This Is Postpartum: A New Project Celebrating All Postpartum Bodies And Their Differences

Jen McLellan of @PlusMommy

I have given birth to six humans, but it wasn't until the last two that my body really didn't "bounce back" at all. My stomach that used to be just streatch-marked is now saggy and stretch-marked. My breasts keep moving south. The collagen has (as they say) given up the ghost. For these reasons (and a host of others) seeing every kind of body — but especially the larger ones — is so important. 

I am delighted to be able to share this new project with you. 

Blogger and new mom, Meg Boggs, found that her pregnancy and the birth of her baby really changed how she saw her body — from indifference to appreciation, from so-so to magnficient — so much so that she wanted to share it. Meg reached out to other mom bloggers to share their own postpartum bodies for her project This Is Postpartum. They did and the result is beautiful. 

But first: This idea of "bouncing back" after having a baby is absurd. First of all, where are you bouncing from? Secondly, to hell with the implication that there is something wrong with the "new" body. 

There is nothing wrong with any and every change your body undergoes during pregnancy and birth. Those changes are how your baby got here! Those changes are a constant physical reminder of the thing you probably love most in the whole world — your child. 

Sheesh, I don't even want my "pre-baby" body back. Why would I? My kids are the best damn thing I've ever done, why would I want to look like I didn't have them?

Now, on to the project.

Here are some photos of moms who participated.

The creator, Meg Boggs of meg.boggs.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum . A few months ago, I posted a postpartum photo similar to this for the very first time. It was the most terrifying thing for me, and it definitely had backlash. I just wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin, even though I had online strangers telling me to stop blaming being fat on postpartum. I just wanted to be the person that I needed to see while at my lowest of lows as I entered the postpartum reality. And the truth is, I felt very alone in what I was sharing as a plus size mother. I quickly realized why moms like me weren’t sharing about this topic openly on social media. So even though I knew there would be criticism, I knew it was important for me, and for others like me, to share my story. And to post the photos and talk about this. Because this is postpartum. . Towards the beginning of the summer, I started thinking about reaching out to other mothers and asking them to share with me. Asking mothers of every size and shape to stand up with me and to show that not all of our experiences are the same. We aren’t doing this alone. And today, those strong mothers are standing up. We are sharing our stories. Some of us for the very first time and some of us for the hundredth time. But every time is meaningful. Our journey is meaningful. Every part of our postpartum experience is normal and we all fall on to some part of its wide spectrum. So today, and from now on, let’s share. Let’s stand up. Let’s embrace our postpartum bodies together. Whether you’re plus size, full of loose skin, stretch marked up or scarred. All of it is postpartum. All of it counts. All of it means something. Because all of it is part of you. And you, mama, are worthy. . For the entire project, find the link in my bio and in my stories to the video for This Is Postpartum. Use the hashtag #this_is_postpartum and share your story. Be a part of the project and join the mission to help change the narrative of postpartum bodies. . This is postpartum, and so is this (swipe to continue the loop)  @thefortintrio. . Tee: @themomculture

A post shared by Meghan  (@meg.boggs) on

Brenda of she_plusfive.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum . . When I look at myself in the mirror all I see is loose skin, stretch marks, scars, leaking breasts, untamed hair, and whatever other “flaws” I can come up with that particular day. I stand there and I criticize myself, I feel shame, I feel ugly, I feel lonely, and I feel unloved. . . But not today! . . Today I will look at myself in the mirror and I will see my body for what’s its done. That loose skin and all those stretch marks are beautiful reminders of the changes my body went through to create life within me. My scar reminds me of my two cesarean births and my three unmedicated vbacs. Those leaking breasts are a beautiful reminder of the babies I am sustaining and keeping alive with my milk. The untamed hair is a beautiful reminder that I am doing everything I possibly can to care for my little humans. . . Today I am showing my postpartum body. Today I embrace the chaos that comes with mothering five children. Today I encourage you to love yourself in ways that you’ve never loved yourself before. . . Because this is postpartum, and so is this @eliseknowles (swipe to read her story)

A post shared by b r e n d a (@she_plusfive) on

Camille Griffin of lifeasagriffin.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum Are you ready for a little vulnerability? This is so hard to do because with social media you are judged from every single angle + every time I open up there is always some form of negativity {even though the positive far outweighs the negative - I’d be lying if I said those rude comments don’t hurt a little} But here it goes - There was a period of time where I can honestly say I didn’t love myself. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt. I was completely insecure with who I was and had even lost sight of who I wanted to be or what I wanted to accomplish in life. I felt as if everything I did was wrong + a complete failure After being pregnant with our first, I went through some pretty dark times. I put on a mask and mastered covering it up, but there were some nights I simply cried on the side of our bed. Poor Brandon probably thought I was crazy woman & wondered what he’d gotten himself into Fast forward 8+ years and 3 kids later - I no longer want to care what “the world” thinks. I no longer strive to be who my previous self thought “they” want I’m working hard to love myself along with my imperfections + just work to become my best self These 3 little minions are constantly watching + learning from my example They see me look in the mirror and scrutinize every flaw + imperfection And I have to ask myself this question Is this the kind of self love that I want them to have for themselves OR am I doing the exact opposite Some days insecurities want to sneak in and continue to tell me that I’m not good enough, I’m not working hard enough, I’m never going to be perfect or look the way so-and-so does — no matter how many hours in the gym But I’m working on it, I’m working on me. I’m allowing myself to work on becoming better while embracing my flaws and imperfections. I still have such a long way to go but I am a momma to 3 of the most perfect creations & for that I can celebrate THIS is postpartum. And so is this @chasingmcallisters

A post shared by Camille Griffin (@lifeasagriffin) on

Carlee Benear of carleebyoga.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum .. and so is this (swipe left) @astoldbymama Postpartum can best be described , for me, as a wormhole into another realm called, Motherhood. In this wormhole, you are : changing shapes, not recognizing yourself anymore, having out of body experiences, spinning wildly through reality check after reality check, testing all your limitations, exploring new possibilities, trying on many different hats, questioning everything you know, finding unimaginable love. While feeling every feeling you've ever known and some you just discovered. Sometimes all at once. Other times, leaping from one extreme to another, and back again. When you get through this wormhole of post partum, it tosses you out (biggest understatement ever) , into this new land , Motherhood, that no one has ever returned from. Where you are then promptly handed a beautifully drawn picture (because its unrealistic) of a well-kept , sane-looking woman and ushered on your way to explore the new world with a group of either helpful people who will tell you you're doing great no matter what you choose, or a divided group who is at constant war over who is right, or no one at all. Oh, and did I forget to mention that you are responsible for teaching and growing that perfect little specimen into the next leader of that world? Good luck out there! May you realize the luxury of your own thoughts and choose them wisely. Join the movement , post your story and tag #thisispostpartum See all the stories , swipe left and see @astoldbymama then follow the tags, and visit the creator of this @meg.boggs to see the video.

A post shared by Carlee Benear (@carleebyoga) on

Desiree Fortin of thefortintrio.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum When I found out I was pregnant with triplets I remember scrolling through pictures of other triplet moms before and after pictures wondering how much my body would change. Would I have stretch marks? Would I ever feel comfortable in my own skin again? Would I hate my post baby body? • The truth Is my body changed.It changed a lot. I may have “bounced back” (whatever that really means), but my body is not the same, I am not the same. Everything changed. • There comes a point in our postpartum journeys where we have a choice to make. Will you choose to embrace your wounds and love your body for the miracle it did to bring life into this world OR will you be your biggest critic constantly feeding yourself lies about your new body? The reality is in order for us to fully embrace our postpartum bodies we must change our perspective and how we see ourselves. • Yes, my body has changed. Yes, it has taken time for me to feel beautiful, strong, sexy, and confident in this new body. But I prayed for these wounds. I longed for these tiger stripes. There was a time during my infertility where I would have had c-sections over and over just to have a baby in my arms. When I look at my hope wounds I will remember the other women out there waiting, hoping, wishing for the same kind of hope wounds. I will choose to embrace them for what they are because they are apart of my story and brought me my miracles. • My friends @th3littlestavenger and @thebirdspapaya said it perfectly “This, what I am holding in my hands, is a result of my successes.” • Whoever you are and wherever you are in your postpartum journey, always remember you’re beautiful, your body is amazing, and your a great mama. This is postpartum, and so is this: @she_plusfive (swipe and tap to see her story) Tee: @themomculture #thebump #teamSELF #selflove #postpartum #motherhood #pregnantandperfect #inspirepregnancy #fitmomsofig #pregnantchicken #ig_motherhood #birthbecomesher #stopcensoringmotherhood #aheadofthecurve #bodypositivity #csection #scars #LoveAnyBody #postpartumbody #fitness #loveyourself #postpartumdepression #tummytuck #triplets #birthwithoutfear #nonairbrushedme

A post shared by Desiree Fortin (@thefortintrio) on

Tori B. of themanifestingmamma.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

. #this_is_postpartum . I suppose it stemmed from all of the subliminal messages I would see in the media growing up. I would see and hear of women “bouncing back” so quickly after childbirth. I presumed that it was just something you’re expected to do, lose the baby weight and in a short amount of time. I had this idea in my head that women are supposed to look a certain way and if they don’t, then they’re “letting themselves go” . As someone who was already tipping the scales towards obesity, I felt an insurmountable pressure to lose the baby weight on top of my pre-existing weight gain, all shortly after giving birth. I resorted to dieting once again, something that has proven to fail me time and time again in the past. And although I knew it didn’t work before, I hoped dearly that maybe this time it would stick . But it didn’t. I lost 30 pounds, but I gained it all back. And more. And while I like to think of myself as a reasonable and intelligent person, my brain still processed my postpartum body as shameful though I knew deep down it was okay. I felt like a failure. I held myself to such a high standard that society put in place that isn’t realistic . We need to change the narrative. We should rewrite it to say that whatever state your body is in after birth is o-k-a-y. The way we look is the last thing we want to worry about when we have a beautiful new life that we’ve just created with these amazing bodies we have. My tummy may look like I’m pregnant these days, but it harvested my pride and joy for 9 whole months, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. This is postpartum, and so is this @lizdean

A post shared by Tori B. (@themanifestingmamma) on

Kelly of simplelivingfolks.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum: I cannot say that I am plus size because of my pregnancies and I can’t even say that all the stretch marks on my belly, breasts and thighs are because of growing babies (although that definitely contributed). I was plus size before I became pregnant and I had stretch marks before pregnancy too. . I think this is the reason I used to struggle to feel I “deserved” to embrace or be proud of my postpartum body. We still have such a long way to go as a society in accepting that the bodies of overweight women deserve to be seen and not hidden away and we live in a culture that makes it hard for overweight women to be proud of anything their body has done. . I don’t accept those limitations for my body or my pride. This body has grown and birthed three human beings in a five year period and no matter what I weighed before or after those babies, that is INCREDIBLE. Behind this belly is a womb that has created life three times! . And the person inside this body is here to tell you today that there are no boundaries and limitations to how a postpartum body “should” look. There’s no exceptions to what kind of postpartum body should be honored and celebrated. If you have carried a baby, then your body is postpartum, and you deserve to be proud of it! . Plus size postpartum bodies ARE postpartum bodies and they’re just as beautiful as everyone else’s and the miracle of what they’ve done is just as deserving of our awe. THIS is postpartum. Please consider joining our movement and using the #this_is_postpartum hashtag to post your own photo and share your journey. YOUR postpartum body is beautiful And so is - @emmy__liz (swipe to see her photo and go to her profile to read her story and continue the loop)

A post shared by Kelly • Simple Living Folks (@simplelivingfolks) on

Bethanie Garcia of thegarciadiaries.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum . This is postpartum in all it’s glory. Soaked nursing bra, naked newborn (bc blowout), matted hair. Cellulite and stretch marks and rolls on rolls. This is me. 6 weeks after delivering Bronx. 2.5 years after Deuce. 4 years after Harlym. And 5 years after Brooklynn. . Instagram is filled with pretty photos, captions with inspirational quotes, a highlight reel of people’s lives. What if we all showed the real and raw side of motherhood and postpartum? Would we feel less alone? This is my real: • I’m constantly tired. Most days, it feels like my body is failing me. • I can’t remember shit. On the phone with the kids’ doctor a few weeks ago, I couldn’t remember Harlym’s birthday. Like I actually could not remember the date and had to look it up. • At least once a day, I lock myself in the bathroom and cry because my toddlers are evil. • I’m lucky if I shower once every three days. • I wake up every morning in a puddle of breast milk because my letdown is so intense. • Nothing pisses me off more than my husband saying, “I think the baby is hungry” 10 minutes after I finish nursing. • I haven’t lost a single pound since giving birth, even though my baby weighed 7lbs 10oz. • I binge eat while breastfeeding (those cravings tho) and tend to gain a lot of weight. I feel less than when I hear about mamas who lose a ton of weight while breastfeeding. When I hear about mamas who are back to their pre-pregnancy size within a few months of giving birth. • My anxiety is 100x worse after giving birth. For months. I take 100mg of Zoloft and even that doesn’t help much the first few months postpartum. THIS is postpartum. This is me, sharing all of these things that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to share if not for this beautiful movement. When I was asked to participate in this movement, I was immediately inspired and in awe of all the incredible women surrounding me. Women of all sizes, ethnicities, backgrounds. All these mamas on a journey of self love - all of us navigating this postpartum period together. Changing the narrative of postpartum, one story at a time. Head to @lifeasagriffin to read her #this_is_postpartum story.

A post shared by bethanie garcia ⋒ (@thegarciadiaries) on

Emily McAllister of chasingmcallisters.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum This wasn't an easy photo for me to take. I’m in recovery from negative self-talk and an eating disorder. My tummy was my 'problem area'; I obsessed about its flatness. Whether size 2 or 12, or how small my jeans size got, I hated my stomach--yes, hated. •I could tell you about the years I spent resenting my body, specifically my belly. How I’d wake up, go to the mirror, lift my shirt and begin criticizing; a narrative that would echo in my head all day. I could tell you how I pinched at the inch(es) that separated skin from muscle, and how I spent hours at the gym not out of self-care, but as a punishment to my body for simply being... a body. I could describe the anguish that accompanied finding an outfit I didn't 'feel' fat in. I could desribe the nightmare of being in the grips of an eating disorder that wants you skinny at any cost; even death. I could tell all about the pain, shame, guilt; the Prison that I not only created, but existed in. •Or, I could share my imperfect recovery from a seemingly hopeless state and most importantly, my #Gratitude. My gratitude for a body that despite enduring abuse from its own occupant, PREVAILED. A body that grew, housed and nourished two miraculous and wondrous souls. I could thank the very belly I spent years despising, for expanding when my babies needed room to grow, and allowed me to feel those precious baby kicks from the inside out. •Postpartum can be lonely, scary and challenging; but it’s been the catalyst for incredible personal growth. Postpartum left me with extra weight on my body, and asked me to love myself anyway. I have two young girls watching my every move and I simply couldn’t hate myself, and then ask my daughters to walk with confidence. •Recovery from anything is never linear. It's messy and ugly and jagged and beautiful. As I navigate this role of 'Mother' so imperfectly, I can rest easy knowing my girls will never hear me utter a negative word about this body--this belly, that they used to call home. So today, I am grateful for this postpartum journey, I am thankful for this body and I choose recovery. This is postpartum, and so is this @chrissyjpowers (swipe left)

A post shared by Emily McAllister | Blogger (@chasingmcallisters) on

Stephanie of moderndaywonderland.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum 4 years ago this month, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I eagerly embraced my constantly changing body over the next 9 months, as it stretched and expanded the way nature intended it to. . A few weeks after welcoming our beautiful child into this world, I remember looking in the mirror and crying over the way I looked. Being so hard on myself because in my head I wasn't 'bouncing back’ as fast as the women being celebrated on magazine covers. . It took many long talks from a very supportive husband to remind me that this body has done incredible things. That carrying a child and bringing them into the world is the most beautiful thing a woman's body can do, and that is what should be celebrated. . So to the mama looking in the mirror wondering how long it will take to 'bounce back’ I want to say, stop being so hard on yourself. You are beautiful, you are strong, and that beautiful baby looking up at you loves every curve, scar, and stretch mark that helped bring them into this world! Mamas, this is postpartum, and so is this @themanifestingmamma

A post shared by Stephanie (@moderndaywonderland) on

Oh and here's me! Joni Edelman of joniedelman.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Well. #this_is_postpartum. 25, 23, 20, 18, 8, and 6 years later. My body isn’t going back to any sort of pre-pregnancy anything. And why would I want it to? My kids are the best goddamn thing I’ve ever done. I don’t care to look like I didn’t have them. *** I’m not ashamed of my body. I don’t always love it but I am always grateful to it for the beautiful kids it has given me and the fact that it continues to show up for me even when I treat it like trash. *** Happy to be part of the project by @meg.boggs. *** Also. Yes this is the #ripplebralette from @jessssiemae. And yes, it’s holding these Es! *** #knitting #knit #plussize #postpartumbody #knitter #knitstagram #yarn #yarnporn #effyourbeautystandards #bodypositive #bopo #birth #bodyimage #motherhood #honestmotherhood #nobullshitmotherhood #bralette #knitbralette #sockyarn

A post shared by Joni Edelman (@joniedelman) on 

 

AND last but best (in my heart, anyway), my friend and co-worker, Jen McLellan of Plus Mommy.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#this_is_postpartum: Long before becoming a mother I had a round belly and stretch marks. Once I got pregnant, it was clear my journey to motherhood looked different than all the pregnancy magazines. My pregnant belly was shaped more like a B than a D. I kept waiting at each prenatal visit for my body to fail me because everything I read online told me it would. As my pregnancy progressed, and my belly grew, so did my belief in my body. After giving birth to my son, I found a love for my imperfect body that can do extraordinary things! I can no longer hate myself even though I exist in a body society can't accept. I love my postpartum body unapologetically! . From physical changes to mental health struggles, postpartum looks different for every mother. We need to change the narrative of postpartum to one where a family is nurtured and supported...where all bodies are celebrated and mental health isn't stigmatized. Join me and 20 other mothers of all shapes and sizes to say THIS IS POSTPARTUM! Swipe to see the next mom's photo and then go to her profile to read her story. There's also a powerful video linked within my bio. You can participate by taking your own #this_is_postpartum photo! . When we stand together, we create change! This is postpartum and so is this @carleebyoga

A post shared by Jen McLellan - Plus Mommy (@plusmommy) on PDT

 

Follow the hashtag #This_Is_Postpartum to see all 20 photos and to add your own!


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