Sophie Turner is getting noticed on Instagram — not for her killer summer outfit — but for her abs, which users called both "unhealthy" and admirable for a mother.
On Wednesday, the Game of Thrones star posted a mirror selfie showing off a blue bikini top, a pair of blue Louis Vuitton shorts and a blue-and-red jacket. "Oh Louis my love," the 25-year-old captioned her post with almost 500,000 likes. But the comments, a mix of scrutiny and adulation, zeroed in on her figure: "I'm starting to think the baby was a figment of my imagination," "How [does] your body look so good after having a baby" and "Didn’t you [have] a baby? How the f do you look so good?"
Some were … blunt. "You lost so much weight! I mean no bad, I just want to say that I hope you are not battling with any kind of physical or mental illness!" someone wrote. Others said, "Someone get this girl a double cheeseburger" and "Too skinny."
"Honestly when you think about the fact that she has the money to hire a personal trainer, professional nutritionist and a nanny to look after her baby while she works out, it isn't really surprising or attainable for the rest of us," one wrote. "Still looks great though."
Last year, Turner and her husband Joe Jonas welcomed their first child, a daughter named Willa, with the actress quickly taking to motherhood. "It's my favorite job I've ever had," she wrote on Instagram in April.
Another responsibility Turner takes seriously: body positivity for new moms. In January, when Blake Lively shared that designer clothing didn't fit her after becoming a mom, which she described as "alienating and confusing," Turner commented, "Yes @blakelively, one more time for the people in the back!!!" And the British actress shared a meme that read, "You Never Lost Your Body After Baby! It's OK And Normal That Your Body Changed. You Don't Need A Smaller Body To Be Worthy!"
Turner's defenses come at a time when selfies are perceived as political or cultural statements. When Emily Ratajkowski, who gave birth to her child Sylvester Apollo Bear in March, posted a photo of herself modeling clothing from her line Inamorata, she was accused of "causing serious issues in our society" and sending "a very poor image" to new moms.
"For all the moms who are struggling: why should we bash on this new mom? … Is she only allowed to post a photo of her body when you can clearly see she just had a baby, just so other moms feel great?" asked one user in the thread. "What a way to be supportive … some moms are back in shape quick, some aren’t. That’s life."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers weight recommendations for mothers carrying single and twin births based on the Body Mass Index, with the average pregnancy weight gain somewhere between 25 and 35 pounds (the organization has additional guidance for those pregnant with triplets or more). And pregnancy weight, affected by fluids, hormones and enlarged organs, doesn't necessarily disappear after birth or ever.
"Many women still look pregnant after giving birth because the uterus expands to 200 times its normal size," Jennifer Meyers, a certified nurse-midwife and Mayo Clinic spokesperson, tells Yahoo Life. "It shrinks during a process called involution, which can take two weeks."
However, bodies don't all heal in the same way. "Diet and fitness habits before and during pregnancy matter, along with age and genetics — I've seen teenage moms leave the hospital wearing their pre-pregnancy jeans," says Meyers. "Some women can birth multiple children and have flat stomachs while those who gave birth once retain belly fat. There is a wide continuum of 'normal.'"
And criticizing anyone's postpartum appearance is never OK, says Meyers. "Body shaming is body shaming regardless of the body."
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