As if there isn’t enough to deal with when you become a new mum, without the added pressure that many women feel to ‘bounce back’ to their pre-baby body straight away.
One mother decided she was no longer going to let societal expectations of how she should look get her down. After her post-pregnancy body was repeatedly mistaken for a baby bump, she created a place to honour her body and she wants to encourage others to do the same.
Whitney Dwyer founded her blog, My Post Baby Body Life, in 2015, as a safe space for mothers to be inspired to embrace the way they look:
“Prepare to feel good about yourself,” the mother-of-two said.
“[This is] a blog dedicated to conversations and images of women and how we relate to our post-baby bodies. It is not about losing weight or the latest workout trends.”
In August 2015, Whitney shared a bikini snap of herself after she decided to wear a two-piece to the beach for the first time in five years.
Left with a protruding stomach due to diastasis - a condition that causes two muscles that run down the middle of your stomach to separate during pregnancy - Whitney was had been too embarrassed to wear it previously.
Especially because her own anxieties were compounded by strangers asking if she was pregnant.
“I accept their apologies, usually respond with some self-loathing type comment to lighten the mood but afterwards there are always a flurry of thoughts that run through my head- an internal debate that consequently alters my mood,” she said.
“No joke, it got so bad at one point that I started wondering if I was in fact pregnant.”
I am ready to say to society - it’s you, not me.”
But now Whitney is “done feeling guilty” and wants other mothers to also feel good in lingerie or bikinis.
She already has a whole group of mothers who are sharing their stories:
Tiara: “This body has done some thangs. I mean really we been carrying these hips, these thighs, the whole damn package since time immemorial... I am still deeply saddened and offended by every human that thinks it’s their right to attack female bodies.”
Maya: “I have learned over the years to accept and love my body because it’s mine and I’m only getting one. I decided I’m not going to continue to spend time wishing I could change something I have no control over.”
Andria: “I gained a few tiger stripes on my breast and sides, but pregnancy was not my first experience with battle wounds.”
Gloria: “I feel like my body and my perception of my body are works in progress. Even when I was thinner- I never felt like I was thin enough. No matter what I did, my body wasn’t good enough. However, in some ways, now after having a baby I feel better about my body because it did something miraculous!”
Julia: “I am free, and I am home, and I thank my children every day for giving me this perfect vessel for my love.”
Zee: “I am a new mum who gave birth to an amazing little girl four months ago. I have come to realise in this short amount of time that I will be her first and biggest role model and influence.”