Moms Are Flaunting Their Postpartum Bodies to Squash the Idea of Bouncing Back Once & for All

meg.boggs/Instagram
meg.boggs/Instagram

We see it happen all the time for celebrities -- one minute they're bursting with a soon-to-be baby and what seems like mere moments later, their bragging about "bouncing back" to their pre-baby bodies. The truth is, the notion of a bounce back is largely unattainable without rigorous workouts or even major surgery. And the entire concept of bouncing back is one rooted in a ton of misogyny and self-deprecation.

One mom is determined to lift the veil around postpartum bodies -- and is doing so one powerful photo at a time. 

  • Meghan Boggs began the #this_is_postpartum tag, aimed at highlighting real postpartum bodies, out of the loneliness that comes with new motherhood.

    "A few months ago, I posted my first postpartum belly photo and my messages were immediately flooded with women excited to have found someone sharing from my perspective," Boggs told CafeMom. "It made me realize that there are so many mothers out there just like me. They had always been there, just like me, and afraid to open up about their postpartum experience because they were plus size. And even though I did receive some criticism, it was a realization that this is also a reason women and mothers like me don’t open up. For fear of the negative response. This also made me realize that there might be another type of journey different than mine that might be out there as well, feeling alone without representation, yet also afraid to speak up. That’s when this idea started swirling through my mind around June. I starting thinking of ways to give all of these mothers a space to discuss their postpartum experience through an Instagram hashtag. I hoped this would be a place for mothers to search through and see that they aren’t alone. I also wanted to have a video to not only explain the reason behind this movement, but to have mothers of all experiences share positive and inspiring messages about the postpartum experience. And I knew it had to start with a group of mothers to start the wave. I reached out to as many mothers as possible of all shapes, sizes and experiences until I had 19 women who were ready and comfortable enough to share their hearts."

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  • It was a message that resonated with other moms, who also began to tell their body stories using this hashtag. 

    jen plus size mom
    Jen Mclellan

    "As a plus size mom, I don't often see a body like mine represented positively in the media," participant in the #this_is_postpartum movement and founder of Plus-Size Birth Jen Mcellan told CafeMom. "During pregnancy, I knew I wouldn't be able to open a pregnancy magazine and look at a smiling plus size pregnant woman showing off a B shaped belly. When Meg Boggs asked if I wanted to share my postpartum body and story for the This Is Postpartum project I was thrilled (and a little scared). My pregnancy and birth transformed the way I feel about my plus size body, even though society views the way I look as unacceptable. I love my body, and I will no longer feel ashamed! Projects like this help to remind me that my body is just as amazing as moms of smaller sizes. Postpartum looks different for everyone, but we all need to feel supported and included!"

  • The project also really struck a chord with women who felt completely alone in their struggles. 

    instagram comments.
  • While it's important to note that plus-size bodies are underrepresented, Boggs wanted to be sure that all women felt included in the movement. 

    "Every body is a different body," asserts Boggs. "No two experiences are the same, even from one baby to the next. Our bodies change in many ways, whether we are a plus-size body or a thinner body. Every woman's body reacts to pregnancy and postpartum differently, and every woman emotionally reacts to these changes differently. Your “normal” may look different than my 'normal' so why shouldn’t everybody just be considered normal? Because your 'normal' and my 'normal' are both beautiful and deserve to be celebrated."
  • And the best part? It's never too late to start loving yourself. 

    "Whether you are freshly postpartum for the first time or you’ve been through multiple postpartum experiences and your most recent was years ago. Whether your caesarian scar is new or has been healed for some time. Whether you gained a lot of weight, you maintained your weight or you lost a lot of weight. Your experience is beautiful because it’s yours. Your body did incredible things. Your body may feel and look different now and that’s okay. Think about what your body was doing. Your body did something miraculous. And your body worked and it worked and it did everything it could possibly do and that right there is amazing. Your body deserves to be loved. Your body deserves to be acknowledged and appreciated for what it did just for you. For what you have. And even if this postpartum experience looks and feels different than what you had imagined, you are still the same woman who is strong, beautiful, brave and rocking her postpartum body because every mother is a beautiful mother warrior and that’s just what mother warriors do."

  • Learn more about the This Is Postpartum project here, and give yourself permission to start yourself on this journey today.