When Sarah Stage posted her fitness routines and photos of her smaller-than-usual baby bump, somehow still blessed with abs, the backlash was immediate. People criticized her for endangering her baby by keeping her body trim and taut through pregnancy. That was in 2015. Now, 31 weeks pregnant with her second child, Stage is once again facing the wrath of "Instagram medical experts."
And she's putting them in their place.
Last week, Stage posted a response to the endless hateful comments that her body is "not normal" and "can't be healthy," to accusations that she's starving her baby ("please eat some pickles and chocolate," writes one commenter) and to jokes of "where's the baby" and "this is how I look like after eating one biscuit."
"As I'm nearing 8 months, I've wanted to share what's been on my mind. Since I've announced my second pregnancy, I've had certain 'Instagram medical experts' tell me what I should and shouldn't do. And while I find some of the comments hilarious, I choose to only listen to my OB-GYN and of course I also listen to MY body. If something feels off, I don't do it! I always do what's best for my growing baby and put him first!" Stage writes.
The fitness model and mom goes on to say that exercising while pregnant has many benefits for mom and baby. (It's true.) She also details that while she has greatly reduced the intensity of her workouts, she still exercises not because she's obsessed with how she looks but because she's obsessed with maintaining a healthy lifestyle for her and her children.
"Alternatively, I don't judge anyone who chooses to not be active while pregnant, as it's their own life. I'm just sharing my pregnancy journey and appreciate the positive support from most of you," she ends the post.
Women everywhere praised Stage for how she dealt with the shade being thrown at her.
"You don't owe anyone any explanation. You clearly can see how happy your son is and how you still manage to do all while still giving your son 💯," writes one woman.
"People always want to judge. Yet most people forget that most women who are pregnant care about the health of their baby, so, chances are, regardless of their physical size, their body is naturally responding to their lifestyle," comments a nurse. "It honestly makes me laugh looking at all these comments and unsolicited 'medical advice' from these uneducated and ignorant people."
Stage tried to roll back the hate during her first pregnancy as well. She told "Good Morning America" at the time, "As long as the baby is healthy, I don't think anything else matters. I don't know how someone could say something like that to a pregnant woman—that is so rude."
Her first baby, James Hunter, was born a healthy 8 pounds and 7 ounces, 22 inches long, with an Apgar score of eight to nine, on April 14, 2015.
Seriously, how can anyone say anything more after seeing James' cute baby rolls? Leave the mama be.
And thanks, Sarah, for showing us healthy pregnancies don't always have to look the same.