Series of Intimate and Raw Photos Chronicles Mom's Changing Post-Partum Body | 22 Words

Considering the amazing transformation a woman's body goes through during pregnancy, it should come as no surprise to anyone that her body remains different, even after the baby is born.

What does surprise some people (usually the disappointed moms themselves) is how different their bodies are.

And for how long.

Thankfully, the rise of social media and outspoken body-positive celebrities have brought more awareness and acceptance, meaning fewer women end up in the labor recovery room feeling completely blindsided by the fact that they still look eight and a half months pregnant. Julie Bhosale, mom of two and writer at The New Mum’s Nutritionist, is doing her part to normalize (and reduce the shock of) real postpartum bodies by sharing these honest photos of herself, taken for fourteen weeks following the birth of her second son.

Bhosale admits that, like pregnancy itself, recovering from pregnancy isn't always easy.

Her hope is to encourage women to focus on how they feel, despite society's obsession with how we look. She says, "You live in a society that pushes images at you every day of women who have given birth and just 'bounced back' – great for them (truly, that is great, Kate Middleton you are amazing!). But this is such a small minority. For most of us, our bodies change, and change a lot. It is scary, it is hard, it can be down right disgusting and upsetting but it is real and normal." She goes on to share photos of what she, and indeed the majority of women, see when they check out their suddenly unfamiliar reflections in the mirror.

One Day Postpartum

This is Bhosale at thirty-seven weeks pregnant, and twenty-four hours after birth. Please note, you can hardly tell a difference, except for the fact that the baby himself is a lot more visible in the second pic. So, sorry to anyone who thought they'd be wearing their old skinny jeans home from the hospital. Ain't happening.

Two Days Postpartum

Nope, still not time to get rid of those maternity clothes just yet. At this point the adrenaline has worn off, and new moms are dealing with a cocktail of exhaustion and hormone withdrawal. Meanwhile, visitors who want to meet the baby are stopping by, even though the closest thing you've had to a shower since you went into labor was that one time when you wiped some spit-up off your neck with a paper towel.

One Week Postpartum

Nice try, but a week later new mamas still aren't fooling anyone with a baggy t-shirt. Bhosale says, "Still rocking my pjs. Still got a lumpy, squishy watermelon belly. Still got the granny style undies and thunder pads." Yup, that sounds about right.

Two Weeks Postpartum

Now we're talking — your belly is probably starting to shrink at this point and you might even feel like changing out of your pajamas. After all, you did spend a small fortune on maternity clothes, so you might as well get a little more mileage out of them. But how long until you can wear real clothes again...?

Ten Weeks Postpartum

Two more months have gone by, so lots of moms think they'd have abs again by now. They'd be wrong. Like Bhosale says, "Your swollen tummy is a bit more of a jiggly tummy." Not as much progress as many of us were hoping for. You're also still running on about four hours of sleep, total, but who's counting?

Fourteen Weeks Postpartum

Okay, now those baggy t-shirts are doing the trick. Finally, after about three and a half months, moms get back some semblance of their former stomach, but it's still a much squishier version. Plus, stretch marks! Yay! The fact is, that post-baby belly might always be a little squishier than it used to be. And that's okay.

Of course, everyone is different, so not every mom could relate.

Ohhhhhh, to be so lucky! My youngest is six, and I've come to accept the fact that this lil' pooch is just a permanent part of the package now.

The vast majority of women had similar experiences, and were so grateful for the honest reminder that they weren't alone.

It is tough to reconcile our expectations (or hopes) with the physical reality sometimes. A little commiseration with mamas who have been there really goes a long way.

Some moms even added their own postpartum weird-body moments.

It's true, after a few months of those little rolls and kicks, it's an odd adjustment to look like you have a baby in there, but not feel like you have a baby in there. As if it weren't hard enough to deal with these changes yourself, it can be a million times worse when you venture out in public, as one mom hilariously explained.

Some people just don't get it, even when it should be ridiculously obvious.

HER. BABIES. ARE. RIGHT. THERE.

Thankfully, some guys have the right idea.

As Bhosale reminds us, "You may not look like the next Victoria’s Secret Underwear model, but focus on how you feel." And in the end, don't compare yourself to anyone — including her. Everyone's body and experience is different, and really, there's no amount of jiggle or stretch marks that could make your new little bundle of joy any less worth it.

Even celebs have taken to social media to share their post-baby bodies and spread this message.

Social media can often feel like a competition to show who is living their best life, but it's so amazing when it's used to share positivity and realness. Chrissy Teigen is one celebrity known for keeping it real. She posted this picture after the birth of her son, Miles.

Hilary Duff consistently uses her Instagram to speak out about mom life.

"Women are so badass, this was just a note to remind myself and remind others how’s strong and beautiful you are!" she captioned a photo from June 2018, when she was expecting her daughter, Banks.

A year before, she also posted a powerful message accompanying a photo with her son.

"Since websites and magazines love to share 'celeb flaws' - well I have them! My body has given me the greatest gift of my life: Luca, 5 years ago. I'm turning 30 in September and my body is healthy and gets me where I need to go. Ladies, lets be proud of what we've got and stop wasting precious time in the day wishing we were different, better, and unflawed," Duff captioned the photo. Amen, girl.

Anne Hathaway posted a photo of a pair of jeans, cut up to make "jean shorts" to fit her post-baby bod.

"There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever). There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all)," she wrote under the picture. "There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer's are just too dang short for this summer's thighs."

Kate Hudson has been outspoken about her health journey after giving birth to her kids.

She posted this photo in November 2018, writing, "So...here we go! The routine with our baby is getting more familiar and I’m ready to start taking a little time in the day focusing on myself. For me that means my health. Why? Because I wanna be around a long time for these three kiddos of mine."

Singer/songwriter Jessie James Decker kept it real to her followers about her body three weeks post-partum.

"I know I say this after each baby but remember what our bodies just when through for 9 months and be proud, don’t stress over post-baby body, just enjoy your new baby because these are beautiful moments and memories you will cherish forever," she wrote.

She may be a model, but Brooklyn Decker deals with the stresses of motherhood like everyone else.

It's strangely comforting knowing that even models and celebrities deal with dried breast milk, under-eye bags, and messy hair. Moms are all in this together.

Flaunt it, girl.

Reality TV personality Jamie Otis flaunted her post-partum body for her followers in this fabulous Instagram post. "I love every bit of my postpartum bod. It's truly amazing how my body helped create & carry an 8 lb 4 oz baby... I'm feelin' like I can conquer the WORLD after pushing her out," she wrote.

Nutrition author and TV host Daphne Oz posted a video of her body, eight months post-partum.

She spoke about the importance of mental health weigh-ins versus actual weigh-ins. "Once a week, I’ll share what we can call a MENTAL WEIGH IN (MWI) - I’m not going by numbers on the scale because I think it can do more harm than good to fixate on watching that number move rather than checking in with yourself, your body, your mind - and yes, your clothes," she wrote.

Dancing With the Stars dancer Peta Murgatroyd got real on her Instagram about the expectations of her own body.

"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," she wrote.

Alec Baldwin's wife, Hilaria, shared a hospital mirror selfie after giving birth to their son, Rafael.

"I believe it is important to accept and love our form after going through a bit of a battle bringing life into this world," she wrote. Aside from celebrities posting their post-partum bodies and journeys, there's an amazing Instagram account called "Take Back Post-Partum."

It's an incredible account.

Photos are shared of post-partum mothers, with vulnerable, relatable, and extremely moving captions. "This photo encapsulates so much joy and strength. I love it! ?," one Instagram user commented on this post.

The encouragement is unbelievable.

It's so refreshing to see social media used for something good. Instagram can be incredibly draining, but it's accounts like this one that makes social media an excellent tool for connecting with other people.

Sometimes you just have to be super honest on Instagram.

"Love the honesty and beauty of this picture," an Instagram user commented on this post. Instagram is full of curated photos, so it's always nice to see pictures that keep it real. It makes you feel less alone. Real talk: nobody has it all together. Especially in those first months after having a baby.

The Instagram account celebrates a woman's post-partum body.

Women are more than a number on a scale. I mean, having a baby is an unbelievable thing. Women are so strong.

"How is this considered ugly?"

Spoiler alert: it's absolutely not. "I may not have a flat tummy ever. But I'm not afraid to wear that old bikini to the beach this Summer. My lower baby fat and loose skin is hanging around," the powerful caption reads on this photo.

Motherhood can sometimes feel so lonely.

It can be isolating and terrifying, but that's why Instagram accounts like this are so powerful. They show that you aren't alone.

Not only does "Take Back Post-Partum" share photos of mothers, but it also shares inspirational quotes and advice.

There's no need to compare your journey, experience, or body to anyone else's. Julie Bhosale and a ton of other women remind us of this. Sometimes, you just have to remind yourself.