The stories of Maria Kang aka“What’s Your Excuse Mom” and fitness blogger Caroline Berg Eriksen who posted a selfie of her toned physique less than four days after giving birth, caused a lot of backlash and raised a lot of questions regarding the body image standards new mothers are expected to meet soon after giving birth. Meanwhile, Taryn Brumfitt, a 35-year-old Australian mother chose to tackle the same subject, but from a completely new perspective, gained a lot of popularity for promoting a more realistic body image.
She struggled with her own body image so much she even contemplated getting plastic surgery to get back her pre-baby figure, but changed her mind while watching her 3 year old daughter play and realizing she won’t be able to teach her to love her body if she can’t do it herself, so she set out to learn how to do it and gained a lot of recognition in the process.
Mrs Brumfitt posted two photos of her body pre and post pregnancy on her website Body Image Movement, photos which went viral, having 3.6 million hits and being shared by almost 20,000 people on Facebook. If the first photo shows her looking toned posing for a fitness competition, the second one shows her post pregnancy body which showed the signs of having a baby. Her focus was on loving and accepting one’s body with imperfections and adopting a balanced view when it comes to body image.
Taryn, who was praised for promoting a realistic view on post baby bodies via her website, also shed light on the amount of effort getting a body like Maria Kang’s entails and the sacrifices that must be made to attain it by speaking about the amount of work she needed to get fit for the fitness competition: “It took 15 weeks of very hard training (much like an athlete) and 100% discipline with my diet, but I did it, I lost a lot of weight”, she wrote adding that no one seemed to have been aware of the “blood, sweat and tears” that went into it. More importantly, doing so made her feel like a selfish mother for not spending enough time with her kids, concluding that: “To look like she does is (for most people) completely doable, if you are willing to sacrifice most of the things that you love. And I wasn’t willing to do that.”
Though Mrs Brumfitt isn’t striving for a perfect body, she does her best to maintain a healthy diet and an active lifestyle and she sees herself as a health advocate, but one who also focuses on emotional health in addition to physical health. She urges women to love their bodies “before, during and after” and to avoid judging other women’s bodies based on superficial first impressions, be it age, weight, size or fitness.