealing snap of her body just hours after giving birth to show what a post-birth body really looks like.
Elise Raquel, from Australia, posted the picture of herself on Instagram earlier this year in a bid to show her 30K followers what a woman body looks like after going through a pregnancy, then giving birth.
“Let’s talk postpartum bodies!” she wrote in the accompanying caption. “I asked @belleverdiglionephotography to take this photo, just hours after giving birth to Willa, in my rawest and most vulnerable state.”
“I was in pain and I was overcome by a flood of emotions. Elated to have welcomed our beautiful girl and so empowered and proud of what my body and I had just done! 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,” she continued.
“With my first I was adamant I would just “bounce back”. Everyone would say “you’re young, you’ll loose the baby weight in no time!” But you know what, I didn’t, I never have in fact. ‘With each baby I’ve gained a few more kilos and a few more stretch marks.”
Let's talk postpartum bodies! I asked @belleverdiglionephotography to take this photo, just hours after giving birth to Willa, in my rawest and most vulnerable state. I was in pain and I was overcome by a flood of emotions. Elated to have welcomed our beautiful girl and so empowered and proud of what my body and I had just done! 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. With my first I was adamant I would just "bounce back". Everyone would say "you're young, you'll loose the baby weight in no time!" But you know what, I didn't, I never have in fact. With each baby I've gained a few more kilos and a few more stretch marks. I used to feel the need to cover up in this newborn stage, I didn't want to see my body in this state, so why would anyone else? 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!
A post shared by Formerly eliseraquel (@raisingyoungloves) on Jul 14, 2017 at 3:12am PDT
Elise went on to say that she used to want to hide her post-birth body, but after having her third baby she had a revelation that her new body was something to celebrate.
“I’ve finally realised this postpartum body isn’t something to hide! I am beyond proud for what this body has given and sacrificed. 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 [be]!”
She finished her empowering post by encouraging other new mums to embrace their own post-baby bodies.
“Let’s celebrate postpartum bodies, in all their glory,” she said. “The female body is incredible and I am so proud of what mine has done! Remember that. A post-baby body is not failing because it doesn’t look just like it did before pregnancy. It’s done something truly amazing, and that’s worth celebrating.”
My post labour photo has been shared a few times on the internet this past week. And although I received a huge amount of support and had so many mothers share their own postpartum stories, I also saw many people question my decision to share such a personal photo publicly on the internet. So I thought I'd explain why. When I was pregnant with Peyton I really had no idea what post birth was really like, and you don't fully understand until you actually have a baby! I was one of the first of my friends to get pregnant, so I didn't have that support group to ask all those TMI questions about pregnancy and birth. My doctor was more concerned about setting a medically unnecessary induction date rather than explaining to me what post birth would be like! No one told me the reality of the fourth trimester. I had no idea you could still look so pregnant even after giving birth. Everyone told me I was young, I would bounce straight back, and I believed them. Just like many women do, I too used to look up to the media, celebrities who would show off their supermodel like post baby bodies just weeks after giving birth! I thought thats how it would be for me too. So when I went home from hospital four days after giving birth, still looking six months pregnant, I thought I must have done something wrong. How come I didn't look like they did post baby? How come I didn't bounce back straight away like everyone said I would? How come it took me a year to fit back into my pre baby jeans? Well, because for many women, and for me, this post baby picture that was painted in my head just wasn't realistic! 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. That whatever their postpartum journey may be, it's ok, it's normal and it should always be priaised! I did it for me, for you and for her!
A post shared by Formerly eliseraquel (@raisingyoungloves) on Oct 1, 2017 at 7:29pm PDT
Unsurprisingly Instagram users were quick to flood the post with messages, thanking Raquel for being so upfront and honest.
“I wish I’d seen an image like this with my first baby..I felt like I was the only one with marks and saggy bits,” one woman wrote.
“How inspirational, love this photo, totally took me back to my days and feeling somewhat the same post bubba,” another added.
Elise isn’t the only new mum who wants to encourage other women to appreciate their post-baby bodies.
Fitness model Chontel Duncan has just given birth to her second child, and has just taken to Instagram to share a photo of her post-pregnancy body.
Chontel continued to work out until days before she gave birth and the full-length image she posted revealed her bump has given way to reveal a toned and taut stomach.
Now before anyone jumps down my throat saying anything negative think before you type everyone is unique and different in their own special way. There is no "one" journey or one way, this is my "normal". No one is forced to follow my account/s, I openly share my life for all who appreciate it, that includes the highs and the lows. I am only one person, so therefore I cannot possible relate to everyone's experience. If your instant response isn't positive I challenge you to see beyond your negativity and find the kindness within. I was blessed to conceive, blessed to experience no sickness, I did experience discomfort & tiredness, but overall I had a very enjoyable pregnancy. Could not be more grateful ☺️ I grew a full term 8 pound baby, delivering through c-section on the 20th Sept which is when that bump photo was taken. A week later I took my first "post pregnancy" progression photo. (As shown above) In a weeks time I start my very own 8 week transformation program @hiit_australia for the first few weeks it will be all about the nutrition plan. When I am given the all clear I will incorporate light walking and eventually be able to go back to training. I plan to keep you all up to date as I find my new routine as a mummy of 2 beautiful blessings.
A post shared by SNAP CHAT chontelduncan (@chontelduncan) on Sep 29, 2017 at 3:30pm PDT
But Chontel isn’t sharing the image to make other new mums feel bad about their own post-baby bodies, but to highlight the fact that everyone has their own “normal.”
“Now before anyone jumps down my throat saying anything negative, think before you type,” she wrote in the accompanying caption. “Everyone is unique and different in their own special way. There is no “one” journey or one way, this is my “normal”…I am only one person, so therefore I cannot possibly relate to everyone’s experience.”
Chontel goes onto say that she was thankful that she had a very enjoyable pregnancy with no morning sickness and that she is planning on beginning her 8 week transformation programme once she is given the all clear to do so by doctors following her c-section.
“I plan to keep you all up to date as I find my new routine as a mummy of 2 beautiful blessings,” she finished.
Though both women’s post-birth photos are undoubtedly different and represent two very different body shapes, the message both women are trying to get across is the same.
Whether your body develops stretchmarks that no amount of Bio Oil is going to shift or you’re lucky enough to see your abs making a reappearance one week postpartum, every woman’s post-baby body is different. But ALL should be celebrated! (It did grow a mini human after all.)
And while it’s ok to be a little unsure about your post-baby body, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
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