We love a good self-portrait, and these stunning snaps showcasing the variety and beauty of “stretchies” are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Stretch marks tell a story. While not exclusive to mothers, they have become synonymous with pregnancy and postpartum. Once feared and hidden, they’re now celebrated. Stretch marks in motherhood are a physical reminder of how our remarkable bodies change, grow, and literally stretch to accommodate life. They represent the ultimate love.
The women featured below are at the forefront of a movement to normalize and celebrate postpartum bodies, in all their forms. These moms are sharing their experiences of motherhood online to empower other women and to break the stigma around what a woman “should” look like, one photo at a time. Equally as beautiful, their captions speak their own thoughts and raw emotions while reflecting how their perceptions of, and appreciation for, their body has grown.
Being a mother of two is an incredible blessing and I thank my body every day. Thank you for allowing me to be present with my children and to put creating art to one side as I once again transition to motherhood, this time as a mother of two. – Morgan-Roberts Illustrations
This week I got the sweetest comments about how seeing me feeling confident in my body – stretch marks and all – made other women feel like they could do the same. – Kam Explains It All
I am a firm believer that we need to break the mold on how our postpartum bodies should look. After I had Rhys, I had a really difficult time accepting how I looked. I had stretch marks covering my stomach and thighs. My hair was a frizzy mess from postpartum hair loss and from constantly being put up in a bun. I had so much loose, sagging skin that I couldn’t get rid of, no matter how much I worked out or how healthily I ate. I needed a change so badly that I dyed my hair black with box dye. Goodness knows what on earth I was thinking.
16-year old me would absolutely die at the thought of posting this picture because of how my stomach looks. Now I’m proud of these stretch marks and this loose skin. I’ve grown two amazing human beings that I get the privilege of watching grow up. Sure, I’m going to try and lose some of this weight, start working out again, and try to eat a healthy diet, while eating junk snacks. This time around, however, I don’t mind showing me to you. – Raising Rhys
I remember taking this picture and thinking that I’d never post it. Now it’s one of my most favorite photos of my pregnancy with the twins. I see the chaos of life with a toddler. I see the story of growing three humans across my very large stomach. I see the joy on both of our faces. I can still hear the music playing that we were dancing to. And the smell of dinner cooking in the oven. I can remember this moment so vividly. A moment I thought I would forget, frozen in time. – Kelly Bailey
For as long as I can remember I dreamed of buying clothes to shrink into: smaller size jeans, tighter dresses, shorter crop tops. When I said yes to coaching almost three years ago I was in such a dark place mentally. I craved the feeling of being obsessed with ALL of me instead of tearing myself apart for what I wasn’t. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I could feel this accepting of this postpartum body today.
30+ pounds heavier, and stomach stretched with dozens and dozens of tiger stripes – but regardless of the extreme changes my body has endured, I have never felt more empowered. – Christine Cote
These photos were taken just hours before giving birth to showcase the pure strength and power of a woman’s body. – Prescila Furtado
My boys don’t see the scars from the two surgeries I had to help bring them into this world. They also don’t see the stretch marks that need to occur to keep them safe inside me. What they do see is their mama’s growing tummy turning into a basketball. They see their baby brother’s movements getting bigger and they giggle with excitement. I don’t love the scars and the stretch marks but I do love that I have been blessed to carry four humans in the span of three years. How incredible is that? – Thenedra