A pregnant meteorologist and TV presenter has taken to social media to call out body-shamers who made cruel comments about her weight.
Ashlee Baracy, 34, is a reporter for the US TV station WBNS and chose to share her happy news on-air back in February.
The mum-to-be and her husband Jeff Kunkel beamed while brandishing blue and pink balloons - but soon after that moment of happiness, Ashlee felt a sense of dread.
“The sad part is the second I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would have to deal with criticism of my body by viewers,” she told local paper The Columbus Dispatch.
“I’ve been around the business long enough, and I’ve seen colleagues go through that.”
Sure enough, the unwanted comments filled Ashlee’s email inbox and social media accounts.
Viewers sent her messages like, “Pregnant or not, buy bigger clothes!!! You look bloated and uncomfortable ... It is not likely your dresses will survive another 20 weeks of pregnancy weight.”
“Ashley, you are really putting on weight. Watch your heart,” said another.
Instead of letting the hateful comments get to her, the former Miss Michigan of 2008 took to social media to publicly call out the body-shamers.
"The best is when someone like 'Clay Walker' submits hate mail with an invalid email and disconnected phone number," Baracy wrote in one Facebook post, pointing out the cowardly act.
"My weight gain is normal, my blood pressure is perfect ... BLESS your heart 'Clay,' because Lord knows you will need all the blessings you can get when you meet the Lord some day at the pearly white gates."
“If I can use my voice to make things better, I will do that,” Baracy told the newspaper. “I hope this is a platform where we can talk more about it, because there are many women who deal with it.”
Ashlee - who is due in August - said that she is thankful for all of the positive support she has received from viewers and her husband.
“Now that I’m going to be a mom, I want my child to be confident in their skin,” she said.
“Kids shouldn’t look at someone on TV and hear their parents say, `She looks fat,′ because what might they think when they look in the mirror?”
Additional reporting by Hope Schreiber.
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