Shay Mitchell is showing off her toned figure in the new issue of Women’s Health as she opens up about how it took her a year and a half after giving birth to feel like her pre-pregnancy self again.
The 34-year-old actress, who welcomed her daughter Atlas with her partner Matte Babel in October 2019, covers the magazine’s June issue wearing a sleek black two-piece swimsuit featuring a one-shoulder strap top and high-waisted bottoms.
Shay looks incredible in the photos from the shoot, but she admitted to the magazine that having a baby changed the way she felt about her body, while also opening up about how she is teaching her baby girl about racism.
Strike a pose: Shay Mitchell, 34, is showing off her toned physique in her spread featured in the June issue of Women’s Health
Candid: The actress, who welcomed her daughter Atlas in October 2019, opened up about her postpartum body and raising a baby in the pandemic
Plans: The mother, who is half Filipino, also discussed how she is teaching her daughter about racism, explaining that she is ‘learning how to have those appropriate conversations’
‘Right after I had Atlas, if I ever made a comment about how I didn’t feel like myself, people were like, “Well, you just had a baby,”‘ she recalled.
‘Yeah, I know I just had a baby. I’m very grateful for my body, and that it gave life, but I’m still allowed to express that I don’t feel like myself.’
The Pretty Little Liars star said she ‘hit the pause button’ while quarantining at home with her partner and baby girl, who was five months old when the pandemic shutdowns started.
‘I was like, “Well, what am I getting ready for?”‘ she said of her slowed pace during that time. ‘Everything just went whoooomp.’
Shay struggled with prepartum depression in the early stages of her pregnancy and sought support from her friends.
‘And then, of course, seeing Atlas for the first time, I forgot everything,’ she added. ‘Moments after she was born, I said to Matte, “Okay, I’m ready to do this again!”‘
Stunning: The actresss covers the magazine new issue wearing a sleek black two-piece swimsuit featuring a one-shoulder strap top and high-waisted bottoms
Step by step: Shay admitted that having a baby changed the way she felt about her body, saying it took her a year and a half to feel like her pre-pregnancy self again
Looking back: Shay, who suffered from prepartum depression, admitted she was unmotivated and didn’t start feeling better until she took on a four-week fitness challenge
However, as enamored as she was with her daughter, it took her over a year to feel like herself again. She credited her partnership with the health and fitness app Openfit with helping her get back into her groove.
In January, she and her friend Stephanie Shepherd committed to doing the app’s workout classes five days a week for four weeks.
‘It changed everything,’ she said. ‘I had way more energy; I don’t have five cups of coffee anymore. I can sound preachy when I’m talking about it, but it totally altered my year.’
When the four weeks were up, Shay shared before-and-after photos on Instagram with her 29.9 million followers, saying the workouts made her ‘feel more healthy, energetic, and engaged.’
What was meant to be a positive post faced backlash from critics who claimed she was perpetuating diet culture and ungrateful for her postpartum body. Some even accused her of manipulating her ‘after’ photo by pulling up her shorts and posing differently.
Feeling better: In partnership with OpenFit, she worked out five times a week for four weeks using the app’s fitness classes in January, which she said ‘changed everything’
Fully of energy: ‘I don’t have five cups of coffee anymore,’ Shay said of taking on the fitness challenge. ‘I can sound preachy when I’m talking about it, but it totally altered my year’
Feeling good: Shay stressed that there is nothing wrong with new moms celebrating their bodies when they feel like themselves again
Changes: Shay shared before-and-after photos on Instagram after the four-week challenge, saying the workouts made her ‘feel more healthy, energetic, and engaged
The YouTuber was surprised by the reaction because she felt she was promoting health. She also stressed that there is nothing wrong with new moms celebrating their bodies when they feel like themselves again.
‘I was strong before I had Atlas, and I wanted to feel that way after,’ she explained. ‘We celebrate our bodies before we’re pregnant; we celebrate our bodies with bumps. We should also celebrate our bodies at whatever point we feel our best again.’
Photos from her new shoot show her posing in trendy swimsuits with high-cut legs and cutouts. She also showed off her athletic side in a black sports bra and matching bike shorts.
In addition to opening up about her postpartum body, Shay discussed her plans to teach her mixed-race daughter about racism amid the rise of anti-Asian American violence that has plagued the U.S. since the pandemic.
‘It’s something my mom has dealt with her whole life,’ said Shay, whose mother is Filipino and father is white. ‘When she and my dad were dating in the 1980s in Toronto, their relationship was looked down upon.
Looking to the future: Shay also opened up about her and her partner Matte Babel’s plans to teach their mixed-race daughter about racism
Difficult time: Shay, whose mom is Filipino said she was bullied in school, recalling how people would ask her things like, ‘Are you going to go clean the bathrooms?’
Strutting her stuff: Shay stepped out in Los Angeles on Sunday, one day before her magazine shoot was released
You go girl: The actress and beverage company founder put on a very stylish show in an all-white ensemble, which she accessorized with a matching handbag and tan heels
‘On the bus with my dad, she would get the worst looks. They would tell me about going into a restaurant and people not serving them. I also saw it in real life,’ she continued.
‘My mom would get derogatory remarks like, “Are you the cleaning lady? Are you the nanny?” And she was like, “No, but what is your issue if I was?”‘
Shay said she was also bullied in school, recalling how people would ask her things like, ‘Are you going to go clean the bathrooms?’
The mom said she and her partner Matte are making sure their daughter’s toys and books feature diverse characters that represent the world she lives in.
‘Matte is half white — his dad is from Trinidad. And Atlas is a mix of all of us. But she’s very fair-skinned and has light eyes and hair, so she doesn’t look like either of us,’ Shay explained.
‘We’re learning how to have those appropriate conversations. It starts with her dolls, with the toys she plays with, and the books we read to her, that have all different colors and ethnicities.’