Melbourne mum Elisha Bakes has opened up about the vile trolling and bullying she experienced online because of the size of her pregnancy bump.
The 30-year-old, who welcomed her second son Kaelen in January, said people told her that her baby bump was “gross” and she must be “expecting a horse”, after she shared images of her growing bump with her 33,000 Instagram followers.
Elisha, who already has a son Kyson, one, with her partner Tane, experienced negative comments about her pregnancy from when she was just 14 weeks along.
After sharing an image to announce her pregnancy, people told her that she must have got her dates wrong because she looked much further along.
“From when I was fourteen weeks pregnant the comments started. As this was my second pregnancy, I popped a lot sooner than the first time,” Elisha said.
“I posted a picture and people were saying I must have the date wrong and be much further along, or I was eating too much and not being healthy.
“When my third trimester started, I started to receive more and more comments about my growing baby bump. They would always be very repetitive, including that I was having 78 kids, people saying I was giving birth to a horse or it must have been triplets.
“People would also say hurtful things like ‘why is her bump so big?’ and that it was the biggest bump they’d ever seen.
“People would even comment on my Instagram pictures saying the size of my bump was gross and say, ‘I hope I never get that big’.”
Whenever she received comments, Elisha would explain that she is only 5ft3 (160cm) tall, while her partner is 6ft3 (190cm) tall. Naturally, this would likely cause a bump which looked large in proportion to Elisha’s small frame.
But people continued to criticise the size of Elisha’s bump, even telling her that she was eating too much and assuming her diet was unhealthy.
As her pregnancy progressed, as much as she wanted to relish being pregnant again and embrace her changing body, the comments only became worse.
“Even during my first pregnancy, I would receive negative comments. By the last month of my pregnancy, I was very big and would receive comment after comment, similar to the ones I received during my second pregnancy,” she said.
“I ignored them 98 per cent of the time. I have thick skin so I just continued to embrace my pregnancy and baby bump while I could.
“I think people have an idea in their head about how a pregnant woman should look, sometimes based off their own experiences, so when they see a woman who is carrying larger or smaller, they feel the need to comment and give their two cents.”
But since opening up about the hurtful comments, Elisha has also received support from other women who have experience similar bullying online.
“I had hundreds of messages from women who had experienced the same thing. They told me how they would get very anxious about people commenting on their bump and would make them feel very insecure and not be able to enjoy their pregnancy,” Elisha said.
“This would range from women who carried small and they would have people ask if they were even pregnant or telling them that they had looked bigger after eating a pizza. Some women were told they needed to eat more, whereas I was told to lay off the food.”
She also stressed that the negativity was primarily reserved for the online world, with people in real life more likely to give nice compliments.
While she has enjoyed sharing her journey online she has warned others from putting anyone down for the way they look.
“Comments regarding a woman’s size can really impact how they feel about themselves. Hormones are already running wild and adjusting to your changing body isn’t easy, so hearing hurtful remarks about your body can only have a negative impact,” the mum said.
“No matter what size you are, pregnancy isn’t easy.”
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