There’s nothing I love to see more than a mother living comfortably in the body she’s in after giving birth to a child. Regardless of how long a woman’s carried, we’ve all gone through the same adventures of having our skin stretched, our thighs enlarged and our breasts gone up a cup size (or two). But those shared experiences oftentimes lead to a division once children arrive when some mothers are fortunate enough to go back to their pre-baby body.
In an age where many find a need to share their journey of motherhood on the ‘net, conversations on snapbacks aren’t unfamiliar, but make many women uncomfortable. While plenty will argue that the discomfort lies in personal insecurities about one’s body, others believe that posting photos of a tighter tummy and slimmer mommy that garners hundreds of thousands of likes, fosters the belief that that is an ideal body for mothers. But what happens when you post photos that are a striking reality of the everyday mom that isn’t a celebrity?
Hello body, I haven't appreciated you much lately but I do love you, I am proud of you too. One day if we have another child, you're going to change again but don't worry, you'll still be beautiful! Just like every other body, you are full of wonder and worthy of love. Thanks for keeping me alive after all I've put you through, I promise I'll take care of you and feed you lots of good food to show you my gratitude. With love, your tenant ❤️
Ask Aussie mom and blogger, Haddas Ancliffe, who is igniting conversations on self-acceptance of the body, following childbirth. Her Instagram account is like any other–a collection of intimate moments with family, fashion pieces, and vacation spots–but what stands out the most on Ancliffe’s page are the pictures of her alone and in her skin. Instead of advertising two-piece bikinis and brands like a sponsored post, the new mom proudly displays her “stretch marks and imbalanced breasts” along with her stomach’s loose skin in a series of photos that are accompanied by empowering captions on her postpartum body.
“I have bad days you know... Days where I look at myself and think, I'll never look like girls on Instagram in their calvins with amazing figures and smooth flat tummies. But I don't have days anymore where I want to tear off my skin or cry at my reflection. Gone are the days where I'd refuse to go out if I thought I looked bad or get mad at anyone who would compliment me. NOW most of my days I look at myself and I'm happy. My body isn't where I'd like it to be health/strength wise, my skin sees pimples daily and my hair is mostly in a frizzy bun but I'm beautiful none the less! I'm one of God's creations which in itself means I am beautiful, glorious even. I want to be real with everyone that's why I'm saying this, so you know I don't just have 100% confidence and no flaws. I am flawed, I'm not always confident but I am living and breathing and full of love so I have no reason to be down on myself. Same goes for all of you, whether you're a mommy or not, if you're alive you are nothing short of beautiful. #mycalvins P.S these bras are so good for breastfeeding.”
Calling her photos “a different kind of provocative,” Haddas leaves honest thoughts on her experience, one that doesn’t just relate to new mothers who are attempting to come to terms with their new bodies, but women as a whole. And they’re very inspiring, to say the least. She wrote in the caption of another photo:
Images of young women in bikinis flood our Instagram feeds daily. Sexual, near naked, provocative pictures that get a lot of attention and make other women who don't look the same feel inadequate. Well here's a different kind of provocative image for your feed. An image that says, my body is stretched, sagging and uneven but I'm still attractive. You don't stop looking good in a bikini once you have kids, you just look like a different kind of good. When your body no longer looks like the Instagram bikini model and you have a mom bod, be proud! Put on your bikini and belly chain, do your best Kylie Jenner in the pool pose and be proud that your child thinks you're the most beautiful person in the world... That's all that matters anyway. #motherhood
#mombod ✊🏾 Images of young women in bikinis flood our Instagram feeds daily. Sexual, near naked, provocative pictures that get a lot of attention and make other women who don't look the same feel inadequate. Well here's a different kind of provocative image for your feed. An image that says, my body is stretched, sagging and uneven but I'm still attractive. You don't stop looking good in a bikini once you have kids, you just look like a different kind of good. When your body no longer looks like the Instagram bikini model and you have a mom bod, be proud! Put on your bikini and belly chain, do your best Kylie Jenner in the pool pose and be proud that your child thinks you're the most beautiful person in the world... That's all that matters anyway. #motherhood A photo posted by Haddas Ancliffe (@dahs) on
Here's an image that might make people uncomfortable! When I shopped for this particular bikini one of the sales ladies told me that I needed to start drinking soy milk and recommended some cream to tighten the skin on my tummy. Now I know she was just being kind and thought she was being helpful but the whole idea that someone offering me ways to change myself could be a kind gesture, really annoys me. First of all - I don't have a problem with my saggy tummy. Second of all - no body else should have a problem with my saggy tummy 🆗 Today I went to the beach with a mommy friend of mine and we talked about our stretch marks and imbalanced breasts and all the rest of that body changing goodness, and she mentioned to me that one day we had spent together I had worn a crop top and so she felt confident to start wearing them (it's also waaaay easier to breastfeed in them). That to me was an amazing thing! So starting now, I'm going to post lots of saggy, stretchy tummy pictures, in hopes that in some way it would make it easier for others to feel comfortable in their skin ✌🏾️
So this is my tummy nearly 11 months postpartum. It's covered in stretch marks, has a little sag and is nowhere near as flat as it used to be. Today I'm going back to the gym for the first time since having Jonah. There's so much pressure in our society for mothers to "get their bodies back" and you feel a constant shame if you're not working out to do that, but I can honestly say I am not ever going to try to get my body back. I will workout to be stronger but not to change how I look. My body did the most incredible thing a human body could do and it should only ever be loved and appreciated for it. I am beautiful, screw what mainstream society says, I'm sexy too! A photo posted by Haddas Ancliffe (@dahs) on
What the Australian mother is doing aside from being cand
id about her journey, is shifting the narrative on women who don’t fit the “perfect body” criteria. Campaigns from companies that cater to women have already assisted with promoting body diversity and positivity, and Ebony magazine has already cultivated a much-needed conversation on redefining beauty with their “Body Brigade” issue. Society still has a long way to go, but what matters most is how we as women feel about the bodies before us in mirrors. Ancliffe is saying and sharing what most won’t and has found approval within herself–a life lesson to anyone who struggles with the skin they’re in.
What are your thoughts on Haddas' bold move to share her postpartum body for the world? Let us know below.