If you’re a new mom struggling to drop that post-baby weight – and, just maybe, you find yourself obsessing over images of skinny, bounced-right-back celebrity mamas, take heart: Dancing With the Stars‘ Peta Murgatroyd has some real talk for you.
On Monday, Murgatroyd posted a bra-and-leggings bathroom selfie on Instagram taken 8 days after giving birth to her son Shai, featuring not the rock-solid abs you might expect but – yes! – a still-big, decidedly round postpartum belly. “Many people think a woman should shrink right back to her pre-birth weight immediately,” Murgatroyd comments on the revealing pic. “That is just not the truth for most.”
Real life: I took this photo 8 days post birth. I left the hospital looking 5 months pregnant. Many people think a woman should shrink right back to her pre-birth weight immediately. That is just not the truth for most. The female body is incredible and resilient, but healing and strengthening take time. Now it’s time for patience and hard work. Lots of love to all the new mamas out there on the journey. 💪🏼💪🏼 #yesihaveascrunchieinmyhair #shaiiswortheverypound
Setting aside for a moment the fact that most of us will never have a body like Murgatroyd’s – after all, she makes her living as a professional dancer – there’s still a lot to celebrate here. For many new moms, the pressure to return to their pre-baby size and lose the dreaded post-pregnancy belly can be intense, and many women expect that a previously flat stomach will return quickly and easily after giving birth. (If Gisele Bundchen can do it, why can’t I? Right??)
The truth is, most of us hold on to that pregnancy roundness for weeks after giving birth, and many take months (or years) to shed pregnancy weight. Murgatroyd’s perfectly imperfect belly-and-all pic is a testament to the fact that even the fittest among us don’t snap right back after our bodies have gone through one of the most momentous, physically challenging experiences we’ll ever have – and actually, that’s OK. “The female body is incredible and resilient, but healing and strengthening take time,” Murgatroyd says in her Insta post, adding a #shaiiswortheverypound hashtag for good measure.
Pretty wise words from a brand-new mom, wouldn’t you say?