Why Body-Shaming Kayla Itsines for Her Postpartum Abs Is a Huge Problem
Everyone's postpartum journey looks different.
It's been eight weeks since Kayla Itsines gave birth to her first child, daughter Arna Leia. It's no surprise that BBG fans have been eager to follow the trainer’s postpartum journey and see how she re-establishes a workout routine. Recently, the 28-year-old shared a quick update on Instagram to say she'd been cleared to do "light" workouts.
"Having been cleared for LIGHT workouts for over a week now (by my doctor and physiotherapist), I'm starting to really feel like myself again and not just in a physical sense," she wrote alongside one of her signature full-body mirror selfies. "I am so motivated right now because for me, fitness is my self-care, my time out and my PASSION. Being able to share my passion with YOU, the #BBGCommunity is helping me to get out of bed every morning (not forgetting my incredible family)!! #comeback" (Related: Kayla Itsines Shares the #1 Thing People Get Wrong About Transformation Photos)
Unfortunately, some of Itsines' nearly 12 million followers accused her of looking "too fit" in the photo she posted. Some people even shamed her for having "perfect abs" so soon after giving birth.
"These kind of pictures are exactly the kind that makes women hate their bodies," commented one person. "Most women can never get your body because of genetics, no matter how much dieting or exercise they do. Having perfect abs a couple of weeks after a baby is also extremely rare." (Related: This Influencer Is Keeping It Real About Stepping Into a Fitting Room After Having a Baby)
Another commenter shared a similar opinion: "Honestly with an account following of nearly 12mil really wished you would have posted a more raw and honest journey of your post-pregnancy experience. Very disappointing and you're just adding to the unnecessary pressure from social media for new mums to look like yourself in just a few weeks after birth."
Thankfully, several members of the BBG community were quick to defend Itsines. "Can we please stop and be a community of women that supports one [another] instead of shaming because of a person's weight," said one person. "Everyone is different and fit strong looks different on everyone because not everyone has the same body shape genetics." (Related: Can You Love Your Body and Still Want to Change It?)
Another person urged followers to stop comparing their bodies to Itsines' and respect that her journey looks different than theirs. "Kayla owes us absolutely nothing about her pregnancy journey," they wrote. "This is what she looks like post-baby. This IS her realistic image. It's disgusting the way some of you choose to attack her as if her current body isn’t 'bad' enough to make you feel better."
Postpartum bodies look different at every age, every ability, and every size—which Itsines has talked about in the past. (See: Kayla Itsines Perfectly Explains Why Wanting What Others Have Will Never Make You Happy)
"If I am honest, it is with great trepidation that I share with you this very personal image," she shared on Instagram in early May alongside a photo of her at one-week postpartum. “Every woman's journey through life but especially pregnancy, birth and healing post-birth is unique. While each journey has a common thread that connects us as women, our personal experience, our relationship with ourselves and our body will always be our own."
She added that she hopes all of her followers will embrace their bodies, rather than compare themselves to her. "As a personal trainer, all I can hope for you ladies is that you feel encouraged to do the same regardless of whether you have just given birth or not, celebrate your body and the gift that it is," she wrote. "No matter what journey you have been on with your body, the ways in which it heals, supports, strengthens and adapts to take us through life is truly incredible." (Related: This Woman's Epiphany Will Inspire You to Accept Yourself Just As You Are)
Contrary to popular belief, body-shaming comes in all forms. Even we at Shape see comments saying the women we feature on our site and social media platforms are too fit, too big, too small, you name it. But it's not fair for any person to experience shaming (of any kind). Everyone is different, and therefore everyone's journeys will look different. Especially woman to woman, we should be empowering, not judging, each other.