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While glamour shots of her post-baby body have gone viral, mom-of-two Olivia White said she took the pictures to convey an important message to her daughters about embracing their bodies as is.
“Puffy face, droopy milk filled boobs, wider hips and belly full of stretch marks!! That's my post baby reality, no 'bouncing back' here,” she wrote in her Facebook post, which almost 3,000 people reacted to. After her post went viral, Facebook removed it after someone reported it for violating its nudity policy.
“It might not be the 'transformation' body so many ogle or aspire to! And sure, some days I wish it didn't jiggle so much and was a bit 'firmer' but then I just remember the awesome s**t it's done and cut myself some slack and go eat a cheeseburger, because we earned it.”
When White — a 27-year-old who blogs as House of White in Melbourne, Australia — was pregnant with her first daughter, Annabelle, who is 2.5-years-old, she gained almost 67 pounds. She felt insecure and unhappy as she struggled to lose the baby weight, but she soon recognized she was setting a bad example for her daughter.
“I realized that as a mother to a little girl I had to really be aware of what kind of image I was portraying, especially in this digital age. If mum was always obsessing over her weight, what she ate and how she looked, how did she as a young girl have any chance,” White told TODAY via email.
When she became pregnant with Theodora she decided to love her body, no matter what.
“Not worth getting upset over the something you can’t change, especially when it’s truly an amazing thing your body is doing,” she said. "It shouldn’t be seen as a negative."
When she took Theodora for her newborn pictures, White decided to strip down to take pictures of her post-baby body. She wanted the images for her daughters to see how pregnancy changes a woman's body. But she truly hoped they'd see them and understand how beautiful post-pregnancy bodies could be even when they don't immediately return to pre-baby shape.
“It can very easily become all-consuming this idea of the ‘perfect body’ and for mums this ridiculous pressure to ‘bounce back,’” White said. “You are a mother now, you carried a child/children for nine months, you worked SO hard to do that and why would you want to hide that.”
While the photos were originally for her daughters, she decided to post one on Facebook after feeling like she never saw realistic post-baby bodies.
“At first, it was just for myself but after seeing so many photos of ‘fit mums’ and slender models showing their post-baby body only days later looking like they never even carried a child, I thought ‘well why can’t I show mine,’” she said.
She feels encouraged by the positive feedback she’s received and says she hopes to inspire moms who feel discouraged by their post-baby bodies.
“You would never want to not be a mum, so why does your body have to resemble something it’s not? Embrace the changes and just enjoy motherhood without the pressure to change your body back to something.”