Mom shares photo three weeks after giving birth to make a point about postpartum bodies
Posted August 29
Updated August 30
Long Island mom Kristen Sullivan is going viral-for getting real about her postpartum body. On Instagram, Sullivan reveals a powerful set of photos that tell the truth about what’s like to live in a body that has just given birth to a human. And other mothers are deeply connecting to her and her post.
Sullivan’s Instagram post from Aug. 20 has over 3,000 likes. In it, she shares two side-by-side photos of herself in the same black-and-gray striped bra: one taken three days before giving birth to her second child, Gavin, and one three weeks postpartum.
She writes: “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 3 weeks.”
It took me 4 days to decide whether or not to share this. But recently there have been moms reaching out to me based on some things I've shared, so here goes. The left pic is 3 days before I delivered Gavin (my 2nd child), the right pic is 3 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 3 weeks. I feel like all I've been seeing is new moms sharing their amazing postpartum bods, 11 days after birth, 2 weeks after birth, etc. And while that's wonderful for them, for many others, KNOW that it's not realistic! While I won't be totally sure till 6 weeks, I have a strong feeling that I've got #diastasisrecti (separation of the abs), in which case I'm determined to get the PT I need to heal. I've also been wearing a postpartum corset for extra support. But in the meantime, I'm giving my body a chance to breathe. Did you SEE how far my belly stretched?! There is no race to bounce back moms. We'll get there!! #postpartum
Sullivan’s goal was to provide a counterpoint to media and celebrity narratives of “bouncing back” quickly after pregnancy. She writes, “I feel like all I’ve been seeing is new moms sharing their amazing postpartum bods, 11 days after birth, 2 weeks after birth, etc. And while that’s wonderful for them, for many others, KNOW that it’s not realistic!” She added, “I’m giving my body a chance to breathe. Did you SEE how far my belly stretched?! There is no race to bounce back moms. We’ll get there!!”
She went on to share her suspicions that she has diastasis recti, a common postpartum complication in which the abdominal muscles separate. There’s been increasing attention lately to this condition, due to a recent NPR article.
Physical therapy and exercise can eventually help strengthen the abdomen. But that doesn’t mean Sullivan is in any rush to leave her newborn and start exercising. Sullivan, who runs family T-shirt company Threadrock, told US Weekly: "For new moms dealing with their hormones and all the pressures of being a new mom, they should know that they aren't alone. I ate right and exercised throughout the majority of my pregnancy. Women need to know that sometimes you can put in all that work and still not get your pre-baby body back right away or even at all and that's OK. Our main focus after giving birth should be to rest, recover and bond with our babies."
Got home from my first hair appt in a few months (thank you @swelshbull!) just in time to feed Gavin, which means we didn't have to use milk from my pumped stash – breastfeeding mamas know this is a win! After that, both boys were asleep AT THE SAME TIME, so I finally got to indulge in a HOT cup of my @teamiblends. I've never been a big tea drinker, but Teami Profit is so delicious, actually good for me and I only add just a bit of honey for my sweet tooth. It's also totally safe while breastfeeding. Use code SULLI15 if you wanna "treat yoself" #sundays #thankyouteami #teami #teamiblends #treatyoself
Hear, hear! We’re fully in support of Sullivan’s radical honesty and self-loving message to mothers everywhere.