Kristen Sullivan, from the US, posted the photo of her body three days before she gave birth to her second child and compared it to the postpartum shot.
“I’m sharing this to show mums that sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re thin, ate right and exercised during pregnancy, your body grows in such a way that simply doesn’t allow you to ‘bounce back’ in friggin’ three weeks,” she wrote on Instagram on 21 August.
Sullivan explained that since giving birth, she has seen new mums sharing photos of their “amazing” postpartum bodies.
“While that’s wonderful for them, many others know that it’s not realistic,” she wrote in the open letter to mums.
“While I won’t be totally sure until six weeks, I have a strong feeling that I’ve got diastasis recti (separation of the abs).
“But in the meantime, I’m giving my body a chance to breathe. Did you see how far my belly stretched?! There is no race to bounce back mums. We’ll get there.”
Sullivan was praised by other mums for her honest words about her post-baby body.
“Thank you for sharing,” one person wrote. “I have had the most unkind thoughts about my pregnant body. It has been extremely challenging as I’ve gained the baby weight. This is comforting.”
Another commented: “You are amazing and look amazing (not that it matters, as long as you’re both healthy and happy). All I see is a woman who recently gave birth, whose uterus did its job and is still working hard doing its job.”
And another wrote: “This is currently my situation! Been really hard on myself, as others have remarked my stomach didn’t bounce back right away after my first. I have decided to take my time and recover at my own pace. I applaud you immensely.”