Having children changes our bodies. It just does. But that doesn't mean that our bodies should no longer be seen, celebrated or loved.
That's the message behind former Bachelorette turned blogger Ali Fedotowsky-Manno's latest Instagram post. She's showing love for the stomach that stretched to carry her two beautiful children, and she's hoping other mamas will to.
"When I look at myself in the mirror I can't help but notice that my hips are wider than they used to be, my wrinkles are deeper than when I was in my 20's, and my stomach has lumps and bumps that didn't used to be there," Fedotowsky captioned the photo in which she's wearing just a bra and yoga pants, her belly bare for the world to see.
"But then I try to remember that my hips are wider because they give birth to two beautiful children. My wrinkles are deeper because I've spent countless sleepless nights making sure my kiddos are cared for, fed, and loved. And my belly is extra squishy because it spent 18 months making sure two sweet little babies had a place to call home."
Of course, this isn't the first time Fedotowsky has gotten vulnerable about her body on social media. Back in July she first showed her mid-section in a sponsored post for Lilly and Limes Swimwear and was shocked by the response she got from other mothers.
"When I first decided to put my postpartum body out there on the internet for everybody to see, I knew it would be impactful. I knew it would resonate with some moms, and hopefully help a few people, but I had no idea. Within seconds of posting it, I had thousands of comments on my Instagram post," she told Motherly back in the summer."
"I feel like almost now I need to do more because it almost felt like a movement, in a way. Like, oh my gosh, all these women are coming together and talking about how they're experiencing the same thing and how that post made them have courage to love their bodies that day, or whatever it may be," she explained.
According to Fedotowsky, postpartum bodies need to be normalized. Stomachs get wrinkly and stretchy. It happens.
"A body like mine's a normal woman's body. A woman who is a fuller figure is a normal woman's body. Meaning there is no normal. We're all different and everybody's reality after childbirth is different, I'm just glad that I got to show one version of that, and I'm so glad that it resonated with so many moms," she said.
On her latest belly-bearing post (which, unlike the swimwear post, isn't sponsored) commenters are letting Fedotowsky know they appreciate how she's putting her body out there, and showing that while postpartum bodies may look different, they are so beautiful.
"Needed this today," one mama wrote.
In a previous conversation with Motherly, Fedotowsky explained that comments like that are why she's doing this. "I would just encourage women out there to look at their bodies, their postpartum bodies, as a beautiful vessel that brought their child into the world and to be proud of it, and not to be afraid to show that."