Holly Madison is most well known as a former playboy bunny, reality television star and former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner.
But she left all of that behind her to start a new life with now husband Pasquale Rotella. She wrote her memoir Down the Rabbit Hole in 2015, starred in her own burlesque show in Vegas and opened a speakeasy themed club in Vegas. But her most important role is undoubtedly mother to two year old daughter Rainbow Aurora.
Holly and Pasquale recently announced that they are expecting a second child and in a raw and real post uploaded for her blog on E News Online, Holly reveals how she really feels about post baby bodies.
She explains that during her first pregnancy she felt the pressure to remain as slim as possible. She says she ate better than she ever had in her life and kept up with her exercise routine. She purchased a waist cincher which she planned on wearing almost immediately after the birth and thought this would be an easy task as people kept telling her how thin she was. She does say however that she was 'desperate' to lose the natural weight gain that she had experience throughout pregnancy.
After Rainbow was born Holly says she was surprised and upset to find that the compression garments she had ready did not fit. "I kept loosening the laces more and more, trying to get the garment to fit" she explains, "when I came home from the hospital, my stomach hadn't deflated the way I thought it would. Sure I knew I had weight to lose, but I didn't think that I would still look like I had a baby in there"
With the pressure from Hollywood to bounce back immediately, Holly explains that she was shocked to discover how long it actually takes for a woman's body to recover. "The truth is, for most people, you go in to hospital looking nine or ten months pregnant, and walk out looking approximately six months pregnant. The uterus doesn't snap back overnight, you don't lose all the extra fluid you retained during pregnancy during the birth. And it takes a minute for your organs to find their way back to where they used to be" she says.
Holly says that after the birth she put herself on a strict diet and exercise routine and deliberately chose outfits that would conceal her weight. " I was able to appear at an event looking quite slim", she says, "But I have to admit that the illusion was accomplished only because I chose a flattering, belted dress and underneath that I was wearing two waist cinchers layered on top of each other."
Amazingly when Rainbow was only six weeks old, Holly posed in a bikini as part of a two page spread in a magazine. She explains that at the time she was feeling ok about her body, confident enough to wear a two piece swimming costume for the pictures. However her self esteem took a battering when she saw an actress looking 'as slim as ever' only two weeks postpartum.
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Like most women it took Holly almost eleven months to return to her pre-baby weight but that naturally things are not exactly like they were before. She says her belly button looks different and her skin seems looser around her ribcage.
Holly says that the pressure on new mothers isn't doing anyone any favours. She says that she is still unsure as to whether she wants to participate in the body after baby race to lose weight but says "If I do decide to do photos, I'll have one condition; if you are going to look at my 'skinny' pictures, you have to see my 'big ones', too-real photos I took along the journey towards getting into shape, to show what I really looked like after having a baby."