Each pregnancy is different — and that includes the baby bump.
That’s the lesson model Belle Lucia wants her followers to learn after spending the last few weeks of her pregnancy defending the size of her bump.
Lucia, 22, announced her pregnancy at the beginning of April and has shared weekly updates. But with each new post, she gets a flood of comments accusing her of harming her baby because the bump is small.
She decided to defend herself on Tuesday.
“Just because I’m not showing as much as you like doesn’t mean my pregnancy is ‘unhealthy’ or that I’m promoting a ‘skinny’ pregnancy — like some say,” she posted in her Instagram story. “It’s just my body and I cannot help how I’m showing like many other women. Body shaming is not okay — no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ one is.”
Lucia included photos of four other women also in their 17th week of pregnancy, all with varying size bumps.
“Here’s more women the same week as me,” she added. “As you can see women show very differently but are all carrying a little life.”
In her past bump updates, Lucia recognized that her pregnancy was hard for other people to see, but the increased belly size is clear to her. She said there are also some days where she can’t tell what’s happening in her stomach.
“It’s hard to tell if it’s bloating or the baby, or constipation — yes pregnancy does that,” she posted on Instagram. “Some days I’m a lot bigger than others.”
And Lucia added that while her bump is tough to see, she’s noticed a huge change in her breasts.
“I’ve gone from a B cup — occasionally a C cup (on my period) all the way to a DD. Talk about a natural boob job #notcomplaining,” she wrote, with a laughing face emoji. “But I did get stretch marks on my boobs from the rapid growth but I don’t mind them.”
Sadly, shaming moms-to-be on social media for the size of their baby bumps is nothing new — trainer Chontel Duncan, fashion designer Yiota Kouzoukas and midwife and lifestyle blogger Hannah Polites all dealt with the same criticism during their pregnancies.
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“Unfortunately, it’s become common for society to comment on the health of a person simply from their size being different to what they perceive to be normal,” Polites, who is now pregnant with her second child, previously told PEOPLE. “However, I do not take the small amount of negative comments to heart, especially when I know I am making informed decisions when it comes to nutrition and exercise in pregnancy and motherhood.”
Polites added that “all pregnant bodies are beautiful,” and that there’s no reason to judge.
“I think it’s important not to compare ourselves with other women,” she said. There is no right or wrong way to carry a baby and there is no universal standard of what a pregnant body should look like.”