Home Australia Why these photos of new moms aren’t empowering: Stars flaunting their postpartum bodies don’t reflect brutal reality, says a writer who just gave birth…

Why these photos of new moms aren’t empowering: Stars flaunting their postpartum bodies don’t reflect brutal reality, says a writer who just gave birth…

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Refreshingly real: Suki Waterhouse's Instagram pose

New mom Suki Waterhouse has been busy. She not only feeds, burps and changes diapers, but is photographed in a pair of huge gray pants that would make Bridget Jones proud.

Posting a photo of herself in said panties and a sloppy cardigan on Instagram, the 32-year-old singer and actress declared that “the fourth quarter has been humbling.” (So ​​humiliating that it must be contemplated by four million followers on social networks).

“I’m proud of everything my body has accomplished,” says Suki, best known for the hit Amazon Prime TV series Daisy Jones & The Six, and for dating heartthrob actor Robert Pattinson, the father of her newborn.

Up to date: Katy Perry posted on social media a week after giving birth

Postpartum posts are all the rage these days, now that “being real” is the new “being glamorous.”

“A refreshing and real post,” applauds Vogue magazine; ‘Thank you!’ his followers sprout.

Postpartum posts are very trendy these days. Celebrities once shared photos of themselves spraying Aperol on a free hotel getaway, for which they felt #grateful and #blessed.

But now that “being real” is the new “being glamorous,” more rawness is required. Therefore, anyone in the Instagram universe who has recently had a baby is willing to start sharing photos within minutes of cutting the cord.

Before Waterhouse we had actress Lindsey Lohan, 37, showing off her big gray postpartum pants a month after the birth of her first child in July last year, stating: “I’m so proud of what this body was able to accomplish during these months of pregnancy.’ And singer Jessie J, 36, in matching Calvin Klein briefs, writes: “just a little six-week postpartum self-love.”

Pop star Katy Perry struck a striking pose in a breast pump just a week after welcoming Daisy Dove, her daughter with fiancé Orlando Bloom; while her fellow singer Cassie Ventura put patches on her breasts (which offered “a little self-care between feeds”) five weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Sunny .

The Parent Trap: A Proud Postpartum Lindsay Lohan

Self-love: Pop star Jessie J in Calvin Kleins

Before Waterhouse we had actress Lindsey Lohan, 37, showing off her big gray postpartum pants and singer Jessie J, 36, in matching Calvin Klein boxers.

Both women looked annoyingly beautiful despite the accessories. At least Australian ballroom dance star Sharna Burgess showed a hint of a C-section scar, but being a dancer herself, little else betrayed the fact that it had been less than a month since she had given birth.

Kate Ferdinand, in a sports bra and big pants, ten days after the birth of her daughter Shae, her second child with ex-husband, footballer Rio, wrote: “This is what a real body looks like after birth.” The message: ‘Love each other, moms! We’re keeping it real, and you should too!’

I know they mean well. I know you’re looking for solidarity: a digital “we’re all in the same boat” hug for every new mom who’s pinching inches of belly fat and sobbing.

Body goals: footballer's wife Kate Ferdinand

Cheer up: singer Cassie Ventura

Kate Ferdinand, in a sports bra and large pants ten days after the birth of her daughter Shae, and singer Cassie Ventura with patches on her chest

But the problem for postpartum hormonal “moms” like me is that these “raw” images are often far removed from our own reality.

Waterhouse’s belly looks like mine after a good plate of spaghetti carbonara.

Come on, Suki! If we’re in the business of “keeping it real,” where are the leaky (and quite possibly unbalanced) breasts? Where are the cracked and bleeding nipples?

Why don’t you wear a baby splatter top? Where are the livid red stretch marks, the huge muffin tops appearing over Primark sweatpants, the pillow-sized sanitary pads?

Why doesn’t it look like you washed your hair with lard? Why isn’t your belly wrinkled like the skin from yesterday’s sauce?

Four months ago, I had my fourth baby at the age of 42. Today, the image in my full-length mirror bears little resemblance to the glowing beauties on Instagram who look quite perfect, or indeed to my former self.

During a recent hotel stay, I stepped out of the bathtub in front of a mirrored door and nearly screamed; For a millisecond, I thought a large, stumbling intruder had entered the bathroom.

With every baby I’ve had, my old physique has taken a hit. After number one, things got a little smoother. After the second feeding, it felt like someone had rolled a rolling pin over my chest.

At number three, it looked as if my entire body had been flattened and widened with a steamroller. This time I’m booking appearances at sci-fi conventions as Jabba the Hutt, no costume required. I recently got dressed for lunch and put on my biggest, brightest, most dangling earrings in what I suddenly realized was an attempt to distract myself from everything that had changed from the neck down.

A quote from Victoria Wood came to mind about the futility of such distractions: “It’s like putting a pom-pom hat on St. Paul’s.”

The most interesting change this time has been in my ribcage, which seems to have swelled a few inches, as if my lungs had been stolen and replaced with those of Brian Blessed.

This “rib expansion” accommodates a growing baby and apparently could be permanent.

Other mothers I know talk about their own physical transformations: permanently brittle hair; nipples “like corks”; breasts so long that, for reasons of cleanliness, “they could be tied in a bow.” With some dark humor we recognize that, although it is important to try to be fit and healthy, those pre-birth bodies are not going to return.

In his poem Afternoons, Philip Larkin observes mothers caring for their young children on the playground. “Her beauty has thickened,” he writes sadly, as if the change in shape that often goes hand in hand with motherhood were a tragedy.

What (misogynistic) crap! The disappearance of our “old” bodies is not a tragedy: it is simply life. It’s the way female bodies have changed and adapted since the dawn of humanity.

The healthy thing is not to try to ‘celebrate’ your new body in the company of thousands of Instagram followers, ’embrace’ your stretch marks or fall in love with your flaccidity, but simply to get over it, remembering that our bodies are not the repositories of our identities nor the works of art to be admired, but in fact, they are often quite extraordinary functional machines to use.

Of course, over the past six years I have had moments of mourning my “old” body. Before pregnancy I had a small, wiry waist that could almost be covered with both hands. One of my favorite looks was a men’s shirt cinched with a thin belt; Nowadays, a suit like that would leave me looking like a poorly made package.

But any moment of melancholy I quickly squash with defiance. So you have some stretch marks? Are your feet one size bigger (does it happen)? You have produced four human beings: get over it!

What really bothers me about all these postpartum phonies is that while on the surface they profess to focus exclusively on female empowerment, in reality, like the Kim Kardashians of this world, they are perpetuating a boring obsession with women’s bodies.

Suki et al would like to think they’re overtaking influencers who post photos of their flat bellies just days after birth, but in reality they’re falling into the same trap: focusing on the body when their attention should, if anything, be. in the baby.

It’s symptomatic of the narcissistic obsession with bodies that runs particularly rampant on social media, now under the acceptable brand of “body positivity.”

‘Me posting a photo of myself in my underwear in dim lighting isn’t vanity… oh no, no: it’s body positivity, see? I’m celebrating what the female body can do!’

What young women and young mothers should strive for is not body positivity but body neutrality, a healthy realism that yes, your body has taken a hit, but later, with a little exercise and dietary moderation, it will be in shape. shape. and strong again someday. Not your old self, but a different one.

For now, however, new mothers would be advised to put down their phones, stop taking mirror selfies, and enjoy the company of their baby, not the tedious navel-gazers of Instagram.

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