Earlier this week, Blake Lively appeared on the Australian morning show “Sunrise” to promote her upcoming film, The Shallows. And while many are referring to The Shallows as “Jaws for a new generation” — in fact, the movie is receiving rave reviews from both critics and the general public — Lively’s interview stood out not because of what she said about the film, but because of what she said about her body, and women’s bodies in general.
You see, during the interview Lively was asked her how she prepared for such a physically demanding role. She explained that she had to do a lot of endurance training. (A lot.) However, Lively also noted that all of this training came just eight months after giving birth to her first child, James, when her body was not nearly ready.
The interviewer, Nelson Aspen, then quips: “See, now when the tabloids say, ‘How did she get her figure back post baby?’ You say, ‘Well you do a movie like this.’”
And that’s when Lively spoke up, not against Aspen or his comment, but about the ludicrous pressure placed on women to drop the pregnancy weight:
“It’s so unfair that it’s so celebrated, like, ‘This is what you could look like after having a baby!’ And I think that a woman’s body after having a baby is pretty amazing. You don’t need to be Victoria’s Secret ready right away, because your body just did the most incredible miracle that life has to offer. You gave birth to a human being. [And] I would really like to see that celebrated.”
As both a woman and the mother of a young girl, I couldn’t be happier to hear this message coming from Lively because I didn’t stop to appreciate my post-baby form. I didn’t acknowledge the stretched out skin along my abdomen for what is — proof of the miracle that grew within — and instead, days after giving birth, shifted my focus back to my body. Back to what I wanted to lose and tighten, thin out, or tone up. And while no one in my life was telling me I was fat or unsexy, no one was telling me I had to lose 10 pounds or 20 to be pretty, I was telling myself these things.
I was my own worst critic.
But Lively is right: A woman’s body does look pretty amazing — during pregnancy, during childbirth, and in the days, weeks, and months that follow. Our bodies look pretty damn amazing no matter what shape, size, or form they take. And not only should pregnancy and childbirth, but every mother should be celebrated. Every woman should be celebrated. And every body should be celebrated.
Every. Last. One.