What’s Up With All The 6-pack Pregnancy Bumpies?

update 5/24 7 pm: After being contacted by the Instagram star mentioned in this post, I’ve decided to remove their photo and likeness out of respect. They were not aware of the PR company pitching them to new mom bloggers like myself and is embarrassed. This is a case of bad PR but I still feel the same way about sexy bumpies and postpartum selfies that are unrealistic too soon.

The internet is weird in that I never know if I am seeing certain stories in my newsfeeds because of my interests or because everyone is seeing the same stuff. Lately, I’ve noticed an overwhelming amount of news on regular people, specifically Instagrammers and bloggers. I feel like Mashable and Us Weekly have gotten increasingly lazy with their reporting and now just reshare images from social media with captions like, “Pregnant blogger stuns in this 9 month pregnant bumpie.”

A bumpie is a selfie of your growing belly.

I didn’t get why these stories were becoming articles on sites I used to enjoy visiting until yesterday.

I got a press release about an Instagrammer who looks amazing just days after giving birth.

Why do Instagrammers now have PR companies pitching them… just 10 days after giving birth?! I wasn’t going to post anything but when I saw it on Us Weekly today, I had to because I was so curious why these online news sources were so lazy lately.

The PR company wanted to know if I wanted to share the blogger’s tips for looking like her 10 days postpartum.

One of the biggest personal challenges for a woman after giving birth is getting her post-pregancy body back in shape.  However, [removed], a NASM certified personal trainer specializing in women’s fitness/nutrition and social influencer with over 130K fit followers, has managed to come up with a healthy and easy strategy that has garnered major results already in just 7 days.

She would love to share some of her post baby body bounce back tips with you.  If you are interested in pursuing this, please let me know and I can coordinate an interview for you. I am even happy to send you a sample of her favorite item, the Belly Bandit, which she swears by and has proven to help her safely slim down her waistline in just 1 week!

What happened to a maternity leave? It’s obvious this was a publicity stunt – likely for Belly Bandit.

update 5/24 7 pm: I did find out that the PR team works for Belly Bandit, not the blogger. The blogger is however a Belly Bandit Ambassador.

I didn’t respond because I’m promoting a healthy post pregnancy life. I have my entire life to be judged on my appearance. Pregnancy has been the only time that I haven’t given a shit what people think. Why would I want to post tips that likely 90% of my readers will roll their eyes at? My uterus was still shrinking at this time and I was still really bloated, two things your diet and exercise plans have nothing to do with really. Also, I was busy caring for my son and dealing with mastitis to think about taking pictures of my progress.

I’m also not trying to mommy shame Instagrammers or celebrities who get back into shape really quick, good for them, really! I do wish I looked as good as them but I totally ate too many cookies pregnant to drop back so quick and now am dragging my feet because I don’t feel the need to look a certain way right now. Celebrities unfortunately, are not gifted this luxury. I just don’t want to people to think that these results are normal or something you can achieve without dedication throughout all of pregnancy and the following 10 days. I wanted chocolate, wine and carbs after Tommy was born. I think that is pretty normal from what I’ve heard from fellows moms.

No one expects you to have 6 pack abs so soon after giving birth so why create this standard? I purposely didn’t post pictures without my shirt on until 6 weeks when the doctor says you can start exercising despite looking the same since week 3. I didn’t want to make anyone feel bad (or good for that matter I guess) for not losing weight faster.

So anyway, if you’re curious why these new stories are news at all, there are PR companies pitching Instagram accounts to bloggers like me and news outlets as well through ambassador programs.

This is me 4 months postpartum.

4 months postpartum
I’m proud of my progress and don’t regret one cookie I ate, even though it took me 4 months instead of 10 days. I also uploaded a new workout video to my YouTube channel today featuring a quiet HIIT workout you can do while your baby is napping or perfect to do if you don’t have kids and live in an apartment where jumping is a no go.
I’m proud of my progress and don’t regret one cookie I ate, even though it took me 4 months instead of 10 days.

At Home Workout no textupdate 5/24 7pm: Lastly, I would like to add that there are more ads on social media than you know. I don’t know why people insist on not disclosing, which is illegal. These pregnancy posts are landing in mainstream media thanks to companies they work with who pay for publicity.

What’s Up With All The 6-pack Pregnancy Bumpies?

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25 Comments

  • Tricia
    Reply

    I really like this. Am I crazy that I didn’t even think about taking a selfie 10 days after giving birth? I was still so tired and busy with the newborn. It’s hard. I feel like everything on social media is an ad now!

  • Paula
    Reply

    As always, thanks for keeping it real, Sarah. I’m not a mom (yet), but it drives me nuts that we kowtow to marketing schemes that are based on the idea that growing and birthing a human isn’t sufficiently challenging (and rewarding) on its own; now you have to immediately hide the evidence by getting your “pre-baby bod” back ASAP. GAH! Pregnancy is such a different experience from one woman to the next, and acting like we can and should all have a six-pack two weeks later is as insulting as it is unhealthy. I’m glad you took a principled stand on this.

  • Patty
    Reply

    You’re awesome Sarah πŸ™‚ I enjoy reading the truth in your posts. I’m a longtime fan of yours and am so glad I can relate even more to you now that you’re a mommy! I’m a new mommy to an almost 9-month old. I work full-time and barely have time to buy groceries for myself! I’d love to see any quick recipes from you that require a short list of ingredients! Thanks a bunch!

  • Noel
    Reply

    You look amazing postpartum and I hope to look even remotely as good! Even having gained only the recommended 25lbs, I just haven’t kept up my workouts at all. I’m exhausted and grapple with nausea and mainly just want to lay down and nap all the time, between cookies of course. While I hope to get my body back to it’s normal average shape, I think 3-6 months is a much more realistic time frame and I prefer your message of walking the middle road between rest and self-love and easing back into fitness and diet more moderately. Thanks for being such an inspirational and grounded voice amongst fitness mamas and not giving in to the unhealthy trend of postpartum humble brags and PR! I appreciate your message and your restraint πŸ™‚

  • Angelica
    Reply

    You’re awesome & look great!! Miss you and hope all is well! I’ll be back visiting Boston in July -- hope to see you!!

  • Cari
    Reply

    I’m so tired of seeing posts like that too and glad you are sharing why there are so many in the media now! No doubt it was a paid sponsorship and who knows when that photo was really taken. It’s crazy that women think they have to get back into shape so quickly. I’m a personal trainer and 3 months postpartum with my second baby and still have 20lb to lose! You look great and you should take your time. It’s hard to be restrictive and also fit in really intense workouts when you are caring for a small baby and breastfeeding! Running is always what kept me in shape but it’s so hard to do when you have to time it around breastfeeding sessions and can’t wear your normal bra! I love all your posts πŸ™‚

  • Laurel
    Reply

    This does sound a little like body shaming, which we would never do to someone who was overweight. I just had baby 2 and happen to swear by the belly bandit (and breastfeeding, and a strong core when not pregnant!) myself. After about a week, I didn’t look too far off the posted photo either time. Everyone recovers differently. I don’t appreciate this article -- I’m sure even if it was a PR company, that woman is probably legit (and even if she isn’t, there are lots that are!) and very excited about how her body is bouncing back. Please don’t reinforce the “your body will never be the same, there is no hope” message that we see more than enough of.

    • Sarah
      Reply

      I don’t think I’m reinforcing “your body will never be the same, there is no hope” message at all. Please let me know where you see this. I have 5 lbs to lose and am 4 months postpartum. I think that is pretty good and have high hopes I’ll lose it rather soon.

  • Mouna
    Reply

    I actually have to comment and say that I feel that what you did here is opposite of what you say you’re doing…. You have completely Mommy shamed the instagrammerr. Just like you, the instagrammer is trying to make a living through her healthy lifestyle and she is a mom as well. You don’t know her story and don’t know her lifestyle or if she actually eats cookies here and there as well. All bodies are different and all bodies bounce back at different rates. I’m four months post partum as well and my son was born the exact same day as Tommy was and I’m not going to lie, at first I followed your blog excitedly because as an excercise junkie living in Boston, I felt could relate to you, but then you started to post selfies (or ab selfies?) of your progress (whether it was six weeks or ten days is irrelevant because to many new moms, myself included, six weeks is when we finally start to feel normal again) and I felt disappointed that you had turned the message of fitness/health after baby into one of unrealistic and competitive measures.

    • Sarah
      Reply

      Thanks for commenting mouna. I appreciate your feedback as this is what I really didn’t want to do. I want to be a voice of motivation not discouragement. Given my “job” I have posted 4 ab selfies, mainly to show that staying fit during pregnancy helps you get back to where you were pre baby. I tried to do it tastefully and your feedback has let me know that my mission wasn’t accomplished as i tried. I’ll take your comment into consideration moving forward! I hope you are enjoying new mommyhood as much as I am!

      • Mouna
        Reply

        Thanks Sarah! I realize my comment may have come across as a bit harsh (mommyhood is going great but on sleep regression days it’s a whole other mental game!). I think you’re doing great and should be very proud of your progress. I understand you posted the ab selfies as a way to show that staying fit during pregnancy helps with the weight loss afterwards, but the thing is that many people do do that and still struggle afterwards due to multiple reasons--lack of sleep being a big one. Sleep is huge and until that is established, you are essentially storing everything you eat because your hormones continue to be strongly out of whack for a while. As someone with a baby who wasn’t such a great sleeper from the start, who was pretty active and fit during pregnancy and gained only 20lbs (and believe me I ate my fair share of cookies as well, but I ate lots of veggies and protein and was at a good BMI to start), and started excercising starting two weeks after giving birth daily using strength workouts, spin classes, barre, running, and cut out chocolate and dairy, I feel stronger but am still 8-10lbs away from my prepregnancy weight. It’s easy to assume that other moms aren’t trying or weren’t active during pregnancy but in reality every situation is different. For example my son has been a terrible sleeper from the start, giving one or two 4-hour stretches before entering the four month sleep regression and then waking up every hour or two hours. Sleep is huge when it comes to proper metabolism and hormone balance (necessary for fat loss etc.).

        Mommy shaming is easy to do without realizing, and in a time when the media makes everyone feel enough pressure about doing things a certain way, this is a time to stick together and support moms, moms to be, and non-moms! Everyone is trying and fighting their own struggles and what you see isn’t necessarily what you get, including with the instragrammer.

        Anyway enough 5am ramblings ???? I enjoy reading your blog and I apologize again if my comment was harsh. Keep up the great work!!

  • Sherri D
    Reply

    I find your posts to be honest, refreshing, and most importantly informative and helpful. I feel like you always have the best intentions of your readers. And btw, this post is the opposite of body shaming so whoever is saying that needs to re-read the post. I will be bookmarking these posts for when I have a child someday; thank you!

  • Fiona MacDonald
    Reply

    I’m pretty sure I follow the person you’re speaking of ..or oddly there is someone who follows that similar description also on Instagram and I did have to say as much as I was like ‘wowww awesome’ I know that fitness ‘star’s had amazingly strong bodies to begin with and with or without help their bodies would bounce back…as a mother of a 10 month old with still 10 lbs to lose and often feeling discouraged and questioning my will power to continue to ‘work’ towards my pre pregnancy weight I often reflect on wondering if that is a goal I want right now. Add sleep deprivation and an on the go crawler..it might just not be my time right now …but I feel like if you’re going to put yourself out there saying ‘wow look at me I bounced back and I used this…people are going to pick up on that and use it to their advantage’ so you’re not intentionally trying to shame this person …but they didn’t hide the fact that they are proud of how quickly they bounced back and what they did to get there ….not sure if this even makes sense.I’m too tired..lol..but I love your honesty and that’s what we all need more of πŸ™‚

  • Rachael
    Reply

    Seriously THANK you for posting this and for your honesty. I’m 9 months PP and still not where I want to be physically but I do my best every day and proud of the fact I am still BFing. I don’t think its realistic and/or helpful for women to see other women’s unrealistic PP bodies. That’s not the norm and we should really show what is and encourage and support women to be healthy AND safe in their PP recovery. Thanks again!!

  • Aimee
    Reply

    This is why you are one of the only bloggers I trust. You are always so honest and I love it! Please keep the honesty coming!

  • Hollie
    Reply

    I agree with you girl! Like someone said, as if growing and birthing a baby isn’t enough, let’s beat ourselves up to lose the weight. Not gonna lie, my 4 month postpartum tummy looks nowhere good as yours, but I ain’t hating because I wasn’t fit to begin with! I respect the hard work and dedication you put into yourself but you’re not judgmental of someone like me who didn’t. Also, it’s hard to keep the perspective when social media is cramming crap down our throats. I don’t think it’s shaming at all. Like you said, our bodies are each unique and will bounce back in their own way. Advertising a 7 day slim down is selling false hope IMO. Thanks for keepin it real.

  • Rebecca Dawkins
    Reply

    You look so fit and sexy. How do you do that..??? You know I always keep myself updated with the new fitness programs and exercises, keep my diet in control, but I guess I can never get a figure like you. Thanks for sharing!

  • Chrissy
    Reply

    Good for you Sarah! As a fellow fitness blogger (albeit not with nearly the following you have!) and PR pro (so I know how this works), I applaud you for sticking w/ your positive message and values!

  • Cassie
    Reply

    I’ve seen way too many postpartum photos nowadays and some of them are promoting such unrealistic body portrayals. I’m glad that there are a lot of new mothers out there who are encouraging others to embrace the stretchmarks, cellulite and loose skin after giving birth through social media!

  • Sashea
    Reply

    Sarah I like you and enjoy your blog but this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
    You posted an almost flat post-baby ab selfie just 6 weeks after having your son, which many might say is unrealistic. Heck some might say your 4 month post-baby ab selfie in this current blog is unrealistic. So I don’t think you should shame another fit mom for posting hers. Everyone’s body is different. Some women regain their flat abs almost immediately after birth (like my sis-in-law who was a professional runner) and others take almost a year or longer.
    I’m a fitness blogger who’s almost 6 months pregnant with my first and I’ve been reviewing/ reading a ton of pre and post pregnancy journeys of fit women and find the information(including yours) to be so helpful.
    It’s good to know that I can still maintain my fit activities during pregnancy and it’s also good to know that I can have my pre-pregnancy body back after the baby is born. I’m not gonna put a timeline on it, but knowing it’s possible is good enough because for years, many people were conditioned to think that it wasn’t possible.

    I didn’t get to see your post before it was edited, but if the Instagram star you referenced is Sia, I’v actually read her blogs and found them really helpful. Even her post on how she got her pre-pregnancy body back in 10 days. Do I think everyone can get their pre-pregnancy body back after 10 days? Absolutely NOT. But it’s still great that she did and shared it in the same way that you have been sharing your postpartum journey.

    As a fitness blogger I can totally respect your decision to not promote/share a product because it’s not right for you or your audience. I just think you could’ve gone about it differently without shaming a noter fit mom. The internet does enough of that.
    Thanks for sharing your prenatal fitness journey and I look forward to seeing the rest of your postpartum journey πŸ™‚

    • Sarah
      Reply

      Thank you Sashea for this well written comment. I think you bring up some really good points. I guess success is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t feel like I had flat abs at 6 weeks out but shared that photo because I thought it was good progress and something that was done without dieting or exercising hardly at all. For me, it was a picture to show what exercising before your baby is born can help you do post labor even if your diet is still filled with dessert and wine. But I digress, in that you are totally right and my progress for someone else probably is not realistic at all. I appreciate comments like this because it’s not always easy to see the other side of an argument when there are emotions involved. I’d love to share my correspondence with said blogger but that would be unprofessional, albeit how unprofessional she may have been which elevated my own passion and feelings on my post. Thanks again and best of luck on your own pre/postnatal journey!

  • Sara
    Reply

    Oh Mama . . . you know I have so much to say about this . . . I would have loved to have seen the pic. It’s too bad because I’m actually a big supporter of the Belly Bandit, especially because it helps those of us with diastasis recti (DR) so much. Those are the moms I really feel for too because despite what they do, if their DR is bad they won’t see flat abs for a great deal longer than 10 days or even 4 months. I, for one, am glad you wrote this. Furthermore, you look amazeballs, as I knew you would. XOXO

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