It doesn't take superhuman levels of observation to know that society places enormous pressure on women maintain a svelte, Kim Kardashian-like figure at all times. Pregnancy is one of the sole exceptions to the rule, and even then, the reprieve is over the minute a woman delivers her baby — although if new mother Mel Rymill's #BadassUndies selfie is anything to go by, women are so done with post-baby body shaming. Earlier this week, the Australian woman posted a selfie in nothing but her "nana undies and bedtime nursing bra," accompanied by a truly epic argument against the pressure to bounce back to a pre-pregnancy body as soon as possible.
The impetus? Her first session with a physical therapist, who assumed that Rymill's goal was not to improve her core strength or endurance, but to return to her pre-baby weight. While Rymill politely corrected the therapist at the time, she wrote on Facebook that the incident stayed with her after the appointment.
"It got me thinking... There is always pressure," she wrote. "No one is comfortable in their own skin 100% of the time. Constantly labelling people and piling expectations associated with these labels on them is harmful to everyone... including those doing the labelling."
Although you'd think that having a baby (along with all the horror that entails), shouldering the brunt of childcare in the months following its birth, and returning to full-time work within weeks of delivery would be enough to give women a little leeway when it comes to getting back in shape, it's clear that society disagrees. A quick perusal of any tabloid will show that female celebrities are expected to magically return to their former bodies after they have a baby, presumably through a few sit-ups and some kale smoothies. This standard is hardly restricted to celebrities, either — social media is chock full of "regular" mothers' experiences with post-baby body shaming.
Of course, post-partum bodies are rarely explicitly shamed, but Rymill points out in her Facebook post that the praise heaped on "fit" moms perpetuates the expectation. "Post pregnant women are told they look good if they return to their pre-baby body, quickly leading to the assumption that they look bad if the keep the extra weight," she wrote. Like a true body-positive badass, Rymill didn't stop there — she went on to discuss skinny-shaming and fat-shaming as well.
"What we should be worrying about is if people are OK, not what they look like... Screw what society wants from me. This is what's on offer," she concluded.
Unsurprisingly, her post struck a chord on Facebook, where it has been shared more than 7,000 times and prompted a slew of other new-mom selfies. Can I get, like, 12 praise hands emojis for everyone involved?
Images: Pawel Loj/Flickr, Giphy (1)