Moms share gorgeous photos and stories about their postpartum bodies
The typical postpartum photos of moms and their babies that we see on our social media feeds are well-lit and stunning. A talented photographer arranges things just so to make a momma appear well-rested, perfectly-coifed, and serene. Which means the belly full of stretch-marks and post-birth engorged breasts that we know lie underneath are carefully hidden.
But the thing is, that’s what most moms are rocking shortly after giving birth, and there’s an Instagram account celebrating it instead of hiding it.
Takebackpostpartum is pretty much a godsend, sharing photos and stories from real moms who give honest accounts of how they feel about their post-baby bodies. Instead of all the usual enviable (and often unattainable) perfection, moms can scroll through these images and see themselves, which can go a long way toward accepting the changes happening in their own bodies.
"No more bump shots so me and Margot have had a little selfie instead. One week postpartum and I can honestly say it's been a lot harder than I ever thought. After having an emergency c-section and delivering Nellie 3 months early I though our full term, planned section would be a breeze. Well in no way have I "bounced back" like I did with Nellie. Will my belly button always look like a cats bum hole? 😆 It's been a lot easier emotionally but I still cry at least once a day over absolutely nothing and man my poor boobies are running like taps, everything is soaked in breast milk, Margot loves a comfort feed so I've spent the last 7 days with her hanging of my nipple whilst contending with Nellie and now this silly blood pressure problem. How an earth do you mummas with more than two do it? Not that I would have it any other way, I'm still utterly and blissfully in baby paradise. There really is nothing I'd rather be doing than mothering my two girls." @sageandnellie . . . #postpartum #1weekold #1weekpostpartum #4thtrimester #newborn #babygirl #toddlermum #mumoftwo #takebackpostpartum
Along with each photo, moms write their feelings about how they look after baby, and nothing is off-limits. “After having an emergency c-section and delivering Nellie 3 months early I thought our full term, planned section would be a breeze. Well in no way have I ‘bounced back’ like I did with Nellie. Will my belly button always look like a cats bum hole?”
One mom explains her feelings of guilt for worrying about stretch marks when other women can’t have any kids. “It’s selfish I know, others are having issues falling pregnant and I’m moaning about my stretch marks, marks which without, I wouldn’t have my kids. I am truly grateful for my children.” Her story, like many others featured by the account, is one of a journey to self-acceptance. “I heard a quote the other day, ‘For every woman who hates her stretch marks there is a woman wishing she had them.’ It really got me thinking. Thinking about the new body I have. I am thankful everyday, don’t get me wrong. The stretch marks a part of me now, a part I am yet to fully accept.”
"I still don’t think I have really come to terms with my new body, while it’s easy to adopt the attitude ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – they are definitely not out of mind. It’s selfish I know, others are having issues falling pregnant and I’m moaning about my stretch marks, marks which without, I wouldn’t have my kids. I am truly grateful for my children. My stretch marks are bad. They look like I’ve been attacked by a wild animal (maybe that’d be a better story to roll with). They’re deep and almost look like burns. I know they will fade over time but I think with the extent of them, it’s likely they’ll always be quite prominent. The tattoo is ruined, but I am not bothered as I hated it anyway. I heard a quote the other day, “For every woman who hates her stretch marks there is a woman wishing she had them”. It really got me thinking. Thinking about the new body I have. I am thankful everyday, don’t get me wrong. The stretch marks a part of me now, a part I am yet to fully accept. Whilst I am almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body is most certainly not the same but I am OK with that. Am I really? Yes and no. I wish I didn’t have my stretch marks but they also tell a story and I now have two beautiful children to show for it. It’s funny because I weigh the same but I am different size and body shape now, my boobs went from a C to a DD and I am not even breastfeeding anymore. I don’t fit any of my old clothes and I can’t stand anything that is tight fitting, although I never did, to be honest. 3 months on from baby #2 and I don’t think I can say I ‘love’ my body but I am coming to terms with the fact that this is my body now. Not everybody gets stretch marks, yay you. I did, and it’s really not the end of the world. It’s my body, there is fuck all I can do to change it so I just have to deal with it and learn to accept it. So here I am, baring it all to you. If anybody else is in the same boat you’ll now you are not alone. It’s tough, I won’t lie. I feel sad when I see people bounce back from their pregnancies. I don’t wish for a perfect body, I just wish I could be comfortable and confident in myself. It will come with time I am sure." @jessbovey
The stories are by new moms from all walks of life, but the images have one thing in common; they’re real and raw.
•B o d y P o s i t i v e• At almost 4 months postpartum, this is my body today. I'm not one of the women who can just 'bounce back' after having a baby. I've gone back and forth I don't know how many times about posting this photo. I've been trying my best not to get down about my body since having Holden, but it's been a bit hard at times. There are days when I feel pretty good about myself, and then there are days where I don't even want to look in the mirror. But every time I start feeling poorly about my body, I remind myself that I just GREW A HUMAN inside of me. For nearly 10 months, my body changed and grew a little more every day with a growing baby inside of it. And that feeling trumps any and all of the poor feelings I have about myself. It makes me snuggle her a little harder and look at her a little longer. Because for me, motherhood isn't about getting my body back or being able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. It's about spending every moment possible loving on my precious babe and building that special bond with her. 🖤 Words and image by @august.bea. • • • #postpartum #postpartumbody #nobounceback #thisisme #webothhaverolls #mombod #bodypositive #igrewahumaninthere #takebackpostpartum
"Postpartum is just as beautiful as pregnancy. I am learning to embrace the empty uterus that was my baby's home for the past 9 months, the wounds and scars that made me a warrior during the birthing process, and everything else that comes along during this transition. As we face a new day, it has its own set of challenges and nursing is something we are working desperately hard to nail down from the beginning. None of it is easy but thats what makes it so damn amazing. I am woman. I am a warrior. I am stronger than I've ever been before and I can overcome anything." ❤️ @lynzyandco #birthwithoutfear #oxytocinvibes #postpartum #postpartumjourney #takebackpostpartum
Even moms who have “bounced back” deal with insecurities and the fact that their bodies won’t ever be exactly as they were before having kids, but they’re all at different places along the path to realizing that’s OK.
"I've been wanting to share this for awhile now. Almost everyday, I receive messages from other Mums asking me how I look the way that I do. How I got my 'pre baby body' back. Here's the truth ladies – I DIDN'T. I have the excess skin. I don't have stomach definition the way I used to. My hips are a little wider. I don't want there to be any misconceptions. My body did not just 'bounce back'. Now having said that, I work very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to FEEL good in my skin. I may not ever look the way I did before I had the twins. And you know what? I'm OK with that. _ I have arms. I have legs. I can see, hear and experience life. My body has done amazing things, why on earth would I punish it? _ Learn to appreciate what you have. It doesn't mean you have to stop working for what you want, just show a little self love along the way." 💕@twinmamadiaries #takebackpostpartum
This mom writes, “I receive messages from other Mums asking me how I look the way that I do. How I got my ‘pre baby body’ back. Here’s the truth ladies – I DIDN’T. I have the excess skin. I don’t have stomach definition the way I used to. My hips are a little wider. I don’t want there to be any misconceptions. My body did not just ‘bounce back’.”
Messages like these are incredibly valuable as we navigate the social media landslide of postpartum “perfection.” We wonder why our own bodies are falling short of the societal expectation that women should get back to their pre-baby body immediately, or something is “wrong” with them. Because the fact is, most of us will never look or feel exactly as we did before becoming moms, and that’s actually a pretty beautiful thing.
via @mamaclog Bad lighting Misshapen belly button. Love handles. Wrinkly tummy pooch. Wonky c-section scar. Torn thighs. All worth it to grow and birth my little boy. I refuse to be ashamed. It's so easy to pick the photo with the best lighting, but that's not real life. Do not feel disheartened if your postpartum body doesn't look the same as the mums you see on Instagram. Good lighting and filters hide SO much. I am very active and I eat very well, but some of these marks with stay with me forever no matter what I do. And that's ok. #AintNoShameInMyMummyTummyGame #TakeBackPostPartum
"16 M O N T H S #postpartum after my twin pregnancy . 30 kilograms get and lost in the shortest time. My mother's body has made three children and two births. A caesarean section, excess skin, pregnancy strips, and muscles that have pulled apart #rektusdiastase. That's me. The miracle of life.@ ♥ @derstillzwerg . . #miracleoflife #takebackpostpartum #motherhoodrising #postpartumbody #caesareansection #notks #postpregnancy #mombod #dickbauch #dickbauchdienstag #embracethesquish #afterbabybody #bodylove #positivebody #mombody #mutterkörper #motherlove #mutterliebe #motherhood #mother #♥ #twinspregnancy #twinsinside
The journey to self-acceptance after having a child can be a long and rocky one, but with moms being open about all the bumps in the road (and the stretch marks and the pile of pre-baby jeans that might never fit again, and who cares) we can all know that we’re not alone.
And that knowledge is worth everything.