Baby bumps come in all shapes and sizes. When endurance athlete Brittany Raven was 39 weeks pregnant, she was inundated with comments about her tummy being too small. “I am nearly six-feet tall with a long torso and brutally strong abs, so I didn’t show until around my 30th week and a lot of people expressed unsolicited concern over my baby’s health,” the Washington-based mountain runner and alpine climber tells Us Weekly. “One local healthcare professional tried to scare me by telling me my baby would be too small and [sick].”
Around that time, Raven had an idea to compare her belly with a photo of then-expecting plus-size model Tess Holliday, who received criticism for being too large.
throughout pregnancy I was so scared of how my body would look and feel after pregnancy. as a mind-body athlete, my body is my sacred vehicle for gnostic movement, my only home, my treasure. I couldn't bear the thought of ringing in my big 3-0 (two weeks from now!) in a body that didn't feel like home. so, after overthinking it too much this is me two weeks before pregnancy, twenty weeks pregnant, thirty nine weeks pregnant (and actually in labor), and one week postpartum. when I was at the gym each day taking these photos I did the same workout: ten pitches in the 5.10-5.11 range followed by a run. happy to report that, in that last image, I felt STRONGER than in the first image. I am sharing not to brag, to make others feel bad about their own unique journeys, or to put any 'should's out there. I share to dispel fear other pregnant athletes might hold about their own post-pregnancy bodies. please allow these images to broaden your idea of what a 'normal' pregnant and postpartum body looks like. once again I feel at home in my body - except this body just got done blood doping for ten months while wearing a progressive weight vest. I'm coming for you, Bust tha Move! #pregnantathlete
“In this image these two women are at about the same stage in their pregnancies - 39 weeks,” Raven wrote in her May 31 post, which just recently went viral. “That is the gorgeous @tessholliday looking boss on the left and me with the defined abs on the right. She is a voluptuous model and I am a sinewy mountain athlete. Both of us are shamed for our size — she for her roundness and me for my smallness.”
She continued: “Why does our society shame women whose bodies do not adhere to some narrow notion of false normalcy? … Pregnancy is tough enough without also being body shamed.”
The blogger — who welcomed a healthy baby girl named Rumi Wren on May 24 with her husband, Ryan — tells Us she is a huge fan of Holliday.
“As I followed Tess’ journey through her second pregnancy, I realized that the dialogue around my athletic body was very similar to the dialogue around her voluptuous body, just as fear-based, just as inappropriate,” says the first-time mom. “With that comparison, I hope women of all sizes can heal together and stop judging one another’s bodies.”
Can't get enough of Us? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter packed with the latest celeb news, hot pics and more!