Jill Layton
March 14, 2016 10:59 am

Ask any pregnant woman, and she’ll likely tell you how different her pregnancy is from her pregnant friends, family members or even strangers. Or even a previous pregnancy of her own. Bodies are different, so it makes sense that the symptoms and physical changes each individual body goes through would be different from the next.

Nothing exemplifies that more than a viral photo of two women — both are pregnant and only four weeks apart.

The woman on the left is Chontel Duncan, a fitness model from Australia. When the photo was taken back in November, she was 21 weeks along in her pregnancy. Her baby is due at the end of March. The woman on the right is Natalie Smith, who was just four to five weeks farther along than Duncan when the photo was taken. She was due at the beginning of March with her third child. As you can see, their bodies look very different under very similar circumstances.

“Each woman carries differently and this most certainly doesn’t mean one is doing something wrong or not healthy,” Duncan wrote on the Instagram photo. “We both have healthy growing babies and we both have had incredible pregnancies so far.” Duncan is using her reach on social media to show that healthy pregnancies come in all shapes and sizes.

Thousands of people have commented on the photos — and as the Internet goes, some have been positive and others have criticized Duncan for continuing to exercise while pregnant, even though the safety of exercising while pregnant is obviously between a woman and her doctor. Not a woman and her social media followers.

“Once it became clear to me (through my social media posts) how foreign it was to see a pregnancy performed like mine, it did get me thinking, ‘Maybe I should continue to document my pregnancy because it seems that we are misled to believe that we are more fragile than we really are,’” Duncan told Today Parents. “We lose focus on one of the most important components (of a healthy pregnancy), keeping ourselves physically and mentally strong.”

Duncan wrote on Instagram that in spite of her thin, muscular figure, she “couldn’t care less” how her physical appearance is affected by pregnancy.

“I respect my body, I’m disciplined, I look after my health, and it was most certainly not to be a silly size zero,” she wrote.

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