No sooner had the Duchess of Cambridge given birth and revealed to the world a beautiful and healthy baby boy, did tabloids and news channels start a discussion about her post-baby bump. While one magazine revealed a headline instructing how the Duchess could get back her pre-pregnancy body, other news channels are talking about how revolutionary it was for her to show women it’s okay to have a post-baby bump. As I watched her stand on those hospital steps, I simply thought she looked gorgeous and flawless, as usual, and then I swiftly tried to get a peek at that gorgeous baby boy! Amidst all this flurry of discussion about her “brave” choice in such a bump-revealing dress, I’m just wondering what the big deal is, really? Two days after having my first child, my stomach looked like this. I had been told by friends and family that my stomach wouldn’t immediately “flatten out” after giving birth, and to expect to still look 6 months pregnant. I was told it would take time for the uterus to shrink back after giving birth, and I could help it along by breastfeeding, if possible, and just getting lots of rest and staying hydrated. I really didn’t know any different, so I never felt ugly or terrible, or came down on my post-baby belly. I was very lucky to have women in my life who had experienced pregnancy and childbirth, and who were willing to share with me their journey so that I could know what to expect.
As I posed for this picture, in front of my first born less than 48 hours after giving birth, it never occurred to me to be self-conscious of my body or my looks. I didn’t consider changing out of my postpartum pajamas into something more glamorous, that would hide the bump. All I thought, as I stood there exhausted, overwhelmed, overjoyed, anxious and scared, as we prepared to take our first child home, was how grateful I was to make it through labor and delivery with a healthy baby girl. I was nervous and scared too. Did I already mention that? But I truly never felt ashamed that hours after giving birth, I looked the way I did. Didn’t most women look this way after going through 9 months of pregnancy and childbirth?
Perhaps the Duchess was also told in advance to expect to have a “bump,” or perhaps she is just basking in happiness after giving birth to a boy who may someday grow up to be King. Either way, she looked beautiful and was glowing as she stood on those hospital steps, and I applaud her choice in looking just plain fabulous. We can all speculate that her choice in wearing such a post-baby bump revealing dress was planned out to show her secure nature, or to show solidarity with other moms, but whatever her reasons were, I just look forward to the day when a woman is not considered brave for showing her body in an appropriate way, and loving it as-is, especially after just having a baby.
Not only is it okay to have a post-baby bump, as a reporter announced on my morning news today — it’s completely natural, and pretty much unavoidable. Instead of focusing on losing the weight as soon as possible, flattening out that tummy and getting back our pre-pregnancy selves, let’s all honor our bodies for carrying us through such a special time in our lives, and go easy on them? We’d all feel a lot less pressure, and have a lot more time to enjoy our precious babies.
And want to know something? At 11 months postpartum, I still have a baby bump that some days makes me look 4 months pregnant. Just yesterday, my niece asked if I was having another baby. “Auntie, is that a baby in your belly?” The bump may be here to stay, but so are my 3 beautiful children, so I’ll gladly take a never disappearing baby bump in exchange for them.