This Body Positive Influencer Was Shamed for Wearing the 'Wrong Choice' Bathing Suit on Instagram

Comments like this one "stem from insecurity," influencer Mary Lauren Gunn tells Health.

When Mary Lauren Gunn, a mom of three, shared a cute video of herself wearing a swimsuit and jumping into a lake in her Instagram stories, most people had only nice things to say. But this is social media, and when you have more than 450,000 followers, you have to expect some bad along with the good. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to take it.

Gunn shared a screengrab of her video on her grid, along with some of the more negative messages she received. One of them had a whole lot of snark in one short sentence.

"Maybe that swimsuit was the wrong choice."

"I was in the frame for .5 seconds as I jumped into the water," Gunn wrote in the caption. "Just enough time for someone to spot something I may be insecure about and exploit it."

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She also quoted from the song Saturn by the band Sleeping At Last: "How rare and beautiful it is to even exist."

"I wish I could say I am no longer fazed by comments like that—I guess that's the ultimate goal," Gunn tells Health. "But I'm human, and they can get the better of me sometimes."

For Gunn, comments like this one prompt a physical reaction. "I start sweating, my stomach drops," she reveals. "But it doesn't last long and my head kicks in, telling me they're wrong. I've come far enough that I can see the difference and don't let it affect my choices or behavior."

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Despite the negativity, Gunn believes it's important to show the real side of women's bodies on social media—the angles we usually avoid and the impact of pregnancy and childbirth. "We need to normalize what is normal," says Gunn. She believes that strong mental health is all about confidence, about "not conforming to these molds and knowing you are beautiful no matter your shape or size."

The irony is that this lack of confidence is possibly at the root of those negative comments. "I wish I had a solid answer for why people comment on women's bodies and clothes, but I think it stems from insecurity—from projecting feelings they may have about their own bodies onto others," suggests Gunn.

"In any situation, our overall well-being must come first," she adds. "Are you happy? Are you staying active? Are you eating and sleeping enough?" And during the postpartum period, "How are you coping with this new life? Because after a baby, everything changes. It's a beautiful, wonderful thing and should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity."

Other comments Gunn received encouraged her to get in touch for help with "losing weight after baby," and even offered products to help her "lose that baby weight."

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"Why is it the goal to have the same body we had before birthing babies?" Gunn wrote in her caption. "That is a very silly and frankly unattainable goal. There is a good chance our physical bodies will never be the same. And that is OK!!!"

She continued, "Our bodies change. Our hips widen, our skin stretches, our hormones are like rollercoasters causing all sorts of ruckus, and our boobs will sag, (and weirdly, my feet are a half size bigger.) That's what our beautiful, capable, incredible bodies do for us so that we can bring these babies into the world! To say we need to bounce back immediately after pregnancy is unrealistic and a horrible game we play. Can we please stop playing?"

Amen. Oh, and about that swimsuit? "No, it was not a bad choice," Gunn wrote. "It's comfortable. End of story."

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