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.
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.”
The stories are by new moms from all walks of life, but the images have one thing in common; they’re real and raw.
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"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.
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.
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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
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.