EastEnders Lucy Beale star shows her stretch marks as she ‘mourns pre-baby body’

Former EastEnders actress Melissa Suffield has admitted she's not happy with her body almost one year after giving birth.

The 28-year-old star – who played Lucy Beale in the BBC soap – took to Instagram to share a photograph of herself showing off her tummy in a pair of black knickers and a matching crop top.

The T-shirt was emblazoned with a rainbow and the words "one cool mama" and Melissa looked happy and relaxed as she laughed for the camera.

Alongside the snap she wrote a lengthy and very honest caption, as she admitted she doesn't always love her post-pregnancy physique.

"I am body positive. Overall, that much is true. But it can feel toxic sometimes, this message that you must love your body, whatever," Melissa wrote.

"I can appreciate my body and all it has given me, while still wanting to better myself. I can mourn my pre-baby stomach and still be grateful that it grew my baby.

"I can want to fit back into my favourite pair of jeans without it being because I’m conforming to a beauty standard that is unrealistic or damaging – also, buying new jeans in a pandemic when you can’t try them on oh my God so stressful."

The mum-of-one continued: "I can see my body and recognise its worth, but I can also set myself a goal. After all, having a project is good for the soul and the mind.

"Almost 10 months on and I’m still feeling the effects of pregnancy. The stretch marks have faded a little, and genuinely don’t bother me anymore.

"My stomach overhang looks like the side view of a blob fish (yes I did literally draw this onto a photo of my stomach to send to my mate) and has made me laugh and cry in equal measure. My hips ache daily, sometimes to the point where I can’t carry River. That bothers me a little more.

"I’d love to be able to exercise a little, but physically, it’s not possible to do more than a 20 minute walk per day, and that isn’t cutting the mustard when it comes to improving my fitness or my mood."

Melissa then went on to list the positives of her body and all that it does and can do for her.

She said: "But also, my body makes milk that feeds my kid. My body has my brain, which even though it gets fuzzy these days, is creative and quick.

"My body has travelled, learned, laughed, been put through its paces, danced, and been with me every step of the way."

She described it as "a complicated relationship right now" but admitted she's trying not to "put too much pressure" on herself.

Many of Melissa's 14,900 followers were quick to praise her for the post, but one nasty troll commented "ugh" with a vomiting emoji.

But Melissa was having none of it and hit back whilst defending the photo.

"I won't ever change what I post! Two kids in that profile picture, one of which is a young girl.

"And not only do you feel that way about a woman's body, but you've taken the time out to comment and let her know just how disgusting you find her," she wrote.

"And you're raising a daughter, who will learn her worth from her parents. And a son who will emulate how you treat women. What a b****y shame."

Melissa recently opened up about her body hang-ups for Grazia and their new parenting platform The Juggle.

"My ethos with posting is also my mantra – no filter, no judgement, no bulls**t," she wrote.

"It doesn’t seem authentic to keep these thoughts hidden and only post a carefully curated feed of a perfectly charmed life. It’s not accurate. Some days, I absolutely detest the body that pregnancy has left behind."

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