We’re pretty used to seeing unattainable, airbrushed abs when it comes to “post-baby-bodies” in the limelight. But Anna Strode, the mum-of-three behind the popular fitness Instagram @bubs2bikinis, has shared an honest and inspiring look at her postpartum body she demonstrated some gentle exercises in a recent video.
After giving birth to her daughter Madi 10 days ago, Anna says her first instinct was to “COVER THE HELL UP” she wrote to her 98,000 followers in the video’s caption.
“I put on my compression tights and my spanx to suck my tummy in as much as I could, put baggy tracksuit pants on to hide the wobbles on my legs and one of hubby’s t-shirts so you couldn’t see my arms or belly.”
“I stood there for a moment and while I felt 'safe' that my post baby body was hidden, it just didn't feel right. What have I got to hide? A body that’s just spent 9 months growing a HUMAN that I love so dearly and then given BIRTH? Why is that something to be ashamed of? My head said cover up but my heart said - be proud!”
Anna says there was no denying that she was nervous to post the revealing video, but that she wanted to share her true experience.
“I want to show mamas that there is NO reason to hide, NO reason to be ashamed and NO reason to feel the need to ‘bounce back’.”
She told Women’s Health that the rise of social media, with people sharing their “highlight reels” over reality, has lead to immense pressure on mums to return to their pre-pregnancy body ASAP.
“Most people only share the best things in their life and that's totally fine - we must only share what we are comfortable with. But I think this results in many mums questioning their own bodies because we seem to have this in built instinct to compare ourselves to others.”
“I'm the first to admit with my first pregnancy all I wanted to do what show photos of 'bouncing back',” she adds. “I was too scared to show the real journey because I was afraid that wasn't what people wanted to see. This time around I'm so much more in touch with myself and accepting of my body and also not as concerned about being judged. I think we live in a society where people feel pressured to be seen as 'perfect' but perfect to me is celebrating what is real and raw.”
Anna says she won’t be rushing to rid herself of the ‘mummy tummy’ any time soon.
“I now have two very busy two-year-olds PLUS a newborn so fitting in exercise will be a challenge,” she told Women’s Health. “I don't have expectations but rather think of it as a goal to fit in 20 - 30 minutes of movement a day to help me face my days with the strength and energy I need to be a positive and patient mama.”
“I’ll be starting with exercises like in this video to help heal me from the inside out, some nice walks out and about in nature and will reassess my exercise plan after my 6 week check up.”
“[I’m doing] VERY gentle body weight exercises, pelvic floor exercises and safe core exercises to heal my abdominal separation,” she says.
Exercise is important before, during and after pregnancy, but consult your doctor or healthcare professional before doing so.