Em Rusciano responds to THAT post-baby bikini photo.

Yesterday I saw a photo shoot that I had several reactions to at one time. It wasn’t just any photo shoot, it was a “post-baby bikini photo shoot”.


I’m pretty confident those words have no business being used together.

As I clicked on the photos I was amazed to find not one single decorative kaftan slash muu muu in sight. Just a woman looking hot in a bikini, with her small infant daughter draped across her rock hard abs.

Here is the kicker, the mother in the shot had only squeezed her kid out a month earlier.

I’ll let that sink in, while you take a look at the photo in question:

The mother in the picture is model, TV presenter and all around lovely girl Rachel Finch. Here are the immediate thoughts and emotions that ran through my head upon viewing the photos:

“Look at that stomach, only a month ago? Are you shitting me”?

“I like those bathers”

“I wonder if her breast milk would leak through that bikini top”?

“God, well played lady”.

“This is going to put some people out”.

“If I had just had a baby and saw this photo, I would feel crap.”

“That isn’t Rachel’s fault though.”

“Still, was wearing a bikini strictly necessary?”

“I guess if I looked like that…”

“Ugh the media is so obsessed with this. Stupid media.”

“Wait, I’m the media. I’m also someone who couldn’t click on the link to see the photo fast enough. I’m so torn”.

Em Rusciano

Needless to say, my post baby body experience was a little different to Finchy’s! Ya feel me ladies, post baby body – am I right? Can I get a woot woot!

Can I get a massive nipples that resemble fighter pilots thumbs, stretch marks under your chin and skin tags in unspeakable places! HOT.

Unlike Rachel I was still in my maternity jeans a month after having my first baby.

That was due to the fact I really gave the whole ‘eating for two’ thing a red hot crack.

I managed to put 35kg onto my 55kg frame during the gestational period. YOLO.

I had a wedding to attend five weeks post birth and I had stupidly purchased a “goal dress” mid pregnancy.

I thought I would for sure be back to a size 8 by the time the wedding rolled around and that small piece of fabric was going to be my motivation should I get off track.

Oh how New Mum Em came to hate Pregnant Soon to be a Mum Em.

Rachel Finch posted this photo on Instagram during her pregnancy.

Yes, I could have gone out and purchased something a little more, how should I put this: floaty. Of course, that would have been the smart thing to do but the dress had became my nemesis and I was going to wear it come double chin or wobbly arms.

After trying the dress on 7 days before the event it became apparent I could probably only wear it as a fashion forward head piece. So I started wrapping my stomach in plastic cling wrap. I did.

I would smother the belly in Bio Oil and then wrap it up like a freshly cooked sausage in a condom. Any skin that dare burst out the sides would be strapped down with yet another layer of wrap. I had it in my head that this would both smooth the stretch marks out and shrink the surface area of my gut.



It didn’t work.

The night before the wedding I became desperate. At the time my husband worked at an AFL club so that night I was to pick him up from work before taking our daughter to my parents for the evening so we could go out. As I was waiting for him in the gym I spied some thick sheets of physio elastic the players used to do rehab with.

Yes! YES. Inspiration had struck, I ran over and swiped as much as I could carry and shoved it under the pram.

Why? Well friends, some may have seen this elastic for what it was: a stretching aid for the players. I saw a potential GIRDLE. This was pre-the-invention-of-shapewear, you guys.

This was before shapewear was invented. God bless shapewear.

I got home and locked myself in the bedroom, I wound that rubber around my stomach and put the dress on.

IT FIT! The down side was, I couldn’t breath and I suspect was having a fairly severe allergic reaction to the latex but by Christ it fit! Ridiculous.

With hindsight I now know that the only person putting pressure on me was me. No one expected me to look thin and magazine perfect so soon after giving birth. I’m pretty sure society gives women at least a year buffer to get back into shape. And even if you don’t, no big deal. You had a BABY.

I wish I’d known that at the time, though.

I wish all women would remember that. So that when we see pictures of celebs who look impossibly perfect the day after pushing a kid out, we’d just think, phew thank goodness that kind of pressure isn’t on me. That kind of pressure only really exists if you decide to put it out there in a magazine cover shoot.

The current issue of Woman’s Day.

I guess I’m asking you to not think ill of the celebs who do it or to compare yourself to them.

Just acknowledge a fellow sister trying to fit into her jeans.

12 years on and I now look at the imperfections on my body from giving birth as rad battle scars. I’m proud of them and I wish to apologise to them for the cling wrapping, oiling and suffocation via medical elastic.

For a little bit of context, here are some other photos of post baby bellies, collected as part of Mamamia’s Body Positive Project.

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