Aside from the whole labour thing, coming to terms with your post-baby body is one of the hardest challenges a mum can face.
Not only are you responsible for a whole new life, everything about the body you knew and lived in for the past however many years is altered forever, and in a world of toned mums, glossy celebs and picture-perfect Instagrammers, the pressure to snap back is more immense than ever.
It’s for this reason that blogger Olivia White’s latest picture is so important. On 27th July, the mum-of-two, who writes the parenting and lifestyle blog House of White, uploaded an honest, unclothed and unfiltered picture of herself to her Facebook page, along with an empowering message that every new mum should see.
‘Puffy face, droopy milk filled boobs, wider hips and belly full of stretch marks!! That’s my post baby reality, no ‘bouncing back’ here!’ the mum-of-two wrote alongside the picture, taken by Raelene Humphrey of Sleeping Grace Photography.
‘And you know what? I couldn’t give a shit! Because I’m not the same person I was before I had babies, so why would would I want my body to reflect something and someone I no longer am?
‘Those droopy boobs fed my babies and grew them up big and strong 💪🏻 Those hips and rippled belly was home to my little babes for 9 months 🙌🏻
‘It might not be the ‘transformation’ body so many ogle or aspire to! And sure, some days I wish it didn’t jiggle so much and was a bit ‘firmer’ but then I just remember the awesome shit it’s done and cut myself some slack and go eat a cheeseburger, because we earned it 👍🏻’
Olivia’s post quickly caught the attention of other mums, who flocked to her page to compliment her on the candid image.
‘Thank you for reminding us women that IT IS OKAY and that we should feel confident and comfortable with our amazing bodies and what they have been through. You look amazing, happy & healthy! So inspiring,’ one commenter wrote, while a second agreed, ‘I’m with you: in absolute awe and admiration of my incredible body! I’m so proud of my strength to conceive, carry and deliver my beautiful baby. It is my single greatest achievement and I’m glad my body is changed to reflect the work it’s done.’
‘Yes yes yes!!! Hate seeing ads in particular (there’s one in rotation at the moment) that say “you can’t even tell she’s had 2 kids” ummm rude! Who cares if you CAN tell she’s had 2 kids, she grew effing humans!!’, another chimed in.
Olivia, who is mum to daughters Annabelle, two, and Teddy, five months, told the Daily Mail Australia that she simply wanted to show other mums the reality of carrying a baby.
‘To be honest nothing prompted me to do it, it was more me wanting to show that while the fit mums and fitness gurus out there work exceptionally hard to bounce back, it’s simply not a reality for everyone,’ she said.
‘People are always talking about bouncing back but you’re not the same person you used to be. Your body is different and it’s about accepting that… why would you want to hide it?
‘I was scared to post it [the picture] – you always get those negative comments – but I just left it and it has been overwhelmingly positive.
‘I couldn’t have posted something like that a year ago but your skin thickens up. At the same time I am not doing it for everyone, I’m mainly doing it for myself.
‘When it comes to women who do bounce back it’s about us being objective and saying “good on them but it’s not a reality for me”.’