Kiwi mum shares images of 'real' postpartum body
The Duchess of Cambridge might make it look easy, but life after childbirth isn't so picture-perfect for all mums.
Kiwi nutritionist and blogger Julie Bhosale has shared her own story following the birth of her second child, in a series of photos tracing her postpartum body through its raw and natural stages of recovery – with all its "lumps, bumps, marks and jiggly bits".
In a blog post called My Real Postpartum Body, Bhosale notes we live in a world that pushes images of women who have given birth and just "bounced back".
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"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," she writes.
"It is scary, it is hard, it can be downright disgusting and upsetting but it is real and normal."
What's more, her boys "are so darn worth it".
Image: Julie Bhosale
Before having children, Bhosale believed her body would just magically return to what it once was. But it didn't.
Her confidence was knocked, not only by her changing body but the exhaustion, the hormones, and the demands of breastfeeding and juggling two children's needs, she says.
It occurred to her that if she was struggling, even with all her experience in nutrition and fitness, other women must be too – which is why she decided to take part in the #takebackpostpartum movement by posting her own images for the world to see.
"Given my position in the industry, I thought I had a real opportunity to make a difference to another woman. I thought if I could save one woman from feeling so bad about herself and feeling so alone, it would all be worth it," she says.
As it's turned out, Bhosale has helped more than one. Her blog has now gone viral and been viewed 2 million times, she says.
"I sit in bed at night and read the comments at the bottom of the blog – it just brings tears to my eyes."
37 weeks pregnant and 24 hours after birth. Image: Julie Bhosale
Now, six months after giving birth to Sahan, she says she is feeling less like a "zombie", but still has work to do. At four-and-a-half months, she was able to pop on her pre-pregnancy jeans, but her abdominals are still very weak and she's only just starting to walk again after fracturing her ankle.
"I'm definitely not running marathons," she says.
She's proud to have made a difference to other mums.
"It's more than just me showing my body off to the world, I wanted to leave women empowered and inspired to feel amazing. You put your bodies on the line, you sacrifice everything, you wake up all through the night, all for them. That's what I wanted to leave women with – that you're amazing just as you are," she says.
"You're doing an excellent job, you might not be walking out in a bikini – but you know what, you're looking after this little human being 24/7 and that's incredible."