mom

‘Bachelorette’ Desiree Hartsock Siegfried Shows What Women’s Bodies Really Look Like After Birth

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

When you hear the words “postpregnancy body,” it’s usually in reference to a woman whose body miraculously snapped back to prepregnancy size right after giving birth.

But the reality is that most women’s postpregnancy bodies do not look like a tabloid photo, and that’s perfectly normal. Desiree Hartsock Siegfried is here to prove it.

The former Bachelorette star posted a selfie on Instagram of her body just four days after giving birth. She and her husband, Chris Siegfried, welcomed their second son, Zander Cruz, on January 12.

“I’m not typically one to document or especially share body image pics but the more and more postpartum pics I see from you all — the more empowering I feel the message can be to new moms — or anyone for that matter!” the mom wrote.

The photo shows Desiree in just a bra and underwear, with her postpartum belly out and proud.

She wrote, “So here I am 4 days postpartum looking like I’m still pregnant but feeling like a supermodel/warrior.”

Desiree Hartsock Siegfried and her husband Chris Siegfried have been together ever since Chris won Desiree’s heart over on season nine of The Bachelorette. They got married in January 2015.

Since then, they’ve been living their own version of happily ever after, which includes two adorable kids.

Their first son, Asher Wrigley, was born at the end of 2016.

And they just welcomed their second son, Zander.

“He is every bit as sweet and snuggly as he looks,” Desiree captioned one ridiculously cute photo of the baby.

She continued, “Can’t wait to share more but for now baby and I are getting much needed rest as we spend time with family and are both doing great!”

What Desiree did not experience? The instant “bounce back” that so many people expect from moms, especially moms in the spotlight.

On the contrary, Desiree shared a selfie to show moms everywhere that it’s normal to still have a larger-than-usual belly after giving birth. She wrote that she’s “looking like I’m still pregnant but feeling like a supermodel/warrior.”

She also wrote that moms shouldn’t be shamed for how their bodies look after pregnancy.

“It is an absolute miracle what our bodies can do to carry and deliver a baby and I’m always so fascinated by the sheer wisdom and nature of it all,” she wrote.

She continued:

“The fourth trimester is no joke and it needs to be recognized that a woman’s pregnancy journey doesn’t end when the baby arrives — there’s so much healing and recovery that needs to take place physically and mentally when lack of sleep and roller coaster hormones are at work. Not to mention the post cramping the uterus does to contract back. 😳 it’s like labor all over again.”

Most importantly, Desiree wrote that new moms should be admired for what they’ve just been through — not criticized or nitpicked. She said:

“As a society we need to embrace the beauty of the body during this time and not expect a new mom to just ‘bounce’ back like her body didn’t just go through battle. It’s feeling beautiful and courageous in our own skin no matter the stretch marks, extra weight and whatever else is going on.”

She concluded:

“Long story short. You’re awesome, your body rocks and you’re beautiful!!”

It’s a message that many moms haven’t heard nearly enough.

With over a thousand comments, it’s clear that Desiree’s words resonated. Moms from all walks of life, and in all stages of motherhood, feel unfair pressure to look “perfect” all the time — especially right after welcoming a newborn.

 

Some moms were glad that she brought up postpartum uterine contractions, which somehow never get discussed openly.

“I’m so surprised that it’s not something talked about more. It’s like, wasn’t I already done with labor?” Desiree agreed.

Others added additional postpartum challenges to the conversation that many moms can completely relate to.

Some moms brought up the struggle that is breastfeeding.

 

And most importantly, a lot of moms thanked Desiree for being so honest — especially first-time moms who don’t know quite what to expect from the experience.

Posts like Desiree’s take just a little bit of that pressure off new moms.

After birth, new mamas should be free to focus on their health, their family, and the miracle that just took place… not how their stomachs look in pants.