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.
This is me 9 weeks after my second baby. I took this as a “before” photo when I started a diastasis rehab regimen.
A’driane and I have the same hip stretch marks! This is her belly 22 months postpartum after 2 kids.
Her youngest just turned one.
This is Andrea, 2 years postpartum.
Way to go Tara!
15 months postpartum and 14 months after gallbladder surgery.
7 months postpartum after her first.
Say hi to Connie everyone.
From Danielle: “This tummy has grown me 4 babies. 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011. Miscarried twice. Is the origin of my real laughs. And serves as a perfect spot for ‘snuggle up time’ with my kids. I may make it smaller but NEVER less impressive.”
This is Laura’s stomach after 5 kids. She has a diastasis too! (More on that later.)
This is Sherry’s belly after two perfect babies.
This is fellow blogger Danielle 11 days after her C-section. She said when she posted it the first time people said she was crazy and brave (or crazy brave). I agree and thank her.
This is Jo’s belly after 4 kids. Her youngest was born in January.
This is Juanita’s belly after 4 kids — 3 vaginal deliveries and one C-section.
This is Kayleigh 3 months postpartum after her fourth baby.
This is Kristen 8 weeks after her C-section.
Martika submitted this photo of her belly 15 months after the birth of her son.
This is my rash, 6 months postpartum, just in case you were wondering how bad a face rash could be.
This is Abi, 19 months post baby (delivered by C-section) and 4 months post gall bladder surgery.
Kerri proclaims: “I am a women who has EARNED my stripes!”
This is Connie’s belly 6 months postpartum.
Alejandra’s belly housed 2 beautiful girls 9 lbs. 4 oz. and 7 lbs. 5 oz. Her youngest turned 10 months last week and her oldest is 4 years old.
This is Natisha’s belly after 3 children, born in 2006, 2007, and 2009. She goes to the gym all the time but says she’ll never be able to get full stomach definition because with her youngest child (10 lbs.), much of her stomach muscle tore permanently … but she couldn’t think of a better reason for why it did!
Bridget has had four kids over the past 6 years; her youngest just turned one.
This is Donna’s stomach after having four kids!
This is Leanna’s belly 7 weeks after her first (and only) child was born. Her son weighed 5 lbs. 9 oz. at birth.
This is Nicole, 13 months postpartum, and she told me she loves her belly!
You go Keady!
This is Katherine’s belly 7 months postpartum after her second child.
Ashley had her first child in 2008 and her second 16 months ago. She loves her stretch marks and proclaims: “It makes me … well, me!”
This is Christy’s belly, three kids later. Her youngest is 11 months old.
This is Kim’s REAL 12 month postpartum belly. She had a C-section with her first daughter Kiana who is 13 months old now. She’s currently four weeks pregnant with her second!
This is 6 months after her second child.
Valerie’s belly has housed 80 weeks and 8 days of babies (2 boys). Her youngest is 4 months old.
This is Melissa, 7 weeks post C-section with her first daughter who is 13 months old now.
This is a picture of Alyssa’s “beautiful muffin top” 12 years after giving birth to 2 sets of twins!
This is Rachel’s belly 10 months postpartum — and she’s proud of it!
This is Sarah’s belly after 2 C-sections! Also, the scars are from gallbladder surgery she underwent at 5 months postpartum.
This is Jasmine, 10 months post baby boy!
This is Samantha, 22 months after she had a baby girl!
This is Mary, 4 months after her daughter was born!
This is Crystal, 5 months after her first child.
Check out Hannah’s postpartum belly only 3 months after her second baby!
This is Sarah’s belly, 9 month postpartum after her second baby!
This is Tasha, 1 and a half years post delivery.
You go Jill!