When one mother shared some extraordinary photos of her pregnant and postpartum tummy, she proved that we don’t have to be scared or ashamed of our stretch marks. Instead, maybe it’s time we ditch the unrealistic expectations, scrap the photoshop, and share the story of our beautiful battle wounds.
40 weeks pregnant, unfiltered
Kristin Niemi was 40 weeks pregnant with her second child when she posted a picture of her belly on Instagram. But this wasn’t any old stylised pregnancy shot, this incredible photo showed a bright web of stretch marks spreading across her belly.
It’s something that many women would instinctively hide, but Kristin chose to embrace it, writing in the post: “”This is #40weekspregnant#unfiltered. It’s impatience. It’s the overwhelming desire to finally meet him after 10 long months … It’s an emotional rollercoaster. And yet, it’s still pretty darn beautiful.”
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"This is #40weekspregnant #unfiltered. It's impatience. It's the overwhelming desire to finally meet him after 10 long months. It's a belly full of stretch marks and the itchiest rash ever. It's hips that ache. It's gaining 40 lbs. It's heartburn always. It's an emotional rollercoaster. And yet, it's still pretty darn beautiful." Thanks so much @studioartyoga for the share. #pregnancy #keepingitreal
Mothers talk a lot about keeping it real, but when it comes to accepting the realities of pregnancy and the physical marks it leaves on our bodies – we often go quiet. And social media doesn’t always help. As Kristin explained to Babyology, she kept seeing overly filtered and “dolled up” pregnancy photos on Instagram. She admits she posted some too. But then she decided to try a different approach.
“I wanted to show what REAL women go through in pregnancy,” said Kristin. “It’s not photoshopped, it’s not all smiles, and it’s not all a smooth belly. For many moms-to-be out there, it means pain, it means stretch marks, and it means some tough days that don’t include a smile … I wanted to keep (a) positive spin, but also show the reality of it all.”
No one is judging
One look at the comments on Kristin’s post, and it’s clear the picture struck a chord with other women. No one was judging, in fact many instantly saw the beauty in the marks, which remarkably resemble a tree of life.
The hugely positive response to Kristin’s post reveals just how much we need an unfiltered conversation about stretch marks – that so many of us get them during pregnancy, that they’re not something to cover up, that they’re lifelong reminders of nine extraordinary months.
As Kristin puts it: “It’s so easy, with all the symptoms and hormones of pregnancy, to start to feel down on yourself. But to know there are other mamas out there who are going through … the same thing, makes you realise how much you should really embrace your body and the amazing transformation it takes to grow life.”
Still gorgeous, before and after
If you’re doing the maths on Kristin’s due date – yep, she had a beautiful baby boy. And now that she’s on the other side, she’s staying true about the realities of a post-partum body. Just one week after giving birth, she posted this before and after pic, showing the amazing changes to her belly.
As most mothers with stretch marks can testify, the marks fade, but most of us still carry a few battle wounds for life. This can take time to accept, but it sure does help when mothers like Kristin share their journey.
You can follow Kristin on Instagram @studioartyoga
How did you feel about your pregnancy stretch marks?