What postpartum bodies REALLY look like: Women share photos of their stretch marks, stomachs and hyper-pigmented skin to break the stigma faced by new mothers
- Women from all over the world have shared post-partum pictures on Instagram
- Started by US-based body positive activist and mother-of-six January Harsche
- Mothers have showed off bodies after giving birth to prove they’re beautiful
New mothers have shared candid pictures of their postpartum bodies to encourage other women to feel confident in their skin after giving birth.
The women, from all over the world, have shared inspiring photos of their tummies after giving birth on Instagram, and they have since been collated in a gallery by Bored Panda.
The Take Back Postpartum movement was started in 2015 by US-based mother-of-six, author and Podcaster January Harshe, who encouraged mothers to show what their bodies looked like after birth in a bid to break the stigma and body shaming surrounding new mothers.
Since then, women have taken to social media to share their stories and feelings about their ‘mum bodies.’
WEEKS LATER: Women have shared pictures of their bodies after giving birth to normalise stretch marks and scars. Pictured: A US-based fitness instructor showing the difference in her body after giving birth (left), and a few weeks later (right)
MINUTES AFTER BIRTH: A British mother shared this photo with the caption: ‘This obviously isn’t your usual #1daypostnatal ‘look how my body has bounced back after birth’ type photo. When we only see certain types of post natal bodies it makes only one type of body feel acceptable to society. Which means the vast majority of us slump off in our PJS and baggy clothes when we still look 7 months pregnant after baby’
TWO WEEKS POST-PARTUM: Writer, speaker and Black Mamahood founder Shanicia Boswell shared these photos of on Vernette Instagram. The photos were taken two weeks post-partum
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A FEW HOURS AFTER: One mother, from an unknown location, shared this picture, taken in hospital just days after she had given birth to show her belly. She said: ‘This was taken just a few hours after giving birth. Real & Raw. Mesh panties, nipple shields & dark circles under my eyes. Oh, and AINT NO SNAPBACK. And I’m ok with that. This body birthed SIX kids.’
FIVE WEEKS LATER: One mother, from Australia, shared side-by-side pictures of her pregnant belly next to her postpartum body, showing her stretch marks. She wrote: ‘After 5 weeks, I still look 4 months pregnant and I’m still a bit sore from 2 ecv’s and an emergency c-section…women are amazing and everyone recovers differrently from their unique delivery experience, what matters most is that cute little face that we get to call our own’
AFTER FIVE CHILDREN: In Philadelphia, this mother proudly showed her stretch marks on her belly in a black and white picture. She penned: ‘So many women have said to me, “You’re so small after having 5 kids!” And most of the time I just laugh it off and chalk it up to genetics. But what they don’t know is I would have GLADLY traded places with them and the “extra” baby weight they gained. You can always lose weight but all these stretch marks are permanent’
A proud mother, from Massachusetts, shared this multi-tasking picture showing her eating pasta while breastfeeding. She wrote: ‘Well, if this isn’t post-partum in a nutshell… Actually, this is just #motherhood. Welcome to eating your meals wherever you can get them’
One mother, from New York, shared this picture of her belly, with stretch mark and loose skin to normalise what a postpartum body looks like. She wrote: ‘This was me at 38 weeks pregnant. I followed all the guidelines for a healthy pregnancy and still was left with a forever changed body’
Mother Jade Madden, from Perth, shared this snap and penned: ‘The only post baby bodies I see on Instagram and the “perfect” ones…..the ones that have bounced back into wearing their crop tops and bikinis and their XS sized jeans 1 week post birth. Raise your hands if you’re months or years postpartum and still wearing your maternity jeans or had to buy brand New Jeans because your old ones don’t fit’
One mother, from an unknown location, shared a close up picture of her belly to give a detailed look at the stretch marks on her skin
Another mother, from an unknown location, admitted she used to weigh herself daily after giving birth, but had learned to love her body. She said: ‘I would always make sure to go to the bathroom first. There would be a rush of anxiety as the scale blinked while I stared down in anticipation. It was the moment that would depict how I approached my day…This was how I lived. It was destroying me. And I was completely convinced that this was the only way to be happy’
This mother, from Vancouver Island, proudly showed off her tummy in a selfie revealing her hips and belly. ‘Don’t buy into all the BS that #dietculture has thrown all over social media — it’s utterly ridiculous — and it’s taken me a LONG time to love who I am. I assure you it didn’t happen over night’
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