I'll never forget looking down at my mid-section a few weeks after giving birth to my third daughter, and wondering, "Um, if the baby is out, why do I still look pregnant?" That's why I so appreciated when Arizona-based lifestyle and fitness expert Alexa Jean Brown recently took to Instagram to show off her postpartum belly—not to glamorize it, but to keep things real.
"This is me 4 weeks post birth," Brown wrote as a caption to a front and side view of her belly, adding, "As much as it's my job to motivate you I also believe it's my job to be relatable and honest."
Brown goes on to write, "Our society has put this idea in our heads that women have to bounce right back after having a baby, but that's typically just not realistic. This is not the truth for most of us." Can we get an amen?!
The brave mama is refreshingly candid about what her body looks like after giving birth for the second time, saying she has more stretch marks and belly rolls. "And that's perfectly NORMAL and OKAY."
Brown confesses, "I remember being part way through this pregnancy seeing this woman online 1-day post partum with a flat tummy and abs thinking to myself, 'wowie, I hope I can pull that off'. I instantly felt the pressure to measure up. Then fast forward to my 1-day post partum body and it was more of the squishy, droopy flub that I remember after my first baby."
But although she felt bummed that she wasn't bouncing right back, Brown writes, "I can't help but feel so amazed that this body created two beautiful babies." She ends her post by offering this advice to other women: "If you're finding yourself obsessing about, feeling ashamed of or apologizing for the appearance of your body, even if you haven't just had a child, STOP. Our bodies are incredible and amazing and we need to love every inch of it. Lots of love to all of the other amazing mommies out there!"
Now we know why Brown, whose son Blake is now 5 weeks old, and who also has a 3-year-old daughter named Logan, has 2 million followers on Instagram! In fact, commenters were quick to thank her for posting the candid shot.
Here's hoping more women come to love their own bodies—stretch marks, rolls, and all. Because as I've learned, it takes a lot more effort and energy to spend every minute being critical of yourself, and sends the wrong message to our kids.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.