Jools Oliver hits back at post-baby body shamers

Jools and Jamie Oliver with their five children last month.
Jools and Jamie Oliver with their five children last month. Photo: Ian Lawrence

Jools Oliver is the latest in an increasingly long line of celebrities to be body shamed on social media. The 41-year-old mother of five shared a modest photo of herself trying on a pair of trousers with her 394,000 Instagram followers.

"Finally 'almost' fitting into these gorgeous trousers, so comfy post little baby and beyond," she captioned.

Oliver, who gave birth to baby River Rocket in mid August, is looking great, but in a plain tee-shirt and loose pants she is hardly being provocative.

However, that didn't stop some followers from having a pop at her. One follower in particular took exception to Oliver's photo, claiming that she is adding to the pressure new mums feel to get back into shape.

"I am currently pregnant with my second baby. Every minute of every day I'm scrutinising my weight. Pictures like this by naturally slim women do not help!

"Shouldn't you be more concerned about bonding with your child rather than how quickly you fit back into your jeans?" she commented.

Oliver later took to Instagram to defend herself.

"For God sake I still have heaps to lose, my t-shirt hides a lot. It was merely a shout-out to the lovely girls who sent me the trousers nothing more I hardly ever put pictures up of myself and certainly not a 'selfie', she wrote.

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"I am confident with my body before, during and after pregnancy and totally get that things don't go back to normal for at least six months to a year, if at all and after five babies, I should know."

Oliver continued: "As for bonding with my baby... I feel no need to address this it's ridiculous. So please next time if I irritate you just unfollow me it was just meant to be a nice pic of a pair of good trews."

I can sympathise with Oliver's critic. I gained a spectacularly large amount of weight while I was pregnant and seeing other women (whether they be celebrities in magazines or people I knew in real life) fitting back into their pre-baby jeans did cause a pang of self-loathing (and if I'm really honest, jealousy).

After having my first baby I hardly recognised my body. There was no hope of fitting into pre-baby clothes, in fact, I was still wearing my maternity jeans six months later. The perfectly groomed 'yummy mummies' I saw at the shops made me feel like a frump. But those feelings were about me, not them. It was hardly their fault that I felt bad. 

The fact is, we're all different. We make different lifestyle choices; we have different genes. Some women can simply 'bounce' back, and the rest of take a little longer. Some of us take years! And that is ok.

Oliver is not the first celebrity to become the subject of post-baby body shaming. But, while a lot of celebrities have been thrust into the spotlight for not 'bouncing back' to their pre-baby self, the new trend seems to be to shame women for 'bouncing back' too soon.

Either way, post-baby body shaming doesn't do anyone any favours. It doesn't matter if you are criticising a woman for being too fat, or too thin. The bottom line is that it's her body and how it looks shouldn't impact anyone.