Stretching stomach syndrome – just another awesome thing about pregnancy and postpartum that no one likes to talk about or share on social media. 

Until now.

One brave AF mum has gone where most new (non-celebrity, non-spanx-wearing) mums dare never to go – to the realm of Instagram. Armed with nothing but her phone and a bra, US mum Kristen Sullivan shares a photo of her stomach before and after pregnancy.

It took me 4 days to decide whether or not to share this. But recently there have been moms reaching out to me based on some things I've shared, so here goes. The left pic is 3 days before I delivered Gavin (my 2nd child), the right pic is 3 weeks postpartum. I'm sharing this to show moms that sometimes it doesn't matter if you're thin, ate right and exercised during pregnancy, sometimes your body grows in such a way that simply doesn't allow you to "bounce back" in friggen 3 weeks. I feel like all I've been seeing is new moms sharing their amazing postpartum bods, 11 days after birth, 2 weeks after birth, etc. And while that's wonderful for them, for many others, KNOW that it's not realistic! While I won't be totally sure till 6 weeks, I have a strong feeling that I've got #diastasisrecti (separation of the abs), in which case I'm determined to get the PT I need to heal. I've also been wearing a postpartum corset for extra support. But in the meantime, I'm giving my body a chance to breathe. Did you SEE how far my belly stretched?! There is no race to bounce back moms. We'll get there!! #postpartum

A post shared by Kristen Sullivan (@krisrosulli) on

On the left is Kristen three days before she delivered her second child, Gavin. On the right she stands three weeks post-partum. Same phone, similar pose, same bra, even. The only thing that drastically changes from the first to the second picture is the massive baby living inside her uterus.

The side-by-side selfies showcase just how much a woman’s stomach endures during pregnancy and prove that mums really do possess superhero-like stretching powers.

Take that Elastagirl

Kristen’s post pregnancy stomach selfie comes with an incredibly important and powerful message, one that all new mums need to remember, especially when staring at their new body in the mirror and wondering when they will “bounce back.”

As Kristen writes, “I’m sharing this to show mums that sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re thin, ate right and exercised during pregnancy, your body grows in such a way that simply doesn’t allow you to ‘bounce back’ in friggin’ three weeks.”

“You pushed this tiny human out of you”

Like it or not, pregnancy is going to take its toll on your body. Your stomach will stretch. Your skin will sag. And your breasts will swell beyond recognition (and then sag beyond repair). But you just grew a fully developed infant. And then, you pushed this tiny human out of you.

So give your body a break, dammit.

As Kristen powerful postpartum picture and message reminds us, “There is no race to bounce back moms. We’ll get there!!!”

Want more insight into the less-than-glamorous world of motherhood? Check out Why This Ordinary Snap of a Mum Doing the Groceries is Going Viral.


Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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