Our bodies are pretty amazing, when you think about it. As well as keeping us moving, they are capable of creating a whole new human in just nine months – and then keeping them fed and content for many more months afterwards. That’s why one mum was so angry when the focus on her post-birth body was about how it looked, not what it had done – and her fury has stirred a global movement.
“Obviously you want to get back to your pre-baby weight.” That was one of the first things a personal trainer said to Australian mum Mel Rymill. “It wasn’t a question, it was a statement,” Ms Rymill writes on Facebook.
She was stunned, but she decided to turn her experience into something positive through this inspirational Facebook post – accompanied by a selfie she took dressed in only her underwear.
“I corrected her nicely by simply saying, ‘My goal is to regain my core strength and endurance … I’m not worried by how my body looks, only how it functions … it can be pretty badass’,” she writes.
“Post pregnant women are told they look good if they return to their pre-baby body quickly leading to the assumption that they look bad if the keep the extra weight. Skinny people are envied for their lack of fat or shamed for apparently starving themselves. Voluptuous women are either labelled fat and shamed or they’re labelled brave for being comfortable in their own skin. There is always pressure.
“No one is comfortable in their own skin 100 per cent of the time. Constantly labelling people and piling expectations associated with these labels on them is harmful to everyone … including those doing the labelling.”
I’ve given birth to 4 children, I’ve gained and lost weight many times, I’ve had surgery to fix worn out muscles and torn fascia and I work hard to be happy and be healthy. Even through all of that I’m not super thin, I’m not a model, I have thick thighs that rub together when I walk/run, big hips, love handles and stretch marks but I love my body. It can do so much more than I ever thought it could. #loveyourbody #loveyourself #badassundies
She says we should be worrying about whether people are OK, not what they look like. “So here I am. I may not be magazine ready, my nana undies and bedtime nursing bra are certainly not going to be rocking a runway any time soon, my hair is greasy, I have no makeup on, my body is squishy and plentiful, I’m not even sure I’m totally OK. But I am strong. My body is healthy.” She finishes by urging women to join her #badassundies campaign. Her November 19 post has been shared more than 7000 times. And plenty have taken her challenge on board, posting their own photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Today shall be aptly named Body Positivity Friday! Why? Well why not! Women are constantly being judged for their body shape – whether they’re too big or they’re too small and this has got to stop. Why is it that it can’t be just good enough for all the amazing things it can do? This body used to carry 140kg and has since lost 60kg+. This past year has been all about building strength rather than weight loss and going in to 2016 I aim to continue that. My body is pretty damn bad ass and I don’t care what anyone has to say about it! #bodypositivityfriday #badassundies A photo posted by Lauren Staples (@lozzy.81) on
In a follow-up post, Ms Rymill says she’s amazed by the response. “It is so empowering seeing all these awesome people owning their bodies and shouting it from the rooftops,” she writes.
She tells NBC’s Today show that pre-baby she played roller derby for seven years and was used to having a strong body, but she had to stop exercising during her high-risk pregnancy. She visited the personal trainer because she wanted to regain her strength, she says. “I loved being active and take pride in my body, but after giving birth I felt like I needed some guidance and motivation to become strong again.”
#noshame #badassundies #mombody #beautiful #tattoos A photo posted by April (@zombiemom6) on
The South Australian mum, 33, says the #badassundies post was a “spur of a moment thing”. “I looked in the mirror and started getting down on myself before snapping out of it and remembering that my body is amazing. It allows me to do amazing things.”