Neema Sempebwa is a personal trainer, so it's no surprise that her Instagram feed is often home to workout videos, motivational fitness quotes and an impressive collection of photos showing off her toned tummy.
Last year the 39-year-old from London became a mom, and since then she's also been using her Insta account (@bodywisemum) to document how she's losing the baby weight.
Now, I know this probably sounds pretty familiar; we've all seen the celebrity and super fit moms who have bounced back from baby bump to bikini in record time. Neema's story, though, is a bit different.
"This is what my 6 weeks post partum body looks like," Neema captions one post-pregnancy shot. "It's unique to ME and MY journey. It's different to where I thought I would be.... because I compared myself to others.... BIG MISTAKE.... I've seen some Instagram posts of women at 6 weeks who are rocking a six pack and no stretch Marks... I have one big jelly pack- and plenty of stripes!"
Neema hasn't ditched her healthy lifestyle since welcoming her daughter Lana - she still regularly shares workout clips and nutrition tips with her social media followers. What sets her apart is her refreshingly realistic approach.
She doesn't begrudge those moms who seem to shed the baby weight without even trying - she just points out that for many moms, there is much more to the story.
"Reality for the majority is- There is no snap back after birth! Wearing granny panties and the baggiest tracksuit bottoms you have is perfectly normal," she writes. "The female body goes through so much during pregnancy and birth. Why are we then feeling pressured to bounce back into shape and having visible abs after a human pops out of us?!"
Reading through Neema's posts, I was struck by the kindness and acceptance she shows herself. She doesn't judge how long it's taking her to lose the weight, she doesn't beat herself up over the stretch marks or loose skin. She talks about her body, about its curves and changes, with such genuine love and gratitude, and it made me realize just how rare a thing that is among the moms I know - myself included.
As a mom to two little girls, I cheer every time we collectively make room for new definitions of beauty, for different shapes and sizes and representations. Neema's journey reminds me that it's important to extend that same sense of joyful acceptance to myself.
"8 months postpartum today and this body is showing all the signs of one that had a baby," Neema mused on a recent post, going on to list them all: stretchmarks, loose skin, lost muscle, droopy boobies, additional body fat, hair loss.
"But it also displays all the signs of being a MOTHER."
I think that's the part we too often skip right over. Every part of me carries the marks of motherhood - my life, my home, my family, my heart, and yes, my body, too. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.
Thanks to Neema Sempebwa for sharing her photos and her postpartum story - be sure to follow her on Instagram (@bodywisemum).
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.