We've said it once and we'll say it again: contrary to what we may see in movies or on magazine covers, postpartum bodies don't always snap right back to their pre-pregnancy shape—in fact, they rarely bounce right back without missing a beat. But even though we know that on an intellectual level, there's this very human reaction many of us have to see our own bodies after we've given birth and feeling so changed by the experience, we almost don't feel like ourselves.
The postpartum period is hard in every way. Mentally, physically, emotionally—and as trivial as it may sound, trying on your old favorite pair of jeans and not being able to button them up can really do a number on you when you're running on zero sleep and are so emotionally fragile. We wish no mother would ever feel down about the changes her body undergoes after baby—but, at the same time, we understand feeling some sadness or insecurity when your body changes, even when that change is completely expected.
That's why a recent post from a Dancing With the Stars pro resonates so much with us. Witney Carson, who gave birth to her son Leo in January, shared two photos of herself in leggings and a sports bra along with a heartfelt caption about how she views her postpartum body.
"[B]eing a dancer growing up & even throughout adulthood (especially throughout adulthood)I've always been self conscience [sic] about my weight and how I looked," the dance pro writes. "I've struggled with this & that's why I was hesitant to post these photos-I didn't feel I looked a certain way, 'good enough' & that was a sad thought to me."
Honestly, we think Carson looks amazing. But that's the thing: feeling comfortable in your postpartum skin is up to you. It's something we all deal with, no matter how we look to the outside world.
Whether it's adjusting to being a new size, rocking some gorgeous stretch marks, or even just feeling like you have less strength and stamina than you did pre-pregnancy, those changes can sometimes be hard to reconcile. And while we need to normalize them as a society, we also need to acknowledge that it's normal (universal, even) to need some time to get used to all the changes motherhood brings to your life.
Carson isn't the only Dancing With the Stars mama who has been super open about early motherhood. Fellow professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd shared an unfiltered look at her belly immediately after she gave birth to her son and Lindsay Arnold shared a super candid video of a morning with her daughter just a few months ago.
When it comes to navigating new mom life, we all need some time and some grace to figure it all out. We're grateful to Carson for her honesty—hopefully, it will inspire other women to celebrate their new bodies, too.