SALT LAKE CITY — Another week, another way the Mommy Wars rage on with a new battle entering the arena: who can get their post-baby body back the fastest? A Norwegian woman has the Internet in an uproar over a picture she posted of her trim body just four days after birth.
26-year-old Caroline Berg Eriksen, a fitness blogger, professional soccer player's wife and Instagram star, posted the selfie heard ‘round the world last week of her svelte body just four days after giving birth. Australian blogger Rebecca Sparrow called Eriksen out saying the picture sends the wrong message and only fuels the competition between new and vulnerable moms.
"It's not a selfie. It's an act of war," Sparrow wrote.
Eriksen has since been defending her actions. She claims she hasn't worked out since delivering her daughter and said she didn't post the picture to be "cruel" to other women.
"During the pregnancy, people kept telling me that my body will never be the same and I wanted to show everybody that's not entirely true," Eriksen told GMA. "Right after birth, like three minutes after, I felt like myself again… I think all women should be proud of themselves, regardless of how they look after labor."
During the pregnancy, people kept telling me that my body will never be the same and I wanted to show everybody that's not entirely true.
–Caroline Berg Eriksen
Eriksen is hardly the first mom to cause a backlash over a fit post-baby body. Fitness blogger Maria Kang came under fire a few months ago when a picture of her washboard abs surrounded by her three sons under the age of 3 went viral. Most people, however, took offense to the statement at the top of the picture: "What's your excuse?"
There seems to be a fine line between motivation and competition. I conducted a highly unscientific survey on my Facebook wall where my female friends had much to say on the ‘Body Wars' sparked by these photos. While these women were overwhelmingly supportive of moms posting pictures to show off their hard work, they didn't like the way Eriksen and Kang went about it.
"I think (Eriksen's) picture is shallow and rude to other women who maybe aren't as lucky to have amazing genes and those pictures are just a means to gloat," wrote mom of one Morgan Allen.
"Who would post that??" wrote Maddie Leavitt, mom of one. "It is insensitive to other women out there who are also days post-partum and shows her own need to get positive feedback."
Others wondered why we should even care about these pictures at all.
"There are better things to do with our time than to be worried about one woman with good genetics and a few others who want to spend their lives at the gym (which is what they do). I don't want to live like that so I don't, and I don't care if they do," wrote mom of four Kim Simpson.
Still, other moms called the pictures ‘depressing', especially for those who have a lot of trouble losing pregnancy weight. Celebrity moms also get caught in the post-baby belly watch: the most popular articles of Kate Middleton this year have been the intense scrutinizing of her post-pregnancy belly, not her pregnancy or her baby.
There are better things to do with our time then to be worried about one woman with good genetics. I don't want to live like that so I don't, and I don't care if they do.
–Kim Simpson, mother of four
Who is to blame for this obsession? Is it the media constantly posting photos of "post-baby bodies", women who proudly post photos themselves, or people on the Internet who can't stop talking about it? While it's probably impossible to pinpoint the source, there is still an enormous amount of pressure placed on new moms to get fit fast.
"Women are sick of this omnipresent pressure to get our bodies back. And when you're juggling a newborn's needs, running on no sleep and trying to take care of yourself, that's a toxic message," Claire Mysko, author of "Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?" and former director of the American Anorexia Bulimia Association, told Yahoo. "While I don't think it's helpful to shame the individual mothers who choose to post pictures of themselves, I do think the pushback signals a healthy reaction to some very unhealthy and unrealistic cultural expectations."
ABC News Senior Medical Contributor, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, agrees that people need to back off.
"I think we need to put this all on a spectrum and realize that we should applaud the women who look great," Ashton said. "But we shouldn't bash the women who can't achieve that."