being a mom

Post-Pregnancy Selfies Are The Ultimate Humble Brag

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Thanks to a little thing called Instagram, selfies have become big among the kids these days. Who am I kidding? Selfies are big with almost anyone that has a pulse and an Instagram account, including babies and grandmas. There’s even such a thing as the Selfie Olympics with the most RIDIC selfies you ever will see. If you’re up for a selfie challenge, strap a mattress onto your back, squeeze into your tiny bathroom, and give it a go.

For some reason, I’m not one for selfies. I have an Instagram account, but I use it to shamelessly post pictures of my kids because I like the lenses, and I don’t want to clog up my Facebook feed. I’ve never taken a selfie. Sure, I have pictures of myself that I use for my Facebook profile, but they are pictures that other people have taken of me doing something random, like attempting to drink a yard of beer gracefully.

I’ve also had two kids and have worked hard to stay in good shape. Go, me. You think I would be a candidate for the epidemic of post-pregnancy fitness selfies going around, but I’m not. IMHO, a post-pregnancy selfie shared with thousands of Instagram followers is the utmost in humble brags.

Some post-pregnancy selfie moms have received flak for it, like Caroline Berg Eriksen and Maria Kang. Eriksen posted a fairly controversial postpartum sexy selfie to Instagram just four days after giving birth. Granted, she has a fitness blog, so looking super-amazing-tastic after popping out a baby is her job. But I’ve seen the same behavior from other women on my Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Technically, Kang’s viral “What’s Your Excuse?” photo taken with her three kids was not a selfie, though she has posted plenty of other ripped selfies to social media. Kang recently sent us her 2014 Fit Mom Swimsuit Calendar to review. While I have to admit that the before and after mom transformations on each month are impressive and the calendar is chock-full of mom-friendly exercise and diet tips, it doesn’t make me love Kang’s braggy viral pic any more.


On the one hand, this selfie phenomenon seems like a great self-esteem booster for a woman that is proud of her body after giving birth. Good for her. It’s a free world, and you can post any kind of selfie you want to your Instagram account. But I don’t have to like it.

I’m not a fan of post-pregnancy selfie humble bragging in any way, shape, or form. Whether you post an actual selfie of your six-pack abs after giving birth or casually humble brag about leaving the hospital weighing less than you did before you got pregnant, I just don’t see the point. Getting back to pre-baby weight is entirely personal, and most moms I know are already frustrated enough about it. Social media humble bragging doesn’t help.


  1. Eve Vawter

    February 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    word and word

  2. CMJ

    February 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    The only “post” selfie I partake in is the post haircut selfie.

    I’m growing increasingly weary of the extreme focus of FITNESS, BODY, WORKOUT, DIET selfies and pictures. I don’t care about your juice cleanse!

    • momjones

      February 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      And it’s a great post haircut selfie because it’s a great haircut! 🙂

  3. Kay_Sue

    February 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I think you made a good point. Their right to post it doesn’t negate other people’s right not to like it, and other people’s right not to like it doesn’t trump their right to post it.

    They honestly don’t bother me. Maybe I am weird, because while I am at my pre-baby weight (well, slightly heavier, but that’s because I endeavored to gain weight, and am now at a very healthy weight in mine and my doc’s opinions), I am NO WHERE near my pre-baby body (c’mon, abs! I know you are in there somewhere! where are you hiding?). It’s like being caught between two worlds. On the one hand, yay! Healthy weight! On the other hand, I would give anything to have my nice tight, flat, not stretch-marked body back. On a third hand, that I don’t actually possess outside of this comment (or do I?), I know part of the reason that I’ve never gotten that back is that I’ve never been inclined to try. Between work, school, and single parenting there for a while, it wasn’t a big priority to get back in shape, so in a sense, the only person I’ve got to blame for it is myself (maybe also my husband? For being accepting and not an asshole?).

    It just doesn’t bug me when people brag, humble or otherwise, about their accomplishments. If you’ve worked hard (or even if you haven’t) and have a kickin’ bod that you are proud of, I’m happy for you–show it off if you want! I’m kind of over the trend of not allowing people to express their self-pride, and social media is how we do everything nowadays.

  4. Unforgettable

    February 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Whew at least none of them had C-section

    • Snarktopus

      February 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Uh…why? Generally, anymore, C-section scars are actually in the area that would be covered by bikini bottoms, and even if they weren’t, why would it matter?

    • personal

      February 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      ‘Cause the tissue connecting the muscles get cut through. It’s a bit harder to get back into shape so fast.

    • Carolyn the Red

      February 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      They generally don’t cut the muscles in a c-section anymore.

    • pontificatrix

      February 4, 2014 at 8:21 am


    • ChickenKira

      February 4, 2014 at 1:00 am

      I had a c-section and I was back to my normal size two weeks later.

      Don’t worry, this humblebrag has a lousy ending, then I went on BC for my endometriosis and I ballooned out, but I finally found a pill that makes my horrid endo periods painless so I will live with the chubby because NO PAIN! WOOHOO!

    • Angela Brown

      February 4, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Not true. they typically only cut trhough the muscle now for emergency c-sections. The idea that they rip through your abdominal muscles and put your intestines on the table is a misconception. If it’s planned, you get a bikini cut that no one sees. I did it in July (thank you wonky placenta) and my abs are fine. I worked my tail off to lose the weight, but my abs were in solid shape before so they’re fine now.

    • Harriet Meadow

      February 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Yeah, my c-sections car is under the pubic hair line. You definitely wouldn’t be able to see it if I ever wore a bikini (which is never going to happen because HA!).

    • jendra_berri

      February 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Mine as well is a small scar in the same sensible location. Though I do have something of a pouch directly above the scar, seemingly exacerbated by it… The actual scar is nothing and bothers me not. It’s the fatty bit hanging above it that gets me down. No bikinis here either!

    • Kelly

      February 3, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      I had a c-section. You would not be able to see my tiny, barely noticeable unless you’re all up in my shit scar in any of the bikinis shown above. Get with the times.

    • Angela Brown

      February 4, 2014 at 10:12 am


    • Remember Me, or else!

      February 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      I see I’ve enraged the C-section crowd

    • Kelly

      February 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      We’re enraged because we’re correcting your ignorance? I don’t understand your logic.

      What is it you find so awful about c-sections and why are you so relieved none of those women had them. Can you explain that?

    • Kat

      February 4, 2014 at 7:27 am

      This is a troll. He or she’s left at least a dozen bait comments in the last few days.

    • Snarktopus

      February 3, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      I’m just wondering why them not having C-sections is “Whew” worthy. No rage here.

  5. AlbinoWino

    February 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    To be honest, I despise people who humble brag. I often wonder if they know how douchey they sound. I am probably just picky but I feel there are ways to speak of your accomplishments without needing to make yourself sound like the most important person ever. I had a FB friend post like 5 shots of her belly a month or two after having her second child talking about how she was going to make it even smaller. In a way I actually felt kind of sorry for her. It’s like she feels as a female she has something to prove by shedding her baby weight as soon as humanly possible. If you’re working your ass off to get in shape, fine. But I don’t find it entirely healthy (mentally or physically) to update everyone on what’s going on with your body to have good self esteem. Plus, sure, I bet it doesn’t make other moms feel good if they’re not devoted completely to fitness the second they pop out a baby.

    • Bethany Ramos

      February 3, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Maybe I’m being jealous, but it has really irritated me when people said they hit their pre-baby weight before they left the hospital. I am an overall thin person and gained a normal amount of weight, but because of breast-feeding and everything, it took me months to lose the baby weight. And I didn’t brag about it. :/

    • Kelly

      February 3, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      I just laugh when people brag about that. There is zero accomplishment in hitting your pre-baby weight before you leave the hospital. That means you got lucky and your body just did it by itself.

  6. Jen

    February 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I’m somewhat torn on this. Two weeks after she gave birth, a friend posted that she could fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans. On one hand, I was all “That’s awesome!”, and on the other I was “Yeah, so could I if I wear them under my new post-partum gut”. Mostly, though, I feel like if they are overcoming something they struggled with emotionally, they can go on and brag. I’ll be over here simultaneously eating pizza and wondering why I can’t shed these last fifteen pounds.

  7. Sarah B.

    February 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    For me personally, seeing photos of women who have gotten into phenomenal shape after pregnancy gives me an enormous amount of motivation. Sure, it wasn’t and still isn’t easy, but I work out at the gym every chance I get and even when I was feeling sluggish while my baby was napping and I wanted to rest, I pushed myself to at least do a few sets or some kickboxing cardio. I would not have come to love my post-pregnancy body if I didn’t have that motivation and let myself get lazy. My husband says that I am in better shape than ever. I might not be able to do anything about the few stretch marks I have, but I’m totally fine with that. Nobody’s perfect, we can only work on what is possible to change.

    So on that note, what if we didn’t have examples of what is possible? I might have just given up and succumbed to the myth that pregnancy and childbirth will ruin your body forever. I can’t deny that being hard on myself and essentially asking myself the question of “what’s your excuse?” in some shape or form was how I made it to looking and feeling great despite the extra body challenges that pregnancy presents to women. My son is now one and a year after giving birth I feel way better about how I look than I anticipated to. Thank God.

    I understand that for those that might have more difficulties it could be discouraging to keep seeing the most fit moms out there. Like single moms who do not have the luxury of fitting in that hour of gym time while daddy takes care of baby. I for sure would hate if someone had made me feel awful about any struggles I had. I just don’t know if in general as a whole it is good for society to say “moms don’t need to be healthy, sexy and fit. We should not put any focus on bouncing back, that sort of body is not needed anymore.”

  8. SA

    February 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t know….if I ever managed to get a six pack I might selfie post it EVERYWHERE!!! That is just so not going to happen though! 😉

    Another trend I am seeing is the sexy pregnant selfie. This one really disturbs me. If you want to show a picture of your fabulous pregnant self, go for it….but the skin tight dress and pouty face is a bit much.

  9. Jordana

    February 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Being proud of your body is one thing, but Maria Kang was basically making comments on everyone else’s bodies and how they should look. What’s your excuse, Maria Kang, for being such a douche about everyone else’s personal choices about their own bodies? Great article, Bethany! Glad someone said this. I need to read your stuff more!

    • Bethany Ramos

      February 3, 2014 at 3:51 pm


  10. once upon a time

    February 3, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    First of all, you’ve used the term humble brag (repeatedly) incorrectly.

    Secondly, this whole article is an actual humble brag.

    • Jo

      February 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Yikes with the grumpy commenting….maybe this article hit a soft spot for you, once upon a time?

    • Kat

      February 4, 2014 at 7:24 am

      This comment isn’t nice, but unfortunately, once upon a time appears to be right on both counts. So kill me, it’s what I see.

  11. Jallun-Keatres

    February 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I took a postpartum selfie… to show off my big squishy tummy and my brand new Holy Swollen Mammaries Batman Christina Hendricks Bewbs! Not posting it.

  12. Boots

    February 4, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Admittedly, I may be a bit odd (or a sociopath, hard to say…), but I genuinely don’t understand why bragging (humble or otherwise) is a bad thing. If someone works hard for something (be it career, study or personal) or just gets lucky (lotto!), why not shout it from the rooftops? Or at least social media platforms… I asked my mum about this a few month ago (I may be in my 30’s,but mums are great for asking random stuff) and even she couldn’t really give an answer other than ‘it’s just not polite’. Honestly, though, why should achievement be hidden??

  13. Elizabeth Licata

    February 4, 2014 at 6:14 am

    There’s always the Kate Middleton model: “Oops! Just accidentally flashed my washboard-flat stomach while doing something totally normal. Nothing to see here, except my super-ripped, post-baby abs. Carry on!”

  14. Alfreda Wells Morrissey

    February 4, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I don’t mind the post pregnancy brag or humble brag. I have a facebook friend who is a body builder and she posts tons of photos of her body from every angle. That didn’t bother me either. To me I see it as her excelling in her hobby. If somebody worked really hard to excel at piano playing, nobody complains if they post videos of themselves playing a complicated piece.

    The real issue I have are the ‘motivational’ pieces that say, “What is your excuse?” There have been a whole ton of those coming out lately, from facebook friend and others. Those rub me all the wrong way. Piano players don’t ask non-piano players things like that or shame people who don’t bother practicing the piano. It is OK to be good at something, take pride in what you are good at and show it off, but don’t shame other people for not being good at it too.

    I myself have never been that interested in shaping my body perfectly. I have to fight the Judgmental Jenny in myself that thinks people who spend so much time on their appearance must be shallow. My mother also told me, it is what is inside that counts, and so I worked super hard on that. That means squashing Judgmental Jenny. The problem is, while I try to be happy for you and tell you look amazing, don’t be telling me I should be trying to attain what you have. I’m not interested in exercising every spare minute of the day trying to shape my abs into washboards. I try to do a little bit each day to work towards being more healthy, and sure I would love to naturally wake up to a beautiful body without any work but I’m not willing to put in the energy and effort that you do. Not every person in the world aspires to physical perfection nor do they need to.

    All that to say, by all means, show off your hard work, but don’t expect me to follow your lead. I’m happy that your happy, can’t you be happy for me too?

    • K.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Ditto, Ms. Morrissey 🙂

  15. K.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Sure, weight loss and weight maintenance take discipline and one can be proud of the fact that they put in that sort of work. So your average everyday selfie of “hey, look what I did!” is fine. WHatever–people do that when they make their own salads.

    But the “What’s your excuse stuff” elicits a rise out of me along the lines of “…how DARE you?!” because it implies that the rest of us who don’t have washboard abs are “making excuses” or lazy. It’s also pretty dismissive of the fact that women have many other responsibilities besides say, investing in their inner-thighs, that are (IMHO) perhaps more impactful and of greater value than their appearance. I mean, sure–it’s fine if some new moms have decided that their priorities are wearing bikinis and taking selfies, but when I see the “what’s your excuse” mantra used and its accompanying smug self-satisfaction and tacit disapproval of others who don’t share those same priorities–perhaps because they’ve placed greater value on things in their lives like say, holding down jobs or going to school or taking care of elderly parents–a tad misguided.

    Maybe I should post a picture of myself with my post-pregnancy fleshiness and general droopiness while wearing my doctoral hood and holding my baby with my own caption:

    “Ladies, I was pregnant, gave birth, and took care of a newborn while I wrote and defended my dissertation and earned my PhD, maintained a full-time job and got promoted, dug up ancient Roman mosaics in Italy and Turkey and got to travel to countries I’d never been to before, started learning Spanish, volunteered at our local food bank, and adopted a mutt, all within the 21 months of pregnancy + Year 1 of baby. Congratulations on your rock-hard post-pregnancy body, but…Where’s YOUR PhD? Where’s YOUR job promotion? How many languages do YOU speak? What’s been YOUR contribution to cultural heritage and/or local social welfare? WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE??”

    • Bethany Ramos

      February 4, 2014 at 10:25 am


    • Carolina

      February 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Well said! What’s my excuse? I don’t need one! I address my priorities in the time I have, and looking like a bikini model just doesn’t make the cut.
      I do have a problem with some of the selfies, because I sort of don’t believe them. Two days post-partum with no uterine pooch and no giant pad to catch the locia? Doubtful. Even if true, why brag and make people feel bad?

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