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Nikki Bella is speaking out against the expectation for women to fit a certain physical mold after giving birth.
On Tuesday's episode of Ashley Graham's Pretty Big Deal podcast, the Total Bellas star and her twin sister Brie Bella opened up about all things motherhood, including postpartum depression, as well as the pressure, as Graham calls it, to "snap back" after giving birth.
"It's such bulls—," both sisters, 37, said before Nikki went on, "It messes with you, 'cause [people are] like, 'But how is she?' Literally, someone the other day was like, 'Gosh, she's still big!' and I was like, 'Excuse me?' "
The former Dancing with the Stars contestant explained that she has a "life coach" who has helped her come to appreciate her body since she and fiancé Artem Chigvintsev welcomed son Matteo Artemovich on July 31.
"She makes me grab parts of my body I don't like and I say, 'Thank you for creating Matteo and making him healthy,' and appreciating and loving my body. And it is weird how, slowly, you start to love it," Nikki said.
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Brie Bella Says She's 13 Lbs. Away from Her Pre-Baby Weight 5 Weeks After Welcoming Son Buddy
Nikki has also been inspired to speak out about her battle with PPD because "what I've realized is, as moms, we don't talk about that enough," she said.
The mother of one previously gave a candid look at her experience with postpartum depression, revealing in late September in part that she had been feeling "super depressed" and the experience "knocked me on my ass."
"I think we feel like everyone then automatically thinks we hate our baby if we say we have postpartum depression, which, that's not it at all," she continued on the podcast Tuesday. "It's totally the battle within yourself, within your partner, significant other — especially, I think, for career women."
"We go from, like, these major careers, and then we're here," Nikki said. "And then I'm looking in the mirror and then I think, [with Brie and me] in the spotlight, we have so much pressure on us to get back to where we were in a short amount of time."
In September, on The Bellas Podcast, the former professional wrestler admitted she wasn't aware of the mental health struggles that would follow having a baby. (While Matteo is Nikki's first child, sister Brie is mom to son Buddy Dessert, 4 months, and daughter Birdie Joe, 3½.)
"I didn't realize at week seven, you kind of come out of your baby blues and … go two different paths," Nikki said on the twins' podcast. "You go the path of being healthy or you go down the path of being depressed, and that depression path can be a really dark, deep hole. I was starting to feel invisible."
When her fiancé Chigvintsev, 38, returned from filming Dancing with the Stars, Nikki said she started to feel anger toward the Russian dancer, even though it wasn't his fault.
"He's like, 'At times, I felt like you were starting to hate me.' He's like, 'You could be mean.' And I'm not gonna lie, I did have moments of being mean," she recalled. "I did have moments when I looked at him and I hated him. It's true. There were times I'd look at him and I'm like, 'I think I hate you.' "
She's now in a better place and openly grateful for her relationship with Chigvintsev, recently calling him a "rockstar Daddy."
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