Once upon a time — before the Internet — pregnant women only had to deal with the attention and fussing of their immediate family and friends. Now, a pregnant woman can't post a picture of her belly without being harassed by everyone with fingers to type and Internet access. When two women posted a photo of themselves carrying differently, they (literally) stood up to the unsolicited opinions of the Internet by making a point about the variations of healthy pregnant bodies, and delivered a much-needed mic drop.
Even if you haven't been an active part of the pregnancy-shaming controversy and conversation, you're probably well aware that many people have opinions on the way woman handle their pregnancies. There's judgment regarding weight gain, or lack thereof. There's judgement on nutrition, fitness, psychology, fashion, you name it. Every aspect of a woman's pregnancy is critiqued on the Internet.
But just as each woman is built differently, each pregnancy is unique. What's a normal shape for one woman at five months might be completely different for another. Which is exactly what's getting people talking. Fitness model Chontel Duncan took to her Instagram page to show the healthy difference between her pregnant body and her friend's pregnant body. They're both in their second trimester, separated only by four weeks. Hopefully, Chontel's Instagram account, which showcases her unique pregnancy and challenges the notion that pregnant women are incredibly fragile, will help strengthen the voices of women who want people to know that no two pregnancies are the same.
Two Healthy Pregnancies, Two Healthy Shapes
This is the photo that will hopefully mark the beginning of the end of Internet pregnancy shaming. The caption reads "Whatever you think you know about pregnancy, whatever generalizations you make about it, are just that." Chontel's entire Instagram feed has recently been dedicated to opening up the conversation, weeding out judgment, and encouraging people to stop gossiping about pregnant women and start supporting them. If you wouldn't go up to a pregnant woman in the grocery store and tell her that her belly is too large, why would it be OK to do it online? But most importantly, her point is not about encouraging people to bite their tongues — it's about eradicating stereotypes and misinformation about what's healthy.
Chontel's Pregnancy, Not Yours
What's right for Chontel's body and baby are not necessarily what's right for someone else's. Chontel is a fitness model and a seasoned athlete. What her body is used to is consistent physical activity.
Kicking Ass, Carrying A Baby
With the help of her doctors, Chontel has figured out an exercise plan that works for her and her baby. She's not working out for superficial reasons; she's readying her body and mind for childbirth and motherhood. It's what works for her.
Pregnant And Proud
Chontel fully embraces her changing body. Just because her lifestyle revolves around her fitness and modeling career doesn't mean that she doesn't love her growing belly.