Your Postpartum Bods Are Awesome

Images via @takebackpostpartum on Instagram

By Hannah Schenker

Stretch marks, swollen, leaky breasts, round belly, dark eye circles, unshaved legs and pits, unwashed hair and no makeup…Ordinarily you might feel despondent at the changes in your body since having a baby. Too often when we go online we see carefully arranged and lit photographs of new mamas looking radiant and well-slept and in control, and it’s hard not to compare. So this awesome Instagram account – @takebackpostpartum – should do wonders for your self-esteem. Because reality rocks.

Sharing real-life photos and stories of new mamahood, in all its guts and glory, @takebackpostpartum is a place where women can share how they really feel about their post-birth bodies. These are women from all ages and backgrounds, all with one thing in common – they are real and true.

“This is 7 days postpartum. I’m rocking out in the mesh undies from the hospital {They are the best, send me all the mesh undies please}. My body has done a beautiful thing. It has carried a 5th child into this world. My uterus and stomach might not ever be “the same.” Nor should it be after the journeys it’s been through, the stories it can tell. A gift denied to many women. For every woman complaining of stretch marks, or a newer heavier body, there is a woman out there who would trade places in a heart beat to be able to carry and raise a child. I have been the complainer before, the downer of my body. Loving my postpartum body is not something I did easily. It took years of life, loss, appreciation, understanding, stories from other women… Other women played a HUGE role in my self love of my different body. It’s amazing the gift of the lady village and the openness and rawness of those who have gone before us or are going with us, and the change it can make on the way we see ourselves when we share openly. My baby is only 7 days old. My body is supposed to look exactly like this. However my body also might not ever go back. Nor should it have to. I just want to be healthy and strong for my children. Eat healthy to have energy to be present in their lives, be the teacher and guardian they each uniquely need, loving them unconditionally every step of the way. Having a larger stomach won’t make me any less of a mother or any less deserving of self love and body appreciation. Rock out with your mesh undies out and self love the crap out of the gifts your body has allowed you to experience. And give yourself grace. Self love is a daily practice. We have to work hard to change our inner voice. Don’t you give up. It takes time for it all to come together. Just keep swimming. If baby Quinn decides one day to grow up and have children of her own, I cannot wait to celebrate her beautiful, ever changing body with her.” 👭❤️ @tiffanyburkephotography #takebackpostpartum

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The page was started by Birth Without Fear‘s January Harshe. Harshe discovered that on Instagram, the hashtag #postpartum did not always come up with lovely, beautiful posts. She found it full of spam, gimmicks, and self hate, as she calls it in her post about it here. She decided it was time to take back the word, and encouraged her followers to do the same.

“Postpartum is full of hormones, little sleep, survival mode, and figuring out a million different things with our new babies (and possibly toddlers and teenagers on top of it),” she says in her post. “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.

LET’S TAKE BACK POSTPARTUM. We are mothers and strong women. Our collective voice is so powerful that we can shake the entire world.”

Here are just a few of the real, raw, inspiring posts, but head on over to @takebackpostpartum and scroll through to read more. Perhaps you’d like to make a post yourself.

•B o d y P o s i t i v e• At almost 4 months postpartum, this is my body today. I’m not one of the women who can just ‘bounce back’ after having a baby. I’ve gone back and forth I don’t know how many times about posting this photo. I’ve been trying my best not to get down about my body since having Holden, but it’s been a bit hard at times. There are days when I feel pretty good about myself, and then there are days where I don’t even want to look in the mirror. But every time I start feeling poorly about my body, I remind myself that I just GREW A HUMAN inside of me. For nearly 10 months, my body changed and grew a little more every day with a growing baby inside of it. And that feeling trumps any and all of the poor feelings I have about myself. It makes me snuggle her a little harder and look at her a little longer. Because for me, motherhood isn’t about getting my body back or being able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. It’s about spending every moment possible loving on my precious babe and building that special bond with her. 🖤 Words and image by @august.bea. • • • #postpartum #postpartumbody #nobounceback #thisisme #webothhaverolls #mombod #bodypositive #igrewahumaninthere #takebackpostpartum

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“I’ve been wanting to share this for awhile now. Almost everyday, 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’. Now having said that, I work very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to FEEL good in my skin. I may not ever look the way I did before I had the twins. And you know what? I’m OK with that. _ I have arms. I have legs. I can see, hear and experience life. My body has done amazing things, why on earth would I punish it? _ Learn to appreciate what you have. It doesn’t mean you have to stop working for what you want, just show a little self love along the way.” 💕@twinmamadiaries #takebackpostpartum

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“Deep breaths…..this is me. This is my body. My body as a cancer survivor, as an amputee, as the mom to 3. I have the scars to show the battles I have fought, I have the stretch marks to show the babies I have grown. My body tells a story, it’s shows my journey……. And yet I have never been so hard on myself and how it looks as I have now. I’m 16 months postpartum, I’m still nursing. My stomach is still soft and my breast will never be as perky as they once were. Today I had to stop the nitpicking… I had to be kind to myself and I had to try to look at myself the way the people I love see me. I had to look at the amazing things this body has done. How can I see only faults in a vessel that has given me so much? This is MY body.” @treeoflifedoula3 #takebackpostpartum

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See more incredible photos and stories on page 2…

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