She shared an inspiring message "for all [the] new moms out there."

By Arielle Tschinkel
February 11, 2020

Shay Mitchell has been keeping it real with her fans throughout her journey to motherhood. Since giving birth to baby Atlas in October with her boyfriend, Matte Babel, Mitchell has shared everything from sweet close-ups of Atlas' tiny fingers to glam shots of herself breastfeeding.

Now, the Pretty Little Liars alum is stepping back into the spotlight. Over the weekend, she walked her first red carpet since giving birth, arriving at the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party in a stunning floor-length dress.

"Getting ready last night was the equivalent to a NASCAR pit crew changing a tire," she joked on Instagram of her return to the red carpet. "Big thanks to the best (and HUGE!) team that proved I can make it out of the house not in sweats."

But the actress also shared an important message for new moms in her post: She said her red carpet arrival is "not a snap back, it's a snap forward." (Related: Shay Mitchell's Life Philosophy Will Inspire You to Try Something New Stat)

ICYDK, Mitchell seems to be referring to the unrealistic expectations that new moms often face to get their "pre-baby body" back after giving birth—something that fellow celeb moms and regular folks alike have spoken out about.

Most recently, Kate Upton shared how she was affected by the "major pressures" to "snap back" after having her daughter, Genevieve in November 2018: "I tried to push myself early to get back to the gym, eat perfectly and try to achieve this alleged 'snap back,'' Upton wrote in an Instagram post last month. "But, after realizing how ridiculous these pressures are I quickly gave myself some slack and lived in the moment as a new mother." (BTW, here's a realistic take on what your first few weeks of postpartum exercise should look like.)

Any new mom can be subjected to these unfair postpartum pressures (as if new moms don't already have enough on their plate). But celebs like Mitchell must deal with these expectations in the limelight, and #momlife doesn't take a break even when the red carpet beckons. In another Instagram post, Mitchell shared some behind-the-scenes shots of her fun night out at the Oscars, joking in the caption that she gave her Uber driver a perfect rating after they let her pump breast milk in the car ahead of the event.

Mitchell is still in her first months of motherhood, but she's already experienced her fair share of mom-shaming. During a recent episode of Ashley Graham's podcast, Pretty Big Deal, Mitchell shared that she felt "surprised" by the criticism she received after she was spotted at a birthday party days after announcing she'd given birth.

"People were leaving comments like 'You are the world's worst mother already,' and 'The child needs to be taken into child services,'" she told Graham, revealing that she'd actually given birth weeks before announcing the news on Instagram. Though Mitchell said she didn't feel the need to explain her choices, she told Graham, "It bothered me for the other women and new mothers out there who maybe don't have a great support system around them to be like, 'Don't listen to it.' That's what pissed me off." (Related: Shay Mitchell Fired Back at an Instagram Troll Who Criticized How She Breastfeeds Her Daughter)

"How dare you make a new mom, who's already going through a lot of doubt and guilt when she leaves for the first time, [feel guilty?]" added Mitchell. "That should be something that's celebrated. You're living your life, as you did before and as you will continue to with your child."

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