The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model took to Instagram to “clarify” recent comments she made about her early postpartum struggles.
Kate Upton is keeping it real when it comes to the challenges of being a new mum. After she gave birth to her first child, daughter Genevieve, in November 2018 with husband Justin Verlander, one of the hardest parts of her experience with early motherhood was breastfeeding, she told Editorialist in a recent cover story. In the interview, Upton revealed that she felt overwhelmed by the pressure “to be doing all these things, like breastfeeding on the go”. On top of that, breastfeeding in and of itself wasn’t easy for Upton, she said.
“The reality, for me, was that breastfeeding was sucking the energy away from me,” she told Editorialist. “I realized I needed to calm down, to allow my body to recover.”
Upton also shared some candid thoughts about the expectation to look like you’re leading a picture-perfect lifestyle after pregnancy, particularly on social media: “Women are bombarded with this push to be perfect all the time,” she told Editorialist. “We went from Photoshopping covers on magazines to Photoshopping our everyday lives—you know, a picture of you at the grocery store. It’s getting more extreme.”
Following the interview, Upton clarified some of her comments in a heartfelt Instagram post about the “major pressure” to quickly “snap back” after having a baby. Like many new moms, Upton wasn’t immune to these pressures at first, she wrote in her post.
“I tried to push myself early to get back to the gym, eat perfectly and try to achieve this alleged ‘snap back’,” she shared. “But, after realizing how ridiculous these pressures are I quickly gave myself some slack and lived in the moment as a new mother.”
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Given that Upton’s body has been repeatedly objectified by the general public and media outlets alike since she first graced the cover of the 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, it makes sense that she felt overwhelmed by these postpartum pressures. In another recent interview for the podcast Skimm’d from The Couch, Upton shared that while her SI Swimsuit success was “amazing”, public discussion about her body quickly put her in an uncomfortable, “emotionally bad place.”
“It was not great,” Upton told co-hosts Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg in the interview. “A lot of [the attention] was negative, and even the positive stuff was really creepy.”
At the time, several news outlets went as far as debating whether or not Upton was “fat,” and she quickly began feeling insecure as a result, she explained on the podcast. “I took [all the criticism] in, and it was all around me,” she shared. “It got to me so much. I was in a very dark and twisted place.”
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(Also read: What Exercises Are Safe to Do During Pregnancy?)
As far as postpartum pressures go, Upton is far from the only person to feel that she’s expected to look and act a certain way after giving birth. For instance, Carrie Underwood admitted she was hard on herself after she didn’t “snap back” quickly following her second pregnancy. Then there’s Australian fitness influencer Emily Skye, who didn’t mince words when she said she “barely recognised” her body after giving birth.
Women like Underwood and Skye have shared their postpartum experiences to encourage people to be kind to their bodies and to meet themselves exactly where they are in their body-image journeys. Now, Upton is using her platform to do the same.
“Every woman needs to give their body time to heal and to soak in those early, precious moments [of motherhood],” Upton wrote on Instagram. “I realized quickly that between breastfeeding, healing, little-to-no sleep, off-the-charts hormone changes and experiencing everything for the first time that those weight-loss pressures are extremely unnecessary, and I decided to turn my energy toward my family.”
Upton ended her post by reminding new moms that everyone’s experience with motherhood is unique, but all of them are worthy of respect and appreciation. “Enjoy the moments with your new baby and growing family,” she wrote. “Allow your body time to heal and make sure to go at your own pace.”
(Also read: 8 Ways to Sleep Better During Pregnancy)