By the end of pregnancy, expectant moms often get used to strangers making comments about everything from the size of their bellies to when they will finally go into labor. For moms-to-be who are in the public eye, like Hilaria Baldwin, the scrutiny can be even more fierce, with comments on social media flooding in from around the world.
Baldwin, who will welcome her third child with actor Alec Baldwin this fall, says while she considers pregnancy to be a challenging experience, the sleepless nights, weight gain and comments from strangers are worth it when a new baby joins the family.
"Looking at the history of pregnancy fashion of muu-muus and oversized clothing, you can see that women were often meant to hide our pregnant figures," Baldwin told TODAY. "Bikinis, tight dresses, and lingerie were completely out of the question, and feeling sexy was a thing of the past. Once you get pregnant, you are supposed to be totally pure — mom jeans and all. This is all very interesting because sex got us here in the first place! I post so much on my Instagram about staying fit, healthy, and confident because I feel that we can carry our babies and still feel attractive."
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Baldwin says she considers pregnancy body shaming to be more about the bully than the victim, encouraging moms who receive critical comments to remember that they are beautiful, and are doing something wonderful by bringing a child into the world.
"I am still me," said Baldwin. "So I will embrace the process, yet again, this third time around, and show that we have nothing to be ashamed of."
Baldwin says she tries to portray a healthy, active pregnancy on her Instagram account, but that occasionally she does receive body-shaming comments from followers.
"People are mostly very supportive...occasionally I will get a 'save it for your husband' or 'shameless' or 'you are a mother ... what will your child think?' Whenever I hear these I think: my husband sees much more, I am sending a positive message of self-love, and my babies and I were both naked when they were born, so I think they are OK with it," said Baldwin. "Most of the time I just ignore, block, delete. Sometimes I like to talk about a post if I feel it can help other people learn about bullying."
"Responding with love, forgiveness, and support are the best I can do. We are all the same: laughter, tears, soul, passion — respond with humanity and maybe that's one step closer to peace."