Model Behavior? This New Mom Walks The Catwalk Nine Days After Giving Birth

I almost spit out my double-fudge Oreos when viewing these photos of 32-year-old model Anna Freemantle. The one on the left is Freemantle at five months pregnant, the one on the right is Freemantle pre-pregnancy. (Can you spot the the difference?) But that’s not even what got me all worked up. It’s the fact that this model walked the runway nine days after giving birth to her second child, a boy named Leo.

Now before you go accusing me of judging Freemantle – who has modeled for everyone from Louis Vuitton to Valentino – know that I’m not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I think she is one lucky woman to have such awesome genes (I’m jealous), and I think it’s cool that she’s doing what works for her and not succumbing to what she’s expected be doing. But what I can’t wrap my head around is how any mother, no matter what her circumstances, could have the energy and mental capacity to work so soon after having a baby.

It reminds me of a former boss who, exactly eight days after giving birth – via c-section, no less – to her second child, showed up at work (at a woman’s magazine touting a healthy work-life balance). I figured she was there for a meeting, or maybe even a quick ‘hey, I’m still alive’ visit, but she was actually there to work – that entire day and every day following. It was mind-boggling for the entire staff (keep in mind that in Canada, where I live, we’re entitled to a 52-week maternity leave). Again, I wasn’t judging her but I was irritated by the fact that she was setting a dangerous precedent. It’s like, if she can show up for full-time work eight days after having baby (and major abdominal surgery), why can’t everyone?

The reason is because we’re human. Some of us have postpartum depression. Others are simply blue. Some of us have long and painful recoveries (from c-sections, of course, but anyone out there had an episiotomy? Traumatizing). And all of us, as far as I know, are exhausted. And irritable. Oh, and maybe, just maybe, we actually want to hang out with our babies, get to know them a bit, bond.

That said, if a woman chooses to work right away for whatever reason, that’s her right and I respect it. I just hope that instances like these don’t make people assume that every mom can go back to work nine days later. And I hope that pregnant women don’t aspire to do the same – or think it’s a sign of weakness if they can’t. Or simply don’t want to.


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  • Aniko

    We are not ALL expected to run after the bus with the speed of the Olympic champion so I entertain high hopes we are not ALL expected to work on the ninth day after giving birth. I was actually almost unable to walk or even to sit…

  • Erika Wallace

    I have never heard of this woman in my life for one! Secondly I think she sounds like a bit of a negelectful mother given that she is more than happy to abandon her children like some sort of animal three days after giving birth.

    Terrible I say….

  • xobolaji

    i think this is highly weird and sensationalistic. i also think it’s incredible that this woman was/is able to do this. at the same time, the point, as you suggest is that what are we to infer about the mother/child bond if mommy is on the work train so soon after the child is born? why should she want to go back to work so soon? what point is she proving, or disproving by doing this?

    also, the photograph of her at 5 months does not appear to be healthy. and let me emphasis the word, “appear.” models are not like you and i no matter how we slice it. they are born with genetic gifts, and that’s that. as a result we shouldn’t ever try to be like them and/or “model” their behaviours. it’s self-defeating.

    i just wish that when these stories get reported, the other perspective is given. much like what you’ve done here shawna. i mean, if we really look at what we’re being presented, we’ll feel better about the decisions we’ve made for ourselves instead of privileging these media-narratives that constantly pit mommies against one another.

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