There is a lot of pressure on new mothers to make their bodies immediately spring back to their post-pregnancy shapes.
With a lot of help – both with their bodies and their babies – celebrities often seem to get back in shape unfeasibly quickly. But for the majority of normal mums, this just isn’t possible.
And one mother has just shared a picture of her breastfeeding her baby in the bath in a bid to encourage others to celebrate their bodies.
The image shows 26-year-old Emmy Waller, a mother of four, lying in a bath and cradling her 12-week-old baby Alice as she breastfeeds.
Her photo comes after Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah had a photoshoot to hit back at trolls who’d criticized her figure after giving birth.
Waller, a microbiologist from Leeds, Yorkshire, said: “Of course the thing about the photo is that I thought I looked awful with stretch marks and a big belly, but people have been coming to me saying it’s the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen.
“Now I don’t care what my body looks like – it’s made my baby and the result of that is I have a saggy belly.
“I only had my baby 12 weeks ago. Women’s bodies are strong and powerful, but I’m no superwoman. It’s just something natural and this is how I look and I’ve inspired other women to feel amazing too.
“Many others have posted their own breastfeeding pictures on social media as well. Nobody looks perfect at the end of the day but women have just got to embrace who they are.
“Our bodies are full of strength and beauty.”
Despite the pressure, it’s important for mothers to remember that their bodies have actually just achieved the most incredible thing, and what you look like really shouldn’t matter at all.
However, Alice was born jaundiced and so was routinely taken away to be given antibiotics and found it difficult to feed.
But through determination, Emmy is now celebrating more than three months of breastfeeding.
Emmy said: ‘Alice and I are extremely close, we have an amazing bond because she gets everything from me.
‘When I walk into the room, she hears me and her eyes light up.
‘In the photograph when Alice is looking up at me, she does a little smile and it’s just the best feeling in the world.
‘She gets cuddles from me, comfort from me, milk from me. Everything she needs comes from me and my body.’
Emmy claims that while her breastfeeding journey has been a dream, sharing the image wasn’t just to promote that but to show all women, mums or not, that they should love their bodies for how strong and beautiful they are.
She also hopes women who are struggling to feed their babies naturally or are just undecided, will seek help and advice to help them continue breastfeeding their children.
Emmy said: ‘The feeling and bond breastfeeding gives you is amazing. You’re feeding the baby from your body and nothing else.
‘Alice was so ill when she was born and had to keep being taken from me. Then she lost almost nine per cent of her baby weight and the nurses said she would have to be topped up with formula if she didn’t start putting on weight.
‘I was exhausted and really worried, but I was expressing and feeding her the colostrum with a syringe.
‘If somebody sees the picture and thinks about breastfeeding, it’s worth showing the photo. I hope it encourages people.