A fitness blogger has shared a photo of her "squishy" and "droopy" post-baby stomach in a bid to challenge the expectations that women should instantly lose weight after giving birth. Alexa Jean Brown, who has more than two million Instagram followers, went viral after posting a snap of her stomach four weeks after the birth of her daughter Blake.
Explaining why she decided to share the photo, Alexa said that she wanted women to celebrate their post-partum bodies and all they have achieved, rather than "obsessing about, feeling ashamed of or apologising" for their changing looks.
Posting a front and side view of her stomach while sitting next to her daughter on the floor in a sports bra and leggings, Alexa wrote: "This is me 4 weeks post birth. As much as it is my job to motivate you I also believe it's my job to be relatable and honest. Our society has put this idea in our heads that women have to bounce right back after having a baby, but that's typically just not realistic.
"This is not the truth for most of us. I have more stretch marks and belly rolls and that's perfectly NORMAL and OKAY."
The mum-of-two recalled: "I remember being part way through this pregnancy seeing this woman online 1-day post partum with a flat tummy and abs thinking to myself, 'wowie, I hope I can pull that off.' I instantly felt the pressure to measure up.
"Then fast forward to my 1-day post partum body and it was more of the squishy, droopy flub that I remember after my first baby. As bummed as I was that I didn't just bounce right back to my pre-baby body, I couldn't help but feel so amazed that this body created two beautiful babies."
Alexa concluded: "If you're finding yourself obsessing about, feeling ashamed of or apologising for the appearance of your body, even if you haven't just had a child, STOP. Our bodies are incredible and amazing and we need to love every inch of it. Lots of love to all of the other amazing mommies out there!"