Along with long nights and crying wakeup calls, a puffed tummy with stretch marks is just another thing that comes with the postpartum territory. Now affectionately nicknamed the Mom Pooch, this completely normal body addition has made a total 180 and went from being socially unacceptable to being a badge of honor. Now, more than ever, moms are fully embracing the reality of postpartum and flaunting their Mom Bod.

Embracing your new body isn’t always easy, but it’s becoming more and more doable with the support and love from some of your favorite celebrities like Ashley Graham and Tia Mowry. Ashley Graham is well known for her impact on body inclusivity in the modeling world, and now she’s become a force in postpartum body appreciation. Back in February, she debuted a stretch-mark-filled Mom Pooch on Instagram and garnered the support of so many fellow moms and women. 

Similarly, Tia Mowry showed off her two-week postpartum bod with an empowering message to all moms out there; “This is MY #postpartum. Two weeks in. Do I still have a belly yes. I actually look like I’m 4 months pregnant and that is OKAY. I wanted to shine a light on how our society creates false expectations after a woman gives birth. Ladies, it’s okay that our bodies are not PERFECT after our babies are born. Give yourself time. Go at your own pace. Don’t allow people to put a time limit on YOUR body. You’ve just accomplished a miracle!”

Mowry brings up an excellent point in her Instagram caption. You should be proud of your body and all of its capabilities! Giving birth, whether naturally or by C-Section is no easy task, and if your body has some stretch marks and is pooched out for the following weeks or months after labor, it is 100% okay. I know after I gave birth i was surprised at my new body, i had all the expectations of walking out of the hospital with a much smaller stomach than i actually did. Alll the perfect photos of celebrities being back in their pre pregnancy clothes weeks after giving birth created an unrealistic image in my mind of what I should look like, and what society was expecting of me. After putting on 45 lbs on my petite 5’ 4” frame over the 9 months of pregnancy, I thought I would quickly shed the baby weight when in reality it took me 16 months to take it off. Accepting my new body wasn't easy, and some days i still struggle with total body acceptance, but i am able to shed those negative thoughts and trade them for love of myself when i see those stretch marks and loose belly skin, and my gorgeous child.

Today, the mindset is changing for moms. Rather than rushing to get back to their pre-pregnancy body, many moms are accepting the fact that their bodies have changed, and going back to the body they had before their child may not be easy or possible to do so quickly after birth. Getting back in shape after childbirth isn’t about getting skinny quick, it’s about being healthy and strong.

After consulting and getting the green light from your doctor, going straight back into 45-min HIIT sessions might be right after childbirth, but there are alternatives and other ways for you to show off your cute Mom Squad workout attire. For instance, try postpartum yoga which is uniquely designed with moms in mind. Not only are the moves strengthening and modified for postpartum bodies, but joining a postpartum class can help new moms connect with each other and share their stories and struggles of postpartum. The combination of exercise and womanhood can do wonders for your postpartum self.

The key to owning your Mom Bod is accepting that it’s perfectly natural and beautifully you! So, go on out there, slip onto that new swimsuit and wear your Mom Pooch like the badge of honor it is!

August 22, 2020 — Amy Astrowsky

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