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What Our Post-baby Bellies Really Look Like

By caseymullins |

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.

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What Postpartum Bellies Really Look Like


This is me 9 weeks after my second baby. I took this as a "before" photo when I started a diastasis rehab regimen.

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, and we’ll add it to the slideshow!

Find more Casey on her blog, twitter and facebook.


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More on Babble

About caseymullins



Casey Mullins is a writer, photographer, and nice person living in Indianapolis with her two little girls, husband, and a one eyed cat. She writes regularly at her personal blog moosh in indy and can be found trolling local bakeries and napping whenever possible. Read bio and latest posts → Read Casey's latest posts →

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91 thoughts on “What Our Post-baby Bellies Really Look Like

  1. mommaruthsays says:

    You are solid gold.
    God bless you for sharing.

  2. Katie says:

    I would have so sent you my tummy. but it’s full of baby right now. Ask me in 8 weeks if you need another REAL tummy.

  3. I can’t really see Casey’s face rash because I’m so dazzled by her eyes. And eyelashes.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Casey, this is awesome. I would have shared if I had seen it. I still will. Real women, Unite!

  5. angi says:

    You’re all crazy brave. For all of us, thank you. Bringing babies into this world is an amazing thing. So much more amazing than a rock hard, flat stomach. Be healthy, love your body…it does great things.

  6. Sarah @ TM2TS says:

    My postpartum belly can’t really be called that anymore. Unless it still counts 6, nearly 7 years down the road. If so, I have a few. :D

  7. Megan says:

    I will totally submit a pic of my belly. One c-section and one VBAC. My littlest is 21 months. Let me know if you want more!

  8. Heidi from BundlesOfHugs says:

    Great post, thank you for sharing. I knew my body would change drastically once having a baby but I really had no idea just how much it would change. To all the brave moms who shared their photos – you ROCK!

  9. Jessica says:

    To every woman pictured here and to those that are reading this who look similar: You are beautiful. You are BEAUTIFUL. Please don’t ever forget this!

  10. sarahh says:

    I agree with Katherine – if you hadn’t pointed it out, I probably wouldn’t have really thought much about the red… but you have gorgeous blue eyes, and incredible lashes :) . I’m at almost 31 weeks with my first, or I’d have sent a pic. And Babycenter has a running album of pp bellies, too.

  11. Lolli @ Better in Bulk says:

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this today. Casey, I have met you and you are gorgeous. I feel inspired today to share my own belly, after 5 kids. I will not, however, show you the stretch marks on my breasts. ;)

  12. Stacy says:

    I just found your blog, but I would gladly send you a photo of my belly. I have two kids, just turned 4 and just turned 2. It’s not bad but it’s not model-ideal either. I hate it. I struggle EVERY DAY to accept my body the way it is now but it’s just a battle I have to face.

  13. Crib Notes Kelly says:

    Perfect timing! We’re hosting a FABruary Challenge for post partum moms looking to get their abs back!

  14. hayley atkin says:

    Thank you so much. I have always hated my belly, now after 2 children and living with a chronic illness It is something that upsets me every day. I’m so grateful for the photos that show actually, I’m normal.
    thank you for that gift :)

  15. Jen says:

    I love this! As mothers it seems we are expected to be perfect… And hide the parts of us that aren’t. These pictures are inspiring to me to stop getting dressed and undressed in the bathroom. Mothers aren’t perfect, but we are pretty close :)

  16. Hyman says:

    I had the same rash all over my face chest and back during my whole pregnancy. However, now my skin is way more smooth than it was prepregnancy and I’m 5 mo pp

  17. Cecilia says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It made me tear up. I know I’ve hated my stomach since having my second baby and I spend a good part of my days trying to suck it in or hide it. Seeing these pictures and how I’m not the only one makes me feel less like a freak and more like a real woman. Why isn’t this what we see more often? Comparing myself to Hollywood moms has done nothing but drive me crazy. Thank you for showing me that I’m still beautiful.

  18. Kate says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This post is really amazing and so reassuring for all moms out there. I had a C-section and have a four-week old daughter, and I have been so hard on myself since I still look four months pregnant. It is such a relief to see these photos and know that not only am I normal, but am still beautiful even if I don’t have six-pack abs. I will think about myself a lot differently the next time I look in the mirror.

  19. Jbj says:

    Simply gorgeous! Be proud. Would have sent mine in too- didn’t see the request.

  20. Jenni Chiu says:

    I must say that posting my postpartum belly on my blog a couple months ago was quite liberating. I had a panic attack right before I hit publish… But a day later I felt awesome.
    These ladies rock!
    *belly bump* to all of you.

  21. Adriane says:

    Thank you for this! It’s wonderful. And Danielle’s photo made me a bit emotional being that my son was born via unexpected c-section. Thank you all!

  22. Missy says:

    Well, I’m a little too far out from postpartum (my youngest is 11) ..but I had 5 babies, 1 vaginal, 1 unnecessary C-section, and 4 more vaginal. I was “lucky” to not have the stretch marks all over the belly, which still amazes me to death since the least I gained was pregnancy 5 gaining 58 lbs (most, btw, was 69). I was also one of “those” that all the ladies hated cause I could get back into my jeans within a month…What I was lucky for in belly I more than got paid for in breast and buttock stretch marks..the kind that ALWAYS show in a bathing suit, sigh. Every single time I went from A cups to DD cups, then back down, hips went from 33 to 39 and back. Now that menopause is hitting(here at 40) I’m getting the pouch in the belly, the larger hips and chest….not minding chest and hips….but really minding the fact that I now measure 39-39-39 LOL. I’d give you a sideways shot if I could figure out how to make it work!

  23. Elaine says:

    I don’t think I ever took a pic of my post-partum belly but I guess I still could, although I’m currently 28 months out. ;)

    This is eye-opening and brave and REAL. I like real a lot.

    Thanks for this.

  24. Sydel says:

    Thank you for this article it’s made feel less of a freak belly wise! I’m not alone in the world(jajajajajajajajajaj)

  25. Jenni says:

    Seriously, my stomach looks like someone glued an old man’s scrotum to it. I blame it on my biological mother for giving me crappy skin! These are lovely! I am so happy I’m not alone in this little world of mine. :)

  26. Elizabeth says:

    I would like to know if i could send a pic of my belly and where i can send it to? I had a c-section for my baby (my first), 18 months ago. I also just 3weeks ago had a herniated umbilical fixed. I never felt comfortable with my stomach but now, even though its been thru all it has, i still feel more comfortable now then i ever have. Its amazing how having a baby does ugly things to your body but
    my confidence about myself is so much higher.

  27. tara says:

    i hate this is what a “real” post baby belly looks like. I had no stretch marks or a belly after my baby and tight abs, how am i not real?!!!

  28. Kathryn says:

    I think any woman that goes through a pregnancy is beautiful and its shows her journey, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that those are what REAL post-pregnancy bellies look like. Yes, those are post-pregnancy bellies, but my belly is also and it went back to normal after I had my baby, no stretch marks or anything. I am all for women being proud of their post-pregnancy bodies/bellies/etc, but those are not the only REAL post-pregnancy bellies.

  29. tara says:

    and how do you send photos in?

  30. Ernie says:

    1. I’m glad that doctors these days prefer a horizontal C-section over a vertical one. My wife had hers done horizontally and less than a year later you could barely see the scar.

    2. Up and about 11 days after a C-section?! Well, I imagine they let her out of the hospital so it must be ok.

  31. Rheanna Shiflet says:

    You are some awesome women! I feel like I can be proud of my body now! Wow thank you sooo much. Big eye opener!

  32. Roslynn says:

    Thank you so much to you and all the women who shared. We really DO need to STOP looking at magazines and hollywood women who are airbrushed and comparing ourselves to them. It sucks that our bodies change after having babies, but that’s just the way it is. It’s nature, it’s biology and we can’t change it. Thank you for empowering our natural beauty.

  33. Sara says:

    Love it! I was thinking about taking a picture of my post baby tummy, yesterday, to help me accept it for the way it looks. Wonderful post :)

  34. Karen says:

    I saw when you posted the request for pp belly pics, and I wasn’t brave enough to send mine in. Now I wish I had. I’m 11mts pp, lost all the baby weight within 1-2mts and I’m now about 10lbs lighter then when I got pregnant (women run small in my family lol), but my belly is nowhere near what it used to look like. At 21 it has been very hard for me to accept and embrace all the changes my body went through after pregnancy and giving birth, I can still barely wrap my mind around the idea that MY body created this tiny little life that I live more than my own, even if he drives me nuts lol. But I’ve come to understand that the physical appearance of my belly is a fair price for having my little munchkin in my life I’m perfectly happy with that! :)

  35. Karen says:

    PS: thank you Crib Notes Kelly! I gladly accept your challenge :)

  36. kristen says:

    so what is your diastasis regimen? Have you seen results?

  37. Kelly says:

    I’m 12wks pp and love to send you a picture of my tummy!! My son did a number on me but I wouldnt have it any other way!! He loves using my cushion as a pillow and trampoline. That itself brings joy! =)

  38. sarah says:

    I think there should have been more pictures of un-traumatized bellys. Some women are able to have multiple babies and their outcome looks nothing like the pictures shown!

  39. Sheyenne says:

    Wow. Ladies, you are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing. I had no idea anyone else had the same belly stretchmarks that I do. I have them on the belly, hips, thighs, and even a couple on my calves. Real women with real bodies. Oh how I wish society would just let us be.

  40. shawna says:

    I tried to get u guys mine and it never would go thru. I have had 4 sons my oldest is 10 younger almost 2months old… been pretty lucky. No problems and all vaginal deliveries. God bless u all for sharing. :)

  41. Alyssa says:

    I applaud you for such a wonderful post. Moms should be proud of their delivery scars and those crazy looking muffin tops! I have always been an athletic gal and I gave birth to TWO sets of twins (my youngest set just turned 12 last week). Although my stomach will never look the same and will never match the rest of my body, it is what it is and I will proudly show it off knowing that it is just a mere battle wound that was a result of bringing 4 beautiful little people into this world! To all the moms that exposed their bellies, you are all awesome!

  42. Jessica says:

    You ladies rock!! i have a tummy similar to most of those(‘cept Lindsay..she doesnt even look like she had a baby!) and I think its blah(Im 12 yrs post pardom!!)..but these pics shine a new light. And the interesting thing is my fiance(who isnt my kids bio dad) thinks my belly, stretch marks and loose skin, is sexy! Gotta love that!

  43. Jessica says:

    You ladies rock! However, Lindsay and Kayleigh(sorry if I miss spelled!) dont have much to worry about! My “baby” is 12, and my tummy is blah..but my fiance(who isnt my kids bio dad) thinks its sexy!

  44. Jessica says:

    oops! double comment!

  45. Kim says:

    I would have given you a picture had I seen the call out. But since I didn’t, you just have to imagine a beautiful scarred belly that grew and born 5 babies in the short span of 8 years :)
    Such a great post. Let’s show what normal really is!

  46. Mandi says:

    I love this post so much! After having my baby two years ago and still trying to get rid of my baby tummy it’s a relief to see that I am the norm… And not the Vambot celebrity moms who walk a runway 7 minutes after giving birth! Thank you for sharing!!

  47. Joules says:

    You are balls out awesome. As ushe.
    Also, gorge. As ushe.

  48. Steph says:

    BRAVO to the women showing off their C-Section bellies!! I’ve had 3 sections myself and far too often women see that scar as something to be shameful of, rather than a badge of courage. I love my scar- I can SEE where my babies came from. That scar is a reminder of two tough labors (first baby, and 3rd tried as a VBA2C), and 3 wonderful little girls.
    Thank you all for being brave and showing off yours!

  49. Larita says:

    How ironic. I was just thinking yesterday that I wish I had an outlet to share my belly – 5 months out from Baby #2 and right proud of my stretch marks and “pooch.”

  50. Carrie says:

    I’m just wondering how you’ve never seen which has been doing this for years.

  51. bethany says:


  52. Amber says:

    SO glad I stumbled across this post. I needed to be reminded that underneath everything, we all look the same after having kids. It makes me feel a little prouder of my baby belly. : )

  53. The Laundress says:


  54. Rae says:

    Linking to the website that has been featuring women’s bodies for years now would have been nice.

  55. connie says:

    this post has improved my attitude so much! i know other moms but we don’t show let alone talk about our tummies, maybe we should. i’ve been so down about now being able to loose weight while breastfeeding. breast-feeding diet my big toe! i’ve gained weight but it’s worth it.
    anyway, thanks for being brave Casey and all you other beautiful mothers!

  56. alyssa says:

    All of these women are beautiful inside and out!

  57. Christy says:

    Thank you for sharing the pictures. I have always been selfconsious of my tummy as I have always been over weight and after my 2nd child, it looks even worse. However, after seeing the pics, I have come to realise that there is nothing abnormal about me and yes, I am proud of my tummy, it was home to two wonderful souls until they were strong enough to enter our world.
    Thank you once again

  58. Ashley says:

    Thank you to these beautiful women! Especially Danielle for her c-section pic. I just had my first child via cesarean one week ago. I feel so much less alone now.

  59. Kat says:

    After seeing the facial rash photo I wonder- Does anyone have any PUPP rash photos? That may sound weird, but I had a terrible case of it, and yes, took photos I’d be willing to share. No one else I knew had that symptom, and I’m starting to think Im the only one. Anyone out there suffer with this itchy torture??

  60. sediim says:

    love this. really. and the “tara” on here showing her rockin’ pp body is also just as inspiring as the rest of the pictures. she’s not disgustingly skinny (like many of the models and celebs nowadays)…she looks healthy and muscle-y and fit!! always a good thing!! EVERY tummy on here is fabulous!!

  61. Victoria says:

    too often the word “real” is code for “overweight” or “stopped caring.” gradual, controlled weight gain during pregnancy prevents stretch marks. a commitment to ab work after birth restores a belly to a flat, strong state. look at the pic of kayleigh, cutie-mom of *four* with the middy sweater and navel ring! she’s the one we should be congratulating.

    1. Joy says:

      I did not have uncontrolled weight gain but I did have twins. That’s why I have stretch marks!And I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

  62. Leah says:

    my babys 11 weeks old on tuesday … i feel my body is ruined forever ! :( i am glad i am not alone … she is worth every stretchmark but .. not the extra pounds :/ … the sacrifices you make for your children x

  63. Lola says:

    Thank you all for posting the pics. I am 10 months PP and feel so ashamed and horrified at my fat belly. I gained about 70 lbs and already lost 40, but I am no where near to what I used to look like. I thought that I was just a “loser” and abnormal for not being able to lose all the weight no thanks to all the celebs out there that can look ripped 3 weeks PP. Thanks again for making me feel not alone.

  64. Dana says:

    Give me bout 5 months and I’ll be happy to send a pic of a “real” postpartum belly. Most women on magazines ir celebs work out non-stop, pay nannies, have expensive trainers to help get their flat toned bellies. The rest of us are beautiful bellied moms who work hard for our stretch marks :) I’m very proud of my badges!

  65. E says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with stretch marks. I’m 6 months post partum and I’m shocked by how I look.

  66. elvira says:

    its great to see what women more commonly look like after having babies – there is a website called shape of a mother – that has been showing pics and stories for a years now – its wonderful. now she has started one called shape of a woman i think. so good. we need all the visuals of realistic outcomes we can get. beauty comes in many forms and hardly ever looks like what we see in the media’s portrail of women.
    thank you being in the good fight.

  67. Marta says:

    If I had seen the call out I would have definitely submitted my 16 almost 17 month postpartum belly. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you did this. I wish it was enough to knock me over the head and tell me that my belly doesn’t matter. One day we’ll get there as women and mothers that it doesn’t matter. I’m just not there yet.

  68. Eggie says:

    This is wonderful. Good on you gals! I’m not sure that I’d show my tummy, but I managed to keep the stretchmarks at bay using

    Made me feel better anyhow!

  69. Lissa says:

    I just submitted mine!

  70. Lea says:

    Exactly. Celeb mom’s have it easy.

    These women look great. They have real courage for showing their bellies. I am 10 months pp and I am not even close to how I want to be. This was my 3rd baby and I have 6 year old twins and I thought that I would be in better shape with this one. It makes me feel good knowing that not all women are back to pre-pregnancy skinny jeans after 6 weeks.

  71. ksteele says:

    Check out The Shape of a Mother. Amazing site.

  72. Sharon Bially says:

    Um, how about 3, 5 or even 10 years postpartum? My youngest is almost 9, and I swear my belly still looks the same as did when he was 9 months.

  73. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for sharing these! I’ve had 3 kids, and Victoria, you are categorically wrong about diet and exercise returning the belly to a strong, flat state. I am 27 years old, athletic, and I eat a good diet. I’m a marathon runner. I gained no more than 20 lbs in any of my pregnancies and struggled with gaining *enough* weight to be healthy with my first. I weigh 115lbs and I’m 5’4″. And you know what? My belly still looks like a topographical map of Montana. No matter how many ab workouts or diets I try, my belly is and will always be different than before I had my kids. Do I dislike that sometimes? Sure. I wish I could wear a bikini and I work harder to stay fit than just about anyone I know. But I’m okay in the end because I have 3 kids to show for it. But what really burns me up is when people say “just diet or work out”. For some that works. For others like me, I can eat 1200 cals a day and run 40 miles a week and still not have a flat stomach. That’s not lazy, it’s reality.

  74. Fashion Forward Maternity says:

    Inspirational! Thank you ladies, for being such honest and brave women- you are amazing roll models for your children! Mothers are super-heros! – Fashion Forward Maternity.

  75. Minter50 says:

    My oldest child is 30 in 2 weeks and my youngest of 3 is 26 soon…..don’t want to depress the younger mother out there but No.3′s 9lb15oz birth seems to have been a permanent killer for my muscles……I still hope for surgery as exercise hasn’t proved successful….but they were all worth it!

  76. Kayla says:

    I don’t feel so bad about my own stomach now after seeing some “real” post baby bellies. My stomach will never go back to normal. I guess some women are lucky, as you can see, but the majority of us aren’t. But once I save up enough money, I’m getting a tummy tuck. I just don’t see the point of having a flabby belly forever if I can fix it.

  77. Kristen says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  78. Tiaras & Tantrums says:

    oh my – that rash stopped me in my tracks! I have been battling what looks like the same thing! I have been going to my Derm. for 4 months straight now trying to figure out what it is! She has had me on so many different cremes and ointments, nothing is working! I’m ready to fire her! She put me on steroids right before Xmas so I would have an okay face, but that was only short term, but it totally cleared me up. Now, back to massive misserable-ness! What have you been given to help the symptoms?

  79. Jaime says:

    I agree! This was so awesome for all of you to do :D ! It makes me feel so good I’m not the only one that doesn’t have a celebrity body right after baby,

  80. Shannon G says:

    What are you doing/have you done for diastasis rehab?

  81. Juju @ Tales of says:

    I was wondering the same thing as Shannon, what is diastasis rehab and is it working for you?

  82. Michelle A says:

    This is amazing. I had been going through an “identity crisis” since having my babies (2.5 yrs and 6 months + 1 miscarriage). I work out daily, eat well, and have lost most of the baby weight… but I know my tummy will never return to the way it was. This used to bother me. BUT seeing these pictures gave me the reassurance that I am not alone! I am proud of every stretch mark on my tummy (all of them came from my first). Each scar is a reminder of that blissful time… newly married to the man of my dreams, & pregnant with my baby girl. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And she reminds me of that EVERY day!

  83. Jo says:

    very sorry that you had to be so judgemental when these ladies were brave and courageous.
    I’m in my early fifties,size 8 (UK) and mum of four. Largest baby weighed ten and a half pound twenty one years ago. I used to run, I’ve always swum several times a week and sometimes gym. I have a baby road map on my tum despite being slim. It is what it is. Genetic.
    I think the point being so well made here by these women is that flat and smooth following childbirth is not the norm and if you have got away with that then you are lucky. My sister had smaller babies and only two; she fared better than me in the skin so smooth stakes. However, when all is said and done, my husband told me that they are “our stretch marks”. And we have four lovely offspring. Fairtrade eh?!!

  84. Susan says:

    I weighed 101 when I got pregnant. I gained 18lbs and lost 25 lbs. They told me I would have to gain 3Lbs or they were going to have to send the baby home without me. My skin is non-elastic. It stretched out but never came back. And, the stretch marks are horrendous! I hate them and would do almost anything to get rid of them. Oh, I forgot to tell you, the baby is 41 now.

  85. Dianne says:

    Dear PP’s,

    I had my boy when I was 41. I breast fed and actually lost weight within 6 months.!

  86. Gretchen says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with admiring celebrity moms or models. . If you don’t look like them after pregnancy it’s because you didn’t BEFORE either!
    How many that are now ashamed of their pp belly rocked a bikini with hard abs before pregnancy? ? Probably none. I have 2kids both were over 9lbs I got my toned stomach back after 3mo pp. I didn’t evenO work hard…but my muscles were toned before and everything went back to where it had been.
    Come on now. …some of these belly a few months after pregnancy. ..sure that’s normal. ..but years? ? No excuses ladies. …

  87. Anna says:

    WOW! I’m 28 and currently trying for my 1st with my hubby. Just to be honest with everyone… this post has TERRIFIED me. I’m realizing I may have NEVER seen a “real” post baby belly until this post… how sad, really.
    Cheers to these ladies for fighting to make real women *all types* visible!

  88. Cherene says:

    Baby bellies definitely vary from person to person. The important thing is just knowing the right clothes to wear after that flatter your body.

  89. c.k.miller says:

    I am not a ” guy “. Neither are the women in this story. “Ladies” or even “people” would be more correct here.

  90. gerry says:

    My wife has hardly any stretch marks and still has a firm stomach even without exercise. She is now 43 yrs old but had son 20 yrs ago.
    Oh she is Chinese so I don’t know if that makes a difference.

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