Fed up with the limited examples of postpartum bodies on social media, one mom decided to share her reality.
Kristen Sullivan shared a photo of herself three days before giving birth to her second child, alongside a photo of herself three weeks postpartum on Instagram.
“I’m sharing this to show moms that sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re thin, ate right and exercised during pregnancy, sometimes your body grows in such a way that simply doesn’t allow you to ‘bounce back’ in friggen 3 weeks,” she wrote in the caption.
“I feel like all I’ve been seeing is new moms sharing their amazing postpartum bods, 11 days after birth, 2 weeks after birth, etc. And while that’s wonderful for them, for many others, KNOW that it’s not realistic!” she added.
Sullivan noted that she think she might have diastastis recti (an abdominal muscle condition that affects many new moms) and has been weairng a postpartum corset for support. “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 moms. We’ll get there!!”
Sullivan’s post received over 3,000 likes. She told HuffPost she felt inspired to share her postpartum body photos after scrolling through Instagram. “It just seems like lately the majority of postpartum posts out there have been only those that show the moms who seem to have a flat belly, rockin’ a bikini after two weeks,” she said.
“That is fabulous for them, and I support them all the way. However, the other half of us may not bounce back as easily, and I wanted to show that this is normal and perfectly fine,” she added.
In addition to her newborn, Sullivan also has a 2-year-old son. Beyond showing a different postpartum experience, the mom said she also wanted to raise awareness around diastasis recti, which she suspects she may have. Ultimately, she hopes her post helps set priorities for parents.
Said Sullivan, “Rather than be concerned with how to get our body back SO soon after birth, let’s focus on using this precious time to snuggle and nurture our amazing babies that WE CREATED WITH OUR BODIES over the course of nine months!”