parents

This photo says one thing: Erase all signs of having had a baby from your body. Stat.

The former Miss Universe Australia posted a bikini selfie on Instagram overnight, just four weeks after giving birth.

She wrote: “4 weeks PP [post-partum] and I’m starting to get my stomach back! Aside from lots of walking and eating healthily, I’ve been doing loads of pelvic floor and transverse abdominus exercises. Still no traditional ab work though which is driving me crazy! #bodyafterbaby #”

She is not a twin. This is some sort of mirror effect that she has implemented so we can get double the amount of her post-baby bod.

Previously, on the topic of post-baby body shamming Mamamia’s Holly Wainwright wrote: 

Today, I made the acquaintance of a gorgeous young model mum, Silvana Lovin.

And when I say made the acquaintance of, I mean looked at this picture of her on social media.

Silvana is married to Australian tennis player Mark Philippoussis. And this is what she said: ‘Finally found the courage to post this…Me. 2 wks after giving birth!’

Courage? I don’t even have the words. Except maybe….Ugh.

Silvana also shares her ‘secret’ for bouncing back to slim perfection so fast.

She says: “Ladies, I know every body’s different but trust me when I say:- Don’t forget to suck in your postpartum tummy’s! It’s the fastest most natural way to get your tummy back into shape:) I gave myself a few days to recover after birth then started sucking in a little everyday to get my stomach muscles working again- every little bit counts!”

Double ugh.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Here we go again. Another story bashing gorgeous, healthy celebrities who have made the effort to get off their lazy bums after having a baby and prioritise exercise and diet. Stop shaming thin people, you jealous chubster, and stop encouraging those lazy, flabby mums!

But I’m not bashing Silvana, who is clearly healthy and gorgeous. It’s not her fault that she thinks it’s perfectly normal and ‘courageous’  to look like you never had a baby two weeks after you actually had one. Because that is the lie we’re fed each and every day by the movies we watch, the magazines we read and the billboards we pass on our way to the supermarket, or to pick up our kids from daycare and school.

Caroline Berg Eriksen, footballer’s wife. Four days after birth.

It seems like the only way to be considered to have had a baby the ‘right’ way is to have erased all sign of having carried it from your body as quickly as (super) humanly possible. The same goes for being pregnant. The only way to be considered a gorgeous, glowing pregnant woman is to basically not look pregnant at all.

There is a whole industry that has grown around these fears and expectations. And there are a lot of sort-of famous people happy to snap selfies showing how totally awesome they are at shrinking immediately after popping out their bub. (NB: Not really, really, famous people – because they’ll get paid lots of money for their post-baby body pictures, and they ain’t giving that good stuff away for free on Instagram, hell no).

And it sucks.

Not because mums should be encouraged to sit around eating cake, but because for many women in those first few weeks after giving birth, you are at your very most vulnerable.

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Kim Kardashian. Four months after baby.

You feel awash with love and compassion (if you’re lucky) for this tiny little person you’ve created. But you are also completely adrift in a new world where you haven’t yet learned the language and the natives are small and squally.

This is how those first few weeks feel for many women:

I’ve never been so tired. My baby won’t stop crying. Everyone seems to want something from me. The house is a mess. My partner and I have to learn how to relate to each other all over again. My baby won’t sleep. My baby won’t eat. AND I’M FAT.

I had moments after I’d had my first baby when I was a goddess who had created life, and I was never going to be fazed by any small problem life threw at me ever again. And then I had moments when I could be brought to my knees by a snapped teabag string.

And, yes, it was hard to get out of the house sometimes, and it was hard to shower and brush my hair. And sometimes I’d look at my stretchmark-striped stomach and have a little cry. Thinking to myself – whose stomach is that, really?

But excuse me while I speak for those of us who weren’t thinking about sucking in our stomachs, or how soon we’d post our first selfie just days after BIRTHING A HUMAN BABY OUT OF OUR BODIES.

Kim Zolciak. Nine days after twins.

We were just trying to function in the new normal. And yes, maybe a flatter tummy might have been better for my self-esteem but right then, I didn’t need any extra pressure to feel shitty about what had just happened to my body. I just needed some support. Support to get through some of the toughest weeks in a woman’s life.

So when you see these selfies, complete with their time-sensitive declarations –  FOUR DAYS. TWO WEEKS. ONE MONTH – just remember, these people have been sucked into a competition that doesn’t actually exist.  If your livelihood does not depend on having a flat stomach, you don’t need to set a foot on this ridiculous starting line.

You just need to keep breathing in and out, feeding your baby and remembering, one day, a Pilates class may be a viable option once more. But not today.

Oh, and it case you’re interested, Silvana and Mark had a baby boy. And he’s doing just fine.

Do you find these selfies inspiring, or demoralising?

This post originally appeared on iVillage and has been republished here with full permission.

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