"Today I committed an act of radical self-love."

By Christina Oehler
Updated September 03, 2019

Every new mom knows to expect her body to change during pregnancy; she's growing a tiny human inside it, after all. But as much as our culture collectively celebrates her baby bump, it's just as important to appreciate her body after birth, too. That's exactly what Carly Wright is doing.

On Tuesday, Wright took to Instagram to shared her journey back to the world of body confidence after delivering her three-month-old son, Reef. She posted a photo of herself pushing a stroller while wearing a sports bra and shorts, showing off every sag and stretch mark of her postpartum body.

“Today I committed an act of radical self-love. In this sunshine, in public, I let the sun graze my skin in all its postpartum glory,” she wrote in her caption. “My new normal. Cellulite. Stretch marks. Saggy skin. My body is beautifully unfamiliar right now. [So] we are getting reacquainted.”

“Was this easy? Hell no. Did I get dirty looks? Unfortunately yes,” she continued. “But this is my reality. Breastfeeding didn’t melt the weight off like I was told. In fact, I gained weight.”

“But, it’s part of my postpartum life. Radical self-love means loving where you’re at while you’re working towards where you want to be. This is 13 weeks postpartum. Ups. Downs. Tears. Rage. Apathy. Resentment. Joy. Love beyond measure,” she added.

Wright, who lives in San Diego, has actually built a career helping new moms adjust to life postpartum; she's an anxiety coach and is currently training to be a post-birth doula. Despite her dedication to helping other mothers, she tells Health that coming to terms with pregnancy-related body changes is tough for everyone—including herself.

“I had been struggling a bit with feeling connected to and proud of my newly postpartum body and feeling pretty lonely in this stage of life,” Wright says. “Always having been fit, it's been an adjustment to slowly but surely make progress in my postpartum fitness. On top of everyone telling me that the weight would just ‘melt off’ since I was breastfeeding, I started to feel anxious because I was actually gaining weight!”

Wright explains that the morning the photo was taken, she just wanted to take a walk in the sunshine. But the heat was so intense, she took off her shirt—figuring it could inspire other moms to put their own comfort over how their body might be perceived by others.

“I'd love for other new moms to know they're not alone in what they're feeling in the postpartum stage. I think social media is a great tool for connection, but it has also placed some really unrealistic expectations on what motherhood really looks like,” she says. “I hope they feel empowered to define motherhood on their terms and what it can look like for them. It can be messy, imperfect, joyful, fun, hard and easy all at the same time.”

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