If your social media is exlusively populated by models and celebrities, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s only one type of post-baby body: flat tummy, (six-pack optional).
A WA mum is out to show that post-partum bodies come in all shapes and sizes and there’s nothing wrong or abnormal about “still looking pregnant” after having a baby.
Elise Raquel shared a photo, taken by Perth birth photographer Belle Verdiglione, of herself shortly after giving birth to her youngest daughter Willa. In it, she has a rounded stomach and stretch marks.
The mum-of-three said she wanted to share the image because the look of her body had surprised her when she had given birth to her eldest daughter Peyton and she wanted to inform other mums-to-be of what they can expect.
“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,” she captioned an image on her Instagram account Raising Young Loves.
“No one told me the reality of the fourth trimester.
“I had no idea you could still look so pregnant even after giving birth.”
Elise said that she believed her friends and family when they had told her that because she was young she would “bounce straight back”.
“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 that’s 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?
She says the reason is the picture in her head – and many other women’s – 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 praised.”