'I Wasn't Anticipating This': Tess Holliday On The Struggle To Accept Her Post-Baby Body

by Valerie Williams
Image via Instagram

The model shares an message of post-baby body positivity

Earlier this week, Tess Holliday took to Instagram to share a struggle so many moms can relate to — the journey to accepting your post-baby body. While the model has always been known for her outspoken attitude about body shaming and the importance of self-love, she’s also ready to admit when she isn’t taking her own advice.

And it only makes us love her more.

After sharing photos earlier this year to help normalize breastfeeding, Holliday is back with another mom-related post and this time, she’s talking about her body after baby.

She writes, “Each day feels like a battle to learn how to love my body postpartum. It’s been six months, and my stomach is lower, my breasts are a different shape, new stretch marks, and I feel like a stranger in my body more than ever.”

And to that, all moms say, Amen. Who hasn’t spent at least a few months after having a baby feeling like their new body is alien in every way? Things have shifted and changed and as Holliday notes, not all of it was expected.

“I wasn’t anticipating this at all. I’m not used to looking in the mirror & feeling like I don’t recognize myself, but sadly that’s my reality some days. I debated on whether or not to post this, but I think it’s important to be honest about what it’s like to be a woman in the media, who recently had a baby & the pressure that’s put on new moms to ‘lose the baby weight.’ I was fat before, I carried a healthy baby, & guess what, still fat … & THAT’S OKAY.”

Another Amen, and a hell yes. With all the celebrities popping up mere days after giving birth looking like nothing ever happened, it’s so important that the more common narrative be discussed, which is the fact that most women don’t bounce back that fast. And as Tess reminds us, that’s totally OK.

“I have no New Years resolution to lose weight, but only to work on learning my new body & loving & nurturing it. Not a day goes by that Nick doesn’t tell me how beautiful I am, but it’s not our partner’s job to lift our spirits, we have to be our own cheerleaders. So that’s what I will do, take it day by day. It’s a journey, not a race … & a beautiful one at that.”

As a mom who didn’t really feel “normal” again until her kids were each toddler-age, this hits home, and makes me feel a hell of a lot better. Forget right away, I wasn’t even my usual size by their first birthdays. And at the time, I felt terrible about it. But as years go on, I’m gentler with myself and reading Holliday’s words, I wish I’d given my post-baby body the same grace and respect that she’s giving hers.

Being a new mom is hard enough without the constant pressure to look amazing despite our bodies going the distance for nine months of pregnancy and then, breastfeeding and postpartum recovery after that. We’re grateful moms like Tess remind us that our bodies deserve to be loved, no matter their size or shape.