Elise Grossman is an Australian mum of three. Earlier this year, she shared a nude image of herself on Instagram, soon after she gave birth to her youngest daughter.
She did this because she wanted to highlight the reality of what a mother’s body looks like after birth and get a conversation started about it. And she was successful at doing exactly this.
“It’s a strange feeling to look down and still see a bump”
Too often, new mums feel pressure from all around them to lose that ‘baby fat’. This pressure might come from relatives, even friends. But mostly it’s from the media who propagate unrealistic images of celebrities looking fabulous soon after birth.
Some new mums are able to handle this pressure well. Others, not so well. This may result in a downward spiral of depression, anxiety and negative body image issues.
That’s why it’s SO important that we all have realistic expectations and a good understanding of what a woman’s body post-partum really looks like. Not just us mums, but those who are not parents too, because that’s where the learning and awareness should start.
Elise explains in her Instagram post:
It’s a strange feeling to look down and still see a bump, even though you’re holding your baby in your arms, even after doing it three times. It’s not easy to go home with a baby and still have to wear maternity clothes.
With my first I was adamant I would just “bounce back”. Everyone would say “you’re young, you’ll loose the baby weight in no time!” But you know what, I didn’t, I never have in fact.
With each baby I’ve gained a few more kilos and a few more stretch marks. I used to feel the need to cover up in this newborn stage, I didn’t want to see my body in this state, so why would anyone else?
It’s taken me three babies, but I’ve finally realised this postpartum body isn’t something to hide! I am beyond proud for what this body has given and sacralised.
I am thankful that my body is able to carry and birth babies naturally. I am NOT ashamed of my (many) new stripes and my postpartum body. And neither should you! Let’s celebrate postpartum bodies, in all their glory.
The female body is incredible and I am so proud of what mine has done!
Her truthful words resonated with a lot of mums, and many took the opportunity to share their own ‘war stories’. But there will always be haters for posts such as this, and they didn’t waste any time in asking why Elise would publicly post such an ‘inappropriate’, raw photo.
She had the perfect answer, of course.
In yet another Instagram post, she explains that she was one of the first among her group of friends to get pregnant. As such, she did not have a ‘circle of mums’ who could have prepared her for the reality of her post-birth body.
This is the reality of the post-partum body. Image: raisingyoungloves/Instagram
Just like many women do, I too used to look up to the media, celebrities who would show off their supermodel like post baby bodies just weeks after giving birth! I thought thats how it would be for me too.
So when I went home from hospital four days after giving birth, still looking six months pregnant, I thought I must have done something wrong. … How come it took me a year to fit back into my pre baby jeans?
Well, because for many women, and for me, this post baby picture that was painted in my head just wasn’t realistic!
But it’s the following words that really drive her point home:
I posted that photo because I wish someone had posted a photo just like mine when I was pregnant. I wish that someone had told me what realistically might happen to my body and to my mind.
The fourth trimester is such a taboo topic. I want other mums also walking in my shoes to know that they’re not alone.
That whatever their postpartum journey may be, it’s ok, it’s normal and it should always be praised! I did it for me, for you and for her!
We could not agree more with Elise and kudos to this mum for being the role model we all need!