This woman’s viral post-baby photo shows her body just hours after giving birth

Just like average, everyday bodies, postpartum bodies vary in shape and size. Some women can snap back to their pre-pregnancy shape in a matter of weeks. For others, the pregnancy weight never goes away. All of these bodies are beautiful. With this in mind, one woman decided to share a photo of her post-baby body just hours after giving birth, and her message about handling her postpartum looks has caught a lot of attention from fellow mothers.

Hours after giving birth to her daughter, Willa, Elise Raquel had a photo taken of her in her “rawest and most vulnerable state.”

"It's a strange feeling to look down and still see a bump, even though you're holding your baby in your arms, even after doing it three times," she wrote in her Instagram caption.

Raquel wrote that although she wanted to get back to her pre-baby body in no time, like many celebrities seem to do, she couldn’t and never did. She continued,

"With my first I was adamant I would just 'bounce back'. Everyone would say 'you're young, you'll lose the baby weight in no time!' But you know what, I didn't, I never have in fact. With each baby I've gained a few more kilos and a few more stretch marks."

Even though she covered up for a while after giving birth to her children, Raquel finally learned to not be ashamed of her body anymore.

"It's taken me three babies, but I've finally realised this postpartum body isn't something to hide! I am beyond proud for what this body has given and sacralised. I am thankful that my body is able to carry and birth babies naturally."

She called upon fellow mothers to celebrate their postpartum bodies and to be proud of where their bodies have gotten them.

Her July post collected over 2,000 likes as well as a myriad of kudos and questions about why she decided to share such a personal post. Raquel reiterated that she felt as though she had done something wrong when she left the hospital still looking like she was six months pregnant.

Tabloids and society had taught her that she needed to spring back quickly, but for many that is not plausible. She wanted to be the voice of reason and support for women experiencing the same post-baby feelings about their bodies.

Raquel is pulling back the curtain hiding what real postpartum bodies can look like. By sharing her story, she’s hoping other women will go easier on themselves post-pregnancy as they learn to love their body for what it has given them, rather than for what it looks like.

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