I give major props to any woman who gives birth to a child. While I’m not a parent myself, I understand how emotional it can be, and I’ve seen how a body changes before and after birth. It’s truly extraordinary.
Along with the pressure to be “perfect” in normal life, moms everywhere are pressured to be stick-thinned directly after having a baby — which is absurd!
Elise Grossman, a mom of three from Australia, recently gave birth to her daughter, Willa.
In a series of intimate Instagram photos, Elise had a photographer capture Willa’s birth as well as Elise’s postpartum body. She did this in hopes to end the stigma surrounding “bouncing back” and used the photos as a way to express her love for her body after she gave birth.
“I was in pain, and I was overcome by a flood of emotions,” Elise wrote, adding that she was “elated to have welcomed our beautiful girl and so empowered and proud of what my body and I had just done!”
Keep scrolling to see the beautiful, raw photos.
In July 2017, Elise and her husband Sage were expecting their third child.
Elise gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Willa.
The new mom not only shared photos of her bundle of joy, she also had a photographer take intimate photos of her body after giving birth to help start a conversation about body image.
On July 14, 2017, Elise posted this candid photo of her naked body a few short hours after giving birth.
Let’s talk postpartum bodies! I asked @belleverdiglionephotography to take this photo, just hours after giving birth to Willa, in my rawest and most vulnerable state. I was in pain and I was overcome by a flood of emotions. Elated to have welcomed our beautiful girl and so empowered and proud of what my body and I had just done! It’s a strange feeling to look down and still see a bump, even though you’re holding your baby in your arms, even after doing it three times. It’s not easy to go home with a baby and still have to wear maternity clothes. With my first I was adamant I would just “bounce back”. Everyone would say “you’re young, you’ll loose the baby weight in no time!” But you know what, I didn’t, I never have in fact. With each baby I’ve gained a few more kilos and a few more stretch marks. I used to feel the need to cover up in this newborn stage, I didn’t want to see my body in this state, so why would anyone else? It’s taken me three babies, but I’ve finally realised this postpartum body isn’t something to hide! I am beyond proud for what this body has given and sacralised. I am thankful that my body is able to carry and birth babies naturally. I am NOT ashamed of my (many) new stripes and my postpartum body. And neither should you! Let’s celebrate postpartum bodies, in all their glory. The female body is incredible and I am so proud of what mine has done!
She continued to share more photos of her postpartum belly to help other women feel empowered by their own.
“No one told me the reality of the fourth trimester. I had no idea you could still look so pregnant even after giving birth,” Elise wrote. “Just like many women do, I too used to look up to the media, celebrities who would show off their supermodel like post-baby bodies just weeks after giving birth! I thought thats how it would be for me too.”
But after giving birth, Elise realized that her body did not look like that. But instead of getting upset, Elise accepted her body. “There’s so much pressure from society and from ourselves to look a certain way post-baby, but for many that’s not the case, and that’s OK!”
“When I went home from hospital four days after giving birth, still looking six months pregnant, I thought I must have done something wrong,” she wrote.
Elise documented every step of Willa coming into this world and proved just how miraculous having a baby is.
Elise posted raw photos of her child moments after being born to show the reality of pregnancy. She also wrote detailed captions about every second of Willa’s birth.
Elise doesn’t feel the need to edit out natural stretch marks from her pregnancy.
“With each baby I’ve gained a few more kilos and a few more stretch marks. I used to feel the need to cover up in this newborn stage, I didn’t want to see my body in this state, so why would anyone else?” she wrote. “It’s taken me three babies, but I’ve finally realized this postpartum body isn’t something to hide!”
Along with belly shots, Elise also uploaded photos of Willa feeding for the first time to help normalize the stigma behind breastfeeding.
“It’s not been the easiest breastfeeding journey so far, troubles latching, bleeding nipples, a weak suck, nipple shields, a flat nipple, constantly unlatching!” she said about this photo.
Elise opted for a water birth with Willa.
She wrote: “With the second contraction the head was fully born. Another short moment to catch my breath as I reached down to feel baby’s head and long hair swish in the water. One more big push and baby flew out!!”
Elise can be seen here with Willa moments after giving birth.
“I am thankful that my body is able to carry and birth babies naturally,” she said.
Again, to curb any stigma around breastfeeding, Elise makes sure to post photos of her children feeding. “Where you’ll find us most of the time,” she said.
Elise posted this before and after photo with Willa inside her belly and holding her.
38 weeks in, 13 days out! Embracing this new body of mine, greasy hair and milk stains (if you dare zoom in) Thank you for all the love on my postpartum post last night! Every time I go to reply I burst into tears I’m just so darn proud of women and mothers everywhere and the amazing things our bodies do!
Thanks to Elise’s photos, parents everywhere can help continue the conversation around postpartum bodies and help end the stigma around what women should and shouldn’t look like.
Please SHARE this photo on Facebook with friends and family!