Pop Culture

Is the post-baby bikini reveal a dying Hollywood trend?

It's only January, but Kourtney Kardashian is ready for bikini season. Six months after giving birth to her second child, daughter Penelope, the reality star is posing in a skimpy swimsuit for the cover of Us Weekly.

The last time she showed off her post-pregnancy bikini bod (back in 2010, after the birth of son Mason), we complained that she was taking part in the worst celebrity trend ever. Now, we're pleased to report that the tide has shifted—and Kourtney's new-mom bikini bod isn't quite so trendy anymore.

These days, we're seeing more and more celebrity moms rebel against the idea that they should be bikini-ready within months of giving birth.

Pink was one of the first to take a stand, waiting a full 16 months after giving birth to flaunt her body on the newsstands. "I wasn't in a race," she told People. "I was really kind to myself because I was actually really impressed with the fact that I just had a baby, like 'I made a human!'"

Reese Witherspoon took a similarly forgiving attitude after giving birth to son Tennessee this fall. "I don't know if I'm bouncing back. I'm slowly crawling back," she told Extra. "You just have to be gentle and patient with yourself and slowly get back to your health."  

Drew Barrymore also took it easy on herself after having daughter Olive, saying she would rather focus on her baby than on her body. 

In a strange way, the paparazzi seem to have actually encouraged this backlash against perfect post-pregnancy bodies. It's difficult for celebs to go into hiding after their babies are born, which means we get to see Hilary Duff, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Simpson sporting those totally normal post-baby pounds. They're not the most flattering pictures, but they're a reminder that even celebrities don't have magical weight-shedding powers.

Which brings us back to Kourtney Kardashian and her Us Weekly story. With a cover photo that boasts "No retouching!" Kourtney is showing off her 45-pound weight loss, which she achieved in six months. More of the same?

Not exactly. Last time Kourtney did the post-baby bikini shoot, she waited just three months after giving birth, and her cover line promised "a flat stomach in days." This time around, she waited six months and opened up about the huge commitment her weight loss required.

"It was harder to lose weight the second time around," she told the magazine. She also said that her workout strategy involved doing 90-minute Tracy Anderson dance workouts—and if you've ever tried to get through one of those (regardless of whether you've just given birth!), you have a realistic idea of just how hard she had to push herself. In short, even Kourtney Kardashian—who is all about appearances—is now admitting that it's not as easy as it looks.

We still think those magazine covers promote wildly unrealistic expectations for new moms, who generally don't have two hours a day to exercise or the mental energy to follow a strict diet. But we're glad that so many celebrities are pushing back against the expectation that they'll look exactly the same after having a baby. And as for Kourtney, we can't blame her for wanting to show off that fabulous body—but we're relieved to see her admit that getting it was a full-time job.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.