Why This Mom Wants You to See Her Real Postpartum 'Bounce Back' Photo

psotpartum bounce back

As soon as a new mom gives birth to her baby, she is hit with pressure to instantly drop the pregnancy weight. This is often thanks to the influx of "perfect" photos on social media of others and their seemingly effortless (and immediate) transformations. However, behind these filtered snapshots are often photoshopped stretch marks, strict diets, and flattering angles -- all of which put unrealistic pressure on what your body should look like after physically bringing a new life into this world. That's why people are loving this mom's viral post that gets real about what "bouncing back" after pregnancy really looks. 


After giving birth to her second baby, Kristen Sullivan noticed a major difference: Her body didn't recover as quickly as it did the first time around. Instead of simply "bouncing back," Kristen's body looked different than it did in the weeks after delivering her first baby -- and drastically different than the other postpartum bodies she was seeing on social media.

Kristen explained that as she was trying to embrace how her body grew and is now healing differently than it did during her first pregnancy, her social media feed was flooded with women showing a very different postpartum experience.

"I follow a lot of awesome moms on Instagram, but it just seems like lately the majority of postpartum posts have been all about the side-by-side shots, showing how flat their belly already is, less than a month after giving birth," Kristen told CafeMom. "More power to them! But it's easy for new moms, with all their hormones, to get very upset seeing this. Society makes us think we need to be concerned with our appearance right away ... We just birthed life!"

Baby bump before and after giving birth

Kristen decided to post her own intimate side-by-side on Instagram that showed her bump three days before delivering baby Gavin versus what it looks like now three weeks postpartum. "I'm sharing this to show moms that sometimes it doesn't matter if you're thin, ate right, and exercised during pregnancy, sometimes your body grows in such a way that simply doesn't allow you to 'bounce back' in friggen three weeks," she captioned her photo.

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Although Kristen spent four days debating whether to share the raw snapshot of her healing body, she wanted to support women and encourage them to be realistic in their expectations if their bodies aren't looking like the new moms that they see online. "While that's wonderful for [those moms on social media], for many others, KNOW that it's not realistic!" she wrote in her post. "Did you SEE how far my belly stretched?! There is no race to bounce back, moms. We'll get there!"

Instead of shaming or putting pressure on her body, Kristen is choosing to appreciate it for the 8 lb, 9 oz gift it just gave her. "Even if your body is never the same again, embrace it all, because it did some amazing things!" she added.

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