Supermodel Candice Swanepoel only gave birth to her second child a mere three weeks ago, but her postnatal ‘bikini body’ has already been at the receiving end of public scrutiny.
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In response to online criticism of her image on the beach, the Victoria’s Secret Angel took to Instagram Stories and shut down shamers with an empowering message.
Over paparazzi pictures of herself wearing a bikini, she wrote:
“This is me 12 days after having my son. If you have something bad to say about it… check yourself. Society can be so cruel to one another. Beauty standards are sometimes impossible for women these days.”
She continued with a positive note: “I’m not ashamed to show my post-partum tummy. I am proud actually… I carried my son for 9 months in there. I think I’ve earned the right to have a little tummy. Is it because I’m a model? Well we are normal people too, so let me enjoy the beach in peace please.”
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Sharing another picture of herself while still pregnant with her second son, Swanepoel added: “I don’t have to hide my stomach just because people have unrealistic standards of women. We create life… what can you do? Ladies are all in this together. Be kind to each other.”
While Swanepoel’s body is nobody else’s business, she should be applauded for using this opportunity to share an important reality check which goes out to way more than her 12 million-plus followers.
Men, women – prenatal, postnatal – or not, can all learn from her self acceptance and celebration.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK