Julie Bhosale, a blogger and nutritionalist in New Zealand, decided to take these photos of herself after the birth of her second son to highlight what a “post-baby body” really looks like.
Feeling pressure for her body to return to its previous state after having a baby, Bhosale said that "my confidence was knocked and I really suffered."
"After my first son I really struggled with the changes that happened to my body and the pressure I felt to bounce back," Bhosale told BuzzFeed News. "I thought getting my body back to how it was before would just happen and it didn't."
"I thought if I feel like this, with my knowledge of nutrition and how the body works, then imagine what other women must feel like?" she added.
In a blog post accompanying the images, she calls out "a society that pushes images at you of women who have given birth and just 'bounced back'," saying that women such as Kate Middleton, although they look amazing, are a "small minority."
"I had no idea that my body would be quite like it did after having a baby. Nobody talks to you about it so I just wanted to be open about the fact that there are so many ways your body goes through a massive change," she said.
Having grown her social media following by the time her second baby was born, Bhosale said that she felt that by sharing the pictures she had "a chance to make a difference and maybe help even one mum feel less alone."
"It’s so important to talk about this, and to show that this is normal, and that women are incredible and not put even more pressure on ourselves," she said.
Bhosale wasn't sure if she would ever post the photos when she originally took them. There was "that little niggle crept into my mind that maybe I just needed to try harder to get my body back, or maybe there's something wrong with me," she said.
But then when Texan blogger January Harshe began the #TakeBackPostPartum movement, and pictures of women's bodies following childbirth began to appear online, she said she began to feel a sense of solidarity.
"I saw a few similar posts on other blogs, and that there was this movement happening and I thought I've got such a chance to make a difference here," she said.
The positive reaction to the images has been amazing, but unexpected, Bhosale told BuzzFeed News, adding that she will often sit in bed and read the comments.
"I find the responses particularly moving because it’s such a big issue for women and we just don’t talk about it," she reflected. "We keep it to ourselves and secretly suffer."
Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Laura Silver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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