Yes, It's Normal to Still Look Pregnant After Giving Birth
"I wish someone had posted a photo just like mine when I was pregnant."
Before giving birth to her first child, Elise Raquel was under the impression that her body would bounce back shortly after she had her baby. Unfortunately, she learned the hard way that this wasn't going to be the case. She found herself still looking pregnant days after giving birth, something that happened with all three of her pregnancies.
By the time she had her third baby in July, the U.K.-based mom felt that it was important to share photos of her postpartum body so that other women didn't feel the pressure to return to their pre-pregnancy selves ASAP (or ever, for that matter). (Related: This Mom of IVF Triplets Shares Why She Loves Her Postpartum Body)
Just hours after giving birth, she had a photographer snap a photo of her in her rawest and most vulnerable state and posted it to Instagram. "It's a strange feeling to look down and still see a bump, even though you're holding your baby in your arms, even after doing it three times," she explained in the post. "It's not easy to go home with a baby and still have to wear maternity clothes. With my first, I was adamant I would just 'bounce back'...But you know what, I didn't, I never have in fact."
Elise continued by telling her followers to "celebrate postpartum bodies in all their glory." But over the past few months, people have felt the need to troll the mom for posting such "personal" shots of herself so publicly. So, to follow up, and to shut down haters once and for all, Elise shared another post-pregnancy photo this week to further elaborate on why seeing these kinds of images is so so important.
She explained that during her first pregnancy, no one told her that her body wouldn't snap back into its original shape. "I had no idea you could still look so pregnant even after giving birth," she says. "So when I went home from hospital four days after giving birth, still looking six months pregnant, I thought I must have done something wrong." (Related: CrossFit Mom Revie Jane Schulz Wants You to Love Your Postpartum Body Just As It Is)
"I posted that photo because I wish someone had posted a photo just like mine when I was pregnant," she continued. "I wish that someone had told me what realistically might happen to my body and to my mind. The fourth trimester is such a taboo topic. I want other mums also walking in my shoes to know that they're not alone."
Moral of the story? Every mother should know that her body is bound to be different after she has a baby. It's important to remember that a little bit of patience is the least you can give yourself after enduring an immensely difficult and beautiful experience like childbirth. As Elise puts it: "Whatever [your] postpartum journey may be, it's okay, it's normal."