Glorifying one’s post-pregnancy body has been in vogue for some time now. Thanks to the mom-bod lobbyists who have thrust forward the much-needed celebration of the post-pregnancy bodily changes.
While celebrities have come forward showing off their post-pregnancy bodies, many women on social media have shared their images in an effort to lift the spirits of low-in-confidence mothers who aren’t proud of their lumpy bodies.
But here is a mum who went one step ahead. Erica Andrews from the US, who herself is a midwife, clicked a black and white photograph of herself with her son Silas. She took the picture just 24 hours after giving birth. In the photo, you can see Erica wearing only maternity pants while holding her baby secure in a sling.
A mother of four before Silas arrived, Erica posted the picture on her Facebook page on Tuesday. No wonder it went viral with over 115,000 likes. Andrews has garnered quite a number of fans who have praised her for not shying away from her real body now. Andrews has been brave in doing so in the face of the skinny images that contemporary media projects.
The image has a ‘raw and real’ quality about it that has gone down well with the many people who have viewed it.
Andrews commented on her picture, “This is what 24 hours postpartum looks like. Baby in sling. Skin to skin. Adult diapers. And a rosy glow. My body feels like it ran a marathon and my heart is wide open from yesterday’s travels.”
Andrews explains how childbirth makes her feel the newness in her. She likens birth to an ‘earthquake’ that opens the ‘earth’ leaving her ‘intimate’ in the ‘fragile throes of that opening.’ To Andrew, it’s a very raw feeling – an emotional one that makes her a different woman now. She adds, “I feel like I’m on the undulating surface of the rippling ocean being tossed back and forth between happiness, gratitude, melancholy, and grief.”
She added about the transition in her life from making a baby inside her to that of bringing that baby out into the world now, “23 hours ago I held life within and 24 hours ago I surged and transformed allowing life to flow through me, into my waiting hands… This time is simply unlike any other.”
The bold image of Erica Andrews could be a trendsetter for soon-to-be mothers – especially in times when there is much body dissatisfaction associated with pregnancy.
Recently researchers from the University of Minnesota studied 506 women with regards to ‘body dissatisfaction’. The study assessed the changes in the weight of these women’s post-pregnancy bodies and the satisfaction they had before pregnancy to one month after delivery. The studies revealed that most mothers were 11 pounds heavier post delivery than when they were not pregnant, and at the same time, these women were not satisfied with their shape after becoming mothers.
The women were observed for up to nine months after birth. With passing months, their negative body image began to grow significantly. The mean weight remained around 5.4 pounds above the pregnancy weight – and this was after they lost an average of 10 pounds of pregnancy weight.
The worse effects of body dissatisfaction after nine months of the study were characterized by depression, bottle-feeding, having fewer children, poor appetite or overeating apart from marital status (such as single or married) and smoking during pregnancy. The significance of employment or close relationships on the body image isn’t proven yet.
Perhaps a move like that of Erica Andrews will help women to embrace the newly found changes in their post-pregnancy bodies.