parents

Why this woman's "post baby body" should not make you feel anything at all.

By HOLLY WAINWRIGHT

Sally Brouwer is amazing. She really is.

Sally is a Brisbane police officer, a personal trainer and a mother-of -three who sits on the board of the Blue Sky Foundation for autistic children.

That’s amazing, right?

And that’s before we even get to her abs, which – credit where credit is due – are also truly amazing. Because, seriously, looking like this takes an enormous amount of discipline and hard physical work, whether you have given birth to no kids, three, or six. So, hats off to you, Sally.

Sally.

But today Sally appeared in the MailOnline with the following headline:

‘It’s not my fault other people don’t like what they see’: The super fit mum who posted photos of her rock-hard abs post-pregnancy… then told other mothers THEY had no excuse to be out of shape.’

And two weeks ago, another super-fit personal trainer from Sydney appeared in the Daily Telegraph, also taking aim at mums who don’t look like iron women. They used  this headline:

‘Fat and lazy’ mums using babies as an excuse to let themselves go.

And this, this my friends is where I am calling bullshit. Not on these women and their amazing abs but on the way the media like to pit women’s bodies against one another.

Mothers are being trolled. Presenting these post-child fitness stories as some kind of, “If they can do it, you can do it” us-against-us story, is nonsense.

And every woman who has ever had a child, looked down at her body and gone, “What the?” needs to know that, refuse to give into the “I hate my body” feelings and turn away.

Because these stories only have the power to make those of us whose tummies may be a little more, shall we say, on the mushy side, feel lazy and less-than if we allow them to.

Giselle and the Facebook fit mum Maria King

The sight of Sally Brouer’s rock-hard seven-pack has about as much relevance to my life as Giselle Bunchen’s nude beach yoga poses do to my weekend outing to the beach with my kids. I am proud and happy for Sally, and I am proud and happy for any woman who’s feeling fit and strong and delighted with her body.

ADVERTISEMENT

But I am also proud and happy for the woman out there who hasn’t managed to get to a gym class since her baby was born, whose breast-feeding regimen has left her craving chocolate biscuits, or who’s running between school and work and has decided that right now, rock-hard abs are not her priority.

She is also worth celebration, which is why you will sometimes see – on this website or others – a collection of photographs depicting “real” women’s bodies. Not because Sally, and Fit Mum, and “NO Excuses Mom” aren’t real, of course they are, but they are held aloft as an ideal that is not accessible to everyone. And is not even desirable for everyone.

Let’s not forget that.

For some women, exercise and body image is a priority. In some cases, it’s their business.  And pretty often, they had a six-pack before children, so they had one to reclaim in the first place. And that is wonderful, and to be celebrated.

Check out one of Sally’s fitness videos here:

For many of the rest of us, we have other priorities.

I like to be fit and strong. I run. But I have two kids, a full-time job and a partner I like to see occasionally, so heading to the gym in the spare half hour I might find after bedtime is not going to happen.

And that’s fine, too.

Let’s call this “No excuses” beat-up what it is – trolling.

These women are fabulous. But if seeing images of toned post-baby tummies everywhere you turn is making you feel crappy, click away. They would understand. One person’s excuse is another person’s bloody good reason.