Earlier this week Mia Freedman wrote a piece called, ‘Dear women who post photos of their post-baby bodies’. She had a genuine question to ask of the women posting photos of their bodies in the days and weeks after giving birth: why?
And while Mia did not name any of the women in her post as she was addressing a phenomenon, not an individual, Lauren Brant has since identified herself as one of the women who appeared in the story. Here, Lauren answers Mia’s question:
I have read your post and appreciate that you chose not to use names, however you have used my image and although I can’t compete with your journalism skills, I do have a strong opinion which I believe is important for you to read in response to your statements.
Throughout my pregnancy I was told that a good diet and exercise is good for the baby, good for a healthy delivery, better for me as a mother to recover and also to prevent or better deal with post natal depression.
I was so sick at the start of my pregnancy, then had some very un-motivating hormonal emotions. But I remembered the first fact and forced myself to do at least a little exercise everyday and eat well.
Trust me, I was happy to just be pregnant, eat for two and sit on the couch and have other people do things for me. That would have been much easier. But I kept reminding myself that it would be better for me and bub in the long term. What would happen in nine months when I couldn't use pregnancy as an excuse anymore?!
You know how frustrating it can be for a person, not pregnant, to exercise and watch what they eat regularly and not see results? Well I found it extremely frustrating actually putting on weight (in other areas than my tummy) and getting more tired and more uncomfortable.
This was my first pregnancy and I didn't know what to expect. I loved my baby from the moment he was conceived, but it was a huge time of learning for me. I happily handed over my body to create the miracle that is our son, but I myself looked to other women's post natal photos to remind me that I would feel myself again after birth and that the exercise and healthy diet would pay off in the end.
Listen: Mia Freedman discusses why women should stop with the post-baby body bikini shots on Mamamia Out Loud (post continues after audio...)
It proved to be the best thing for me! I went for a big walk the night before I went into labour, the labour was fairly short for a first time, then after only 12 mins of pushing, a healthy delivery and being up walking an hour after, I realised the exercise and healthy lifestyle, the struggle to keep motivated and the reminders that I would feel myself again were ALL worth it.
It was a huge surprise to me, that after only a week, I felt ownership of my body again. I had a spring in my step. I was able to create and birth a life and then find immense respect and love for myself at the end.
My exercise was so precautionary and my diet was all in the best interest of my son, yes I rested and treated myself when I needed, because that is very important too.
So, the reason I posted a pic of my body one WEEK post partum (and chose to put it only on my story for those mums who have actively followed my pregnancy), is so that other women who are trying to exercise and eat healthy throughout their pregnancy, but are feeling un-motivated, can see that it's worth it in the end.
Getting my EASTER Monday workout done! It has been a very interesting ride, having to find exercise that works for me through each stage of my pregnancy. I have found some light aerobic step work to be the flavour of this month...it's gives me a little cardio and some toning through my legs and butt! Then I finish off with some very light, high rep arm work.... ok ok I just dance while holding dumbells ???????? . . . . . #fitpregnancy #pregnancyworkout #pregnantfitness #pregnanthealth #pregnanatinspo #pregnantgym #pregnancyinspo #pregnantbelly #pregnancy #pregnantlife #pregnantstyle #fitandpregnant #stepwork #pregnantexercise #36weeks #36weekspregnant #8months #8monthspregnant
It's so important for us as mums to love ourselves, so we can fully be there for our children. That is my golden rule with all forms of relationships. Look after myself to be able to give 100%. Also, no one should have a problem with me being proud?
I am torn, I am stitched, I did haemorrhoid, I do go through four maternity pads a day, I'm exhausted, my boobs are so sore and I cry when I pee and sneeze. BUT I am proud of every bit!
So while it may look like I didn't experience what other women did and therefore don't understand, I am the same woman as they/you are.
I choose to promote the positive aspect as much as possible and not complain.
That's all I ever do on my social media. So if I get judged for that, the truth is that I have a handle with which I choose to help people see the beauty in everything and leave the complaining to others. I don't like lingering in negativity and don't practise it myself and I certainly don't follow people who take that approach. Yes I express some concerns too sometimes, but this is to start a conversation where all followers and I gain something.
Finally, I have to make a comment about the fact stated that I was using my baby as a prop - to me showing off my body.
I have chosen to have my child in my presence because he is my life but I have also made a very conscious decision NOT to show his face or post a million pics of him because he is too innocent and pure for what can be a nasty world of social media. I am big and ugly enough to deal with comments of all kinds and stories like the this very one, where I am completely judged. Because I choose to put myself out there.
But I am not putting my son out there for the world to do the same to, when is one WEEK old. He can do that when he understands.
I have to make it clear that I support and encourage other women and the last thing I would ever do is make another women feel bad about herself. If someone feels like any of my posts 'punch' them, I believe this is a mindset they have chosen. To feel offended/defeated rather than motivated. Or to judge rather then cheer. It's much easier complaining, judging and making excuses.
I felt so empowered as a pregnant woman, creating a life inside me. Amazed that my body knew exactly what to do, every step of the way. Throughout my whole pregnancy I wondered what my birth journey would be? I had no plan, just to let things naturally occur, I was excited to experience it but underlying it all was a fear that something might go wrong. That fear could not have been managed better when the journey begun, by my obstetrician and the staff at Pindara hospital. There are some things you just can never be grateful enough for and this is one of them for me. Although I was going through immense pain and the fear of the unknown, I felt supported, comforted and most importantly, that my baby and I were in safe hands from the second we called Pindara to let them know we were coming in to the time we checked out. Those first few days were the most magical time of my life and it would not have felt so special if it wasn't for the incredible staffing and care Barry, Miller and I all experienced. Thank you @pindaraprivatematernity for the work you do every day in your maternity ward, to make women like me feel so special x Jewellery: @grace_bijoux ????: @lukemarsdenphoto . . . . . #pindara #maternityward #goldcoasthospital #privatehospital #pindaraprivate #birthjourney #postpartum #givingbirth #millerhall #barryhall #family #38weekspregnant #38weeks #maternityshoot #pregnancyshoot #pregnantlife
It's hard to have self love and see positive. I negotiate between the two sometimes, because I am human. But I work hard to practise healthy mindset, so I don't have to rely on anyone else, alcohol, drug, food or any other distraction to make me feel better. When I choose to indulge it's a choice not a prescription.
I will never please everyone and that is not my aim. I simply share and have conversation with those who want to. I appreciate that a lot of people aren't on the same journey as I am and I completely respect them for their life choices. We don't have to agree on anything, but we certainly don't have the right to judge each other.
I read your post and respect your opinion and ask that you do the same to mine, whether you understand/agree with it or not.
Do you agree with Lauren, should women feel proud to post post-baby bikini images on social media?