A viral photo of two expectant moms is once again reminding the world of the various ways pregnancy alters different women’s bodies.
Mom and endurance athlete Brittany Aäe posted side-by-side photos on Instagram of herself and plus-size model Tess Holliday at roughly the same stages in their pregnancies. Holliday’s selfie is on the left, while Aäe’s is on the right.
”She is a voluptuous model and I am a sinewy mountain athlete,” writes Aäe in the caption, adding, “Both of us are shamed for our size ― she for her roundness and me for my smallness. Both of us are having or had healthy pregnancies as validated by our healthcare providers. Both of us are making empowered choices about our personal health.”
The mom concludes her post with a call to others to think twice before commenting on pregnant women’s bodies.
“Why does our society shame women whose bodies do not adhere to some narrow notion of false normalcy?” she asks. “Let’s instead keep our thoughts and words about other people’s size to ourselves. Pregnancy is tough enough without also being body shamed.”
Aäe posted the photo about a month ago when she was pregnant with her daughter Rumi Wren, but the image has recently been making the rounds on social media and news sites. The mom told The Huffington Post that she is a fan of Holliday and her #EffYourBeautyStandards movement.
“As I followed Tess’ journey through her second pregnancy, I realized that the dialogue around my athletic body was very similar to the dialogue around her voluptuous body ― just as shameful and fear-based, just as inappropriate,” she said.
“I hope all people can begin to re-imagine their template for endurance athlete, healthy pregnancy, and ultimately begin to forget what our society tells us to believe about women’s bodies,”Aäe added. “Our minds limit us terribly and we rip each other apart unnecessarily.
In an interview with Elle.com, Aäe explained in an that she posted the photos because she became fed up with “the general idea that women’s bodies are somehow public property.” She added, “My body is not just a fetus carrier. I am also another being.”
Holliday herself has been very vocal on social media about the body shaming she faced throughout her pregnancy. “It’s also okay to tell someone to f*ck off when they give you unsolicited advice about what’s ‘best’ for you & your baby,” she wrote in the caption for a pregnancy selfie she posted on Instagram. “As women, we know what’s best & that’s our business. No one else’s.”
Time for the rest of the world to get with the program.
Best wishes to both mamas!