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Photos: What postpartum bodies really look like

“I am grateful for the stretch marks that paint my (now) soft tummy. They remind me of when we were one instead of two.”

Photos: What postpartum bodies really look like

On finding acceptance

“I’m not exactly where I’d like to be physically, but I think I’m okay with that. This squishy belly was once stretched to its limits to make you comfortable. This scarred tummy was your home for 42 weeks & 1 day. It made a beautiful, smart & healthy baby girl. I will never look the same post baby, but guess what? I’ll never be the same person I was before I became your mom.”

Getting used to your postpartum body can be like visiting a foreign land—one with a new landscape, new people and new experiences to embrace.

One online movement, centered around the Instagram hashtag #takebackpostpartum, helps to remind women that they’re not alone in their transformation to motherhood.

The movement’s creator, January Harshe, wrote:

“Postpartum is full of hormones, little sleep, survival mode, and figuring out a million different things with our new babies... It’s trying to breastfeed, getting a groove back in your marriage or relationship, and our bodies taking time to heal. It’s a roller coaster ride that is personal and different to each person and family going through it, but is also similar enough that most of us can relate on some level.”

That’s what #takebackpostpartum does. It helps women realize that this feeling of being a stranger in your own body—well, it’s a truly common experience.

Those stretch marks? Ninety percent of pregnant women get them.

Breasts transformed after nursing? Totally normal.

FEATURED VIDEO

That love for your baby? Well, that’s priceless.

That’s why we celebrate the stunning + brave mamas who use #takebackpostpartum to help prove that your new body after baby is normal + beautiful.

On learning to love her body

“I knew when I was pregnant that it would be a struggle for me to adjust to a postpartum body. It has taken 26 years and my 6 month old daughter Alena to learn to love and admire my body for the AMAZING things it can do! I have sheltered, nurtured, comforted, and loved both my boyfriend and baby with this body, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
—@@krisnicole15

On living in the moment

“All I want is this.”
—@thebliss_junkie

On beauty in the everyday

A photo posted by Beth (@thismum) on

“This path of motherhood is familiar yet treacherous. I know the routines yet I am not content with comfortable. Take time to stretch yourself, grow yourself and just be yourself.”
—@thismum

On body pride

When I was pregnant, I’ve always wondered how I would end up feeling about my postpartum body. Here I am, three weeks later, feeling AMAZING. . . Sure, there’s a bit of excess skin and stretch marks that show where I grew my beautiful daughter but none of it bothered me as I thought it would. I feel beautiful and truly respect my body to the fullest. 
—@aliciamew

On her connection to her baby

“We were just all one body for so long, even after he was born.”
—@thebrookeway

On finding your new self after baby

A photo posted by Sylvia (@theresiugoes) on

“Stripes and flowers. This journey isn’t about weight loss, it’s about acceptance... I don’t need to put on weight and I don’t need to lose weight. I just need to care for this body I’ve been given.”
—@theresiugoes

On the marks love leaves

“I am grateful for the stretch marks that paint my (now) soft tummy. They remind me of when we were one instead of two.”
—@tmpdenni

On what she has achieved

A photo posted by Autumn Wing (@meetvirginia9) on

“It’s all I have left to show that I made the most beautiful wonderful perfect human being.”
—@meetvirginia9

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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