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.

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

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