Having a baby is hard. It's hard mentally, emotionally, financially, and especially physically. It's hard to even comprehend the extent of the ways your body will morph and adapt and change to accommodate the life growing inside you. This, compounded on the incessant policing women's bodies are subject to, can create a lot of anxiety and undue pressure for women who are simply trying to navigate their way through pregnancy and new motherhood. But here to inspire us all to be a little more self-accepting, here are some celebrity moms who celebrated their postpartum bodies in the most honest and refreshing ways.
In an essay for The Washington Post, Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez perfectly described the societal pressures women and new moms face, as well as her own postpartum body acceptance journey. "Western beauty standards have created an environment in which women are expected to strive toward size goals no matter the cost," Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez wrote in 2018. "The pressure to lose weight as a new young mother hurt me physically and emotionally. It’s challenging enough to manage the stress of everyday motherhood, including the physical demands of breast feeding and potential mental-health conditions such as postpartum anxiety and depression. When you add trying to adhere to diets and cram in workouts, it’s nearly unbearable."
However, there is perhaps no time in your life at which is more pertinent to be able to tune out the noise of the unhelpful voices around you, and focus on your own health and well-being. And here to lead the way are some beloved and honest celebs mothers who took their postpartum life in stride.
1. Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson, who gave birth to her third child, a daughter named Rani Rose, at the end of last year, previously shared on social media that making her health a priority was the goal.
"I wanna be around a long time for these three kiddos of mine," she shared on Instagram in November 2018. "I wanna do all this and keep up milk production, raise my kids, work everyday, make time for my man, have girlfriend time and stay sane!"
2. Jessie James Decker
After Jessie James Decker welcomed her third baby last year, she took to Instagram to share that the healing process can sometimes take longer than you think.
"Remember what our bodies just when through for 9 months and be proud, don’t stress over post baby body, just enjoy your new baby because these are beautiful moments and memories you will cherish forever," she wrote on Instagram in April 2018.
3. Tia Mowry
After Tia Mowry had her second baby, she was reminded yet again that the expectation to "bounce back" after just a few weeks is almost entirely unrealistic and learned to embrace the miracle her body created.
"To be honest, it had to take time for me to embrace my new body. With this second pregnancy, I now have embraced that fact that I’ve housed a human being. A miracle. A life," she penned on Instagram in July 2018. "If it takes a while for me to get back to my normal self, than so be it. This.Is.Me. And I love me."
4. Daphne Oz
At seven weeks postpartum, Daphne Oz decided to share a little update with her fans and followers, celebrating the fact that she still looked "3 months pregnant."
"We see so much of how glossy motherhood can be and not enough of how real 3D life is always complicated (and better for it)," she wrote on Instagram in January 2018. "Your experience will be just right for you. prepare to be amazed by some things and horrified by others. motherhood is as complex and wonderful as the woman."
5. Ali Fedotowsky
"Self-love is a difficult thing to fully embrace. When I look at myself in the mirror I can’t help but notice that my hips are wider than they used to be, my wrinkles are deeper than when I was in my 20s, and my stomach has lumps and bumps that didn’t used to be there," Ali Fedotowsky, who gave birth to her second child in May 2018, captioned some photos of herself, postpartum.
"Then I try to remember that my hips are wider because they give birth to two beautiful children. My wrinkles are deeper because I’ve spent countless sleepless nights making sure my kiddos are cared for, fed, and loved," she wrote on Instagram last year. "And my belly is extra squishy because it spent 18 months making sure two sweet little babies had a place to call home. Sometimes what we see as 'flaws' on the outside, are actually what make us stunningly beautiful on the inside."
6. Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer, who had been completely transparent about her difficult pregnancy (including posting videos of herself vomiting on the way to events) has carried that attitude into her life as a new mom, as well.
A few weeks after delivering her son, Gene, Schumer shared a photo of herself taking him for a walk... in her underwear. And not just any underwear, but those very specific mesh hospital underwear that new moms have to wear. Schumer rocks them like the best of us.
7. Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen, who is likewise hilarious at documenting her parenthood journey on social media, shared a photo of herself in those same mesh underwear after her son, Miles, was born.
Months later, Teigen shared some body positivity on Twitter. "'How do you eat like this??'" she said people ask, to which she replies: "I am 20 pounds heavier than I was before Miles. he's 10 months old, I never lost the last bit because I just love food too much. Just coming to terms with my new normal, when I had this certain number for so long!"
8. Serena Williams
In an interview with Allure, Serena Williams opened up about how she embraced her changing figure after having her daughter, Olympia. "After I came out [of the hospital], I had a stomach but I thought, this is kind of cool. I have a stomach because the baby was there," she told Allure in January 2019.
9. Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway knows that clothes are meant to fit you... you are not meant to fit the clothes, a point she touched on in an Instagram post in 2016 after welcoming her son.
“There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all). There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer's are just too dang short for this summer's thighs," Hathaway, who gave birth in April 2016, wrote on a photo of an old pair of jeans she cut up. "Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink. It's all love (don't let anyone tell you otherwise.)”
10. Olivia Wilde
After giving birth to daughter Daisy in 2016, Olivia Wilde wanted to be clear that often, what you see in a glamorous photo shoot still isn't reality.
"I am not in perfect shape. In fact, I'm softer than I've ever been, including that unfortunate semester in high school when I simultaneously discovered Krispy Kreme and pot," Wilde wrote for Shape. "The photos of me in this magazine have been generously constructed to show my best angles, and I assure you, good lighting has been warmly embraced. The truth is, I'm a mother, and I look like one."
11. Hilary Duff
After giving birth to her son, Luca, in 2012, Hilary Duff told Us Weekly that new moms need to be patient with their bodies.
"I think if you ask any pregnant mom, they're like 'I want my body back,' but it takes time,” she told the magazine at the time. “It takes nine months for your body to get that way and it's putting on that weight on purpose. The second I start to get down, like 'what happened to my body,' I look at my beautiful baby and I've never been more appreciative for this body that I have."
12. Blake Lively
Blake Lively, who is currently pregnant with her third child with husband Ryan Reynolds, has previously spoken out about the unreasonable pressure so many women feel to lose weight after giving birth.
For example, in an interview with The Sun in 2016, she said: “I focused on training and eating well. It took two different trainers and a nutritionist to help me get into that sort of shape because it’s not normal to look like that eight months after having a kid. Women put pressure on themselves to look like a Victoria’s Secret model after having a baby. It’s absolutely absurd. It was my job to look that way.”
13. Candice Swanepoel
After people were being unnecessarily critical of her postpartum figure, Candice Swanepoel took to her Instagram Story to share a few thoughts.
"Check yourself," she said on her IG Story in 2018, according to Entertainment Tonight. "Society can be so cruel to one another. Beauty standards are sometimes impossible for women these days. I am not ashamed to show my postpartum tummy, I am proud actually. I carried my son for nine months in there, I think I've earned the right to have a little tummy. Is it because I'm a model? Well we are normal people too so let me enjoy the beach in peace please."
14. Hilaria Baldwin
Hilaria Baldwin shared a before-and-after photo of herself pregnant and then postpartum, noting how difficult working out had been for her, yet why she felt it was still so important.
"Every body is different, but I believe in staying as active as possible," she wrote on Instagram in 2018. "There were so many moments when I didn’t want to work out this pregnancy. Showing up is the most difficult challenge."
15. Khloé Kardashian
After giving birth to daughter True in April 2018, Khloé Kardashian took to social media to share some thoughts about people criticizing her workout routine.
"What I’m annoyed about is that I’ve read a couple of times on Twitter that, you know, they feel that I’m focusing too much on my body, but the truth is, I’ve worked out five or six days a week before I got pregnant and that’s my sanctuary and something I love to do,” she said last year, according to People. "Just because I have a baby, doesn’t mean I have to stop doing the things that I love, and I love working out and getting my mind right."
16. Kim Kardashian
"It isn't easy to just bounce back. I was so jealous of women who had these cute little baby bellies and would gain 25 pounds — and then, a few weeks after giving birth, somehow look exactly like they did before they were pregnant, lol. That's not me," Kardashian wrote on her app about her second pregnancy, as Entertainment Tonight reported.
Kardashian and her husband Kanye West welcomed their last two children via gestational carrier, but Kardashian carried their eldest two, North and Saint, herself.
17. Eva Mendes
For Eva Mendes, who has two daughters with husband Ryan Gosling, fitting into her old clothes was her last worry.
"I just don't put a lot of pressure on myself," she told Extra in 2016. "I try to take care of myself as far as eating right and things like that, but especially so soon after a baby, I'm like, 'It's OK, I don't need to fit into my jeans for a while, I'm all right.' Maybe if I never fit into my original jeans, it's fine, it's all good."
18. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi
A week after having her third child, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi posted a selfie on Instagram, in which she declared she was "still wearing her diaper."
19. Jessica Simpson
When Jessica Simpson was pregnant with her first daughter, Maxwell, in 2012, she received an undue amount of backlash for her weight gain. (Seriously, it was awful.) At the time, she spoke out about that to E! News saying: "I'm not a supermodel. My body is not bouncing back like a supermodel. I'm just your everyday woman who is trying to feel good and be healthy for her daughter, her fiancé and herself."
20. Peta Murgatroyd
Peta Murgatroyd, who gave birth to her son in 2017, shared on a postpartum photo of herself. "Real life: I took this photo 8 days post birth. I left the hospital looking 5 months pregnant. Many people think a woman should shrink right back to her pre-birth weight immediately. That is just not the truth for most," Murgatroyd captioned the photo of herself, adding:
The female body is incredible and resilient, but healing and strengthening take time. Now it's time for patience and hard work. Lots of love to all the new mamas out there on the journey.
21. Jenny Mollen
22. Nikki Reed
While doing yoga with her brother and mom, Nikki Reed posted a photo of herself getting back into the swing of things after giving birth to her daughter in 2017.
"This might make me feel like a badass but if you know Acro-yoga, you'll see it's really just a basic stretch," she wrote at the time. "Can't do much yet, but while I wait and recover, I might as well do things that make me feel like superwoman with my big bro."
23. Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell, who has two daughters with her husband Dax Shepard, shared with TODAY in 2016 that she feels her stomach makes her feel like a hero. "Who cares? I didn't lose my baby weight for over a year," she told TODAY. "And when I look down, even now, at the extra skin on my belly, it's a reminder that I've done something spectacular. It's a reminder that I'm a superhero. And I'm proud of it."