In case you needed a friendly reminder that women’s pregnancy bellies do not magically disappear overnight, Meghan Markle made her first post-birth appearance sporting a belted dress that revealed a visible baby bump.
Many women subsequently expressed their gratitude to Markle for not trying to hide her postpartum baby bump, as Buzzfeed reports.
“The bump doesn’t disappear as soon as the baby pops out & I love that she’s embracing it,” one Twitter user wrote.
Fans had similar praise for Kate Middleton after she gave birth to Prince George in 2013. Before she had even left the hospital, a tabloid had published a cover story about how Middleton intended to lose the baby weight—so when she appeared for a photo-op with a visible bump, people were quick to hail her as “brave.”
Many women, in fact, would find it practically impossible to conceal their bellies in the days after giving birth. After being stretched out over the course of nine months, the uterus, abdominal muscles and skin can take time to return to their pre-pregnancy shape, explains Women’s Health.
In fact, the Office on Women’s Health cautions new mothers not to “expect or try to lose additional pregnancy weight right away. Gradual weight loss over several months is the safest way, especially if you are breastfeeding.”
And yet, in light of our tendency to lionize mothers for their “post-baby body snapbacks,” women like Markle and Middleton offer important reminders that it is perfectly normal for women’s bodies to retain a pregnancy bump after birth.