This Is What It's Like Still Seeing a Bump When You're Not Pregnant Anymore

Belle Verdiglione Photography

Just hours after giving birth to her third baby, Elise had a nontraditional request for her birth photographer. She asked Belle Verdiglione to step in the bathroom with her and capture her in her "rawest and most vulnerable" state. She then bravely posted this incredible image of her unfiltered body with candid thoughts about what it's like to be a newly postpartum woman.


"I was in pain and I was overcome by a flood of emotions. Elated to have welcomed our beautiful girl and so empowered and proud of what my body and I had just done!" she wrote on 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."

Belle Verdiglione Photography

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Many people don't realize that it isn't necessarily easy to leave the hospital with a newborn while still having to wear maternity clothes as your body continues to change. "With my first I was adamant I would just 'bounce back,'" she wrote. "Everyone would say, 'You're young, you'll lose the baby weight in no time!' But you know what, I didn't, I never have in fact."

With each baby, Elise gained a few more pounds and a couple of extra stretch marks, but after giving birth to her daughter Willa, she refuses to be embarrassed about it. "I used to feel the need to cover up in this newborn stage, I didn't want to see my body in this state, so why would anyone else?" she wrote. "It's taken me three babies, but I've finally realized this postpartum body isn't something to hide! I am beyond proud for what this body has given." 

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Looking at her recovering body, Elise refuses to feel anything but pride, and she chooses to be thankful that it was able to carry and birth three healthy babies -- instead of being critical about how it looked throughout the process. "I am NOT ashamed of my (many) new stripes and my postpartum body. And neither should you!" she wrote. "Let's celebrate postpartum bodies, in all their glory. The female body is incredible and I am so proud of what mine has done!"

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