Accepting your body unconditionally is a tall task, whether you've just had a baby or not. In a world that seems so universally convinced there's only one, specific way to have a body that is good and attractive, it's sometimes hard to hear over all the noise. But Bekah Martinez's message about her embracing postpartum body, hair, and shape is such a crucial reminder about what it means to be who we are, whether we're mothers or not.
Martinez — who gave birth to her first child with boyfriend Grayston Leonard last month, according to E! News — is proving that you are allowed to lean into your body whether you're a new mother or not. In a recent Instagram post, as People reported, she is seen sitting on a lounge chair in shorts and a sports bra, holding up a drink. (Yeah, it's pretty epic.)
"Every mom bod is different — some are thin and some are round, some are wrinkly and some are hairy, some are light and some are brown," she captioned the photo. "If you think otherwise, kindly f*ck off or unfollow."
However, the part of the photo that's really getting a lot of attention is Martinez's body hair, which is visible in the image. While some people are praising and applauding her for being body positive, others are criticizing her for it (ugh...).
"Just want to say you have guts, I would subconsciously at the back of my mind [worry] about what people think," one comment read. "I love this! This also applied to non-mom bodies. Everyone is different and that in itself is beautiful," said another.
However, the response has not been universally positive, unfortunately. Others are responding with some pretty misinformed perspectives, arguing that shaving is a matter of "hygiene" (it isn't) and that it seems impossible to feel good about yourself if you aren't shaved everywhere (it absolutely isn't).
But Martinez seems generally unfazed by the mixed responses, as one could anticipate. Unfortunately, when anyone deviates from a cultural beauty norm, it tends to be met with a certain degree of skepticism, which is both uncalled for and yet another sign that we still have so far to go.
However, it wasn't the first time that Martinez got really honest about life, love, bodies, and motherhood on her Instagram recently. Just a few weeks prior, she posted a photo of her infant son, and shared a little bit about what life has been like with him.
"The sleep deprivation is brutal; the hormonal swings make you feel like you’re losing your mind. I felt ugly and dirty most of the time. The most difficult part was not feeling like 'me.' I am naturally social and outgoing. The first night we attempted to go out to dinner for my birthday, I nearly cried in the restaurant because I was overwhelmed by the strangers and leaving the house," Martinez began in the post.
She continued to explain in the same post why it's OK to want some privacy when you're recovering from childbirth, and encouraging others to continue to do what feels best for them.
So this is my message to you, dear mamas — protect yourself and be gentle to yourself in that sacred window. Do NOT look to Instagram moms (or anyone else for that matter) as a model for you "should" feel. It’s NATURAL to want to seclude yourself with baby. I didn’t allow any visitors besides close family for the first two weeks. Go at YOUR own pace. Do what feels good. It’s all about you and baby. Nourish yourself and stay in bed all day if you can. You’re healing. Ask for all the help you need. The chores and visitors and emails can wait till later. You are not alone in this experience!
Martinez, who was formerly a Bachelor contestant, is truly the voice of reason and inspiration that we all need and deserve. Her messages of acceptance, clarity, and self-love are so important, whether you're coping with the aftermath of childbirth or not.