Babble did a callout on their Facebook page for photos of postpartum bellies. Only a few people submitted them and when I asked my friends, promising their identity would remain secret, only one sent me a photo, while the others responded in all caps, “NO WAY.”
You guys … if we don’t show what real bellies look like then people are going to go on believing that everyone else has a nice, firm, flat tummy with no imperfections.
We all know this is a lie.
First of all, before you start thinking, “But she doesn’t have any stretch marks! Of course I would show my belly if I didn’t have any stretch marks!” I say yes, I do have stretch marks. They are on my sides rather than the front. ALSO, I may have gotten off without stretch marks on my stomach but my mark of pregnancy appears on my face in the form of a bright red rash. My face is covered with hundreds of tiny ruptured capillaries called petichiae that are from me vomiting so much through both pregnancies. You can cover your belly everyday for the rest of your life; my face isn’t so lucky.
I’ve come to accept my red badge of courage as part of my everyday appearance, especially after four fairly painful laser procedures barely put a dent in them.
I’m not saying we all have to show off our imperfections and insecurities; I’m just saying that if we did a little more often, maybe there would be less women shaming themselves in their bathroom mirrors at home, hating that they don’t look like what society tells them what they should look like.
Take a look at these real women and their postpartum bellies and know that most of the bellies walking around everyday look more like these and far less like the ones on magazine covers.
There is beauty in embracing our imperfections and beauty in accepting ourselves and these bodies of ours that can do so many amazing things, stretchmarks or not. To those of you who submitted photos? Thanks. You’re spectacular.
We showed you ours — now it’s time to show us yours! Feel free to share a photo of your post-baby belly on our Facebook wall, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll add it to the slideshow!
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