So many will never get to know the feeling - so why the shame?
This growing movement has empowered women everywhere to feel more confident in their appearance and love themselves. This is the Body Positivity movement.
Kristyn Dingman has a butterfly tattoo and stretch marks on her belly. She has some loose skin that speaks of the little person she made. And for the first time in her 27 years, she says she's finally in love with her body.
The American blogger has posted a series of beautiful, empowering images of herself to Instagram, with a hope to encourage body positivity, confidence and self-love in all mothers.
Raising Body Confident Kids
It wasn't until she became a mother that she truly began to respect and love her own body.
"I had a child,'' she writes. "My body created a human being and one of the biggest side effects to having children for me is body positivity.
"It is an amazing side effect that I am so fortunate have experienced. So many will never get to know the feeling.''
"Where there is a person who wishes they could get rid of their stretch marks from pregnancy, there is another who would give anything to have them at all.''
Let them read what they want. Kids who read for pleasure excel academically—not only in language arts but, as recent research from the Institute of Education, in London, found, in math as well. So while you wish he would pick up Dickens, don't make him feel bad about a graphic novel. "A 'junky' series can be good if it gets kids hooked on the habit of reading," says Mary Leonhardt, a former high school English teacher and the author of Parents Who Love Reading, Kids Who Don't.
Of course it's easy to pay lip service to the physical changes of childbirth, but Kristyn seems to be genuine in her confidence.
Kristyn with her son and husband. Source: mrsdingman.mama/ Instagram.
A force to be reckoned with
"My stretch marks are evidence of my experiences of becoming a mother. They are small little symbols to remind me of my bodies capabilities and the amount of space I had to make for my little one. The rapid change in my body created these little lighting bolts and remind me that I am a force to be reckoned with.
"I am a strong and beautiful woman. I worked hard to become the person I am today and I still have plenty to learn. My body is like a good story. I have so many marks, dimples and bumps to tell one great adventure. I don’t have to look like you to be beautiful. I just have to look like me to be beautiful.''
In another post she poses with her top covering her tummy and with her tummy showing, with the words, 'enough' and 'also enough'.
"I am enough. _There is nothing more to say. It requires no explanation or some kind of in-depth dramatic long commentary. I give it my absolute best and my best is enough,'' she writes.
Don't pay your kids to clean their rooms. "If you give them a buck to make their beds, then when you ask them to help you carry in the groceries, they'll say, 'How much? Why would I do that for free when you pay me to make my bed?'" says author and parenting expert Alyson Schafer. You can give your child an allowance as an introduction to money management and possibly for overall good behavior. But don't tie it dollar-for-dollar to everyday chores.
Mother freedom is a thing
In a social media landscape filled with mothers sporting perfect abs, Kristyn's sentiment is refreshing and beautiful. She speaks honestly about the freedom motherhood can bring from body hate and self-criticism.
"I have struggled with body image since I was a teen. I never thought that I would accept my body as something other than a fat, cellulite hot mess.
"Then, I got pregnant... This life changing experience tested my body to its limits. With that came MORE stretch marks, MORE cellulite, MORE pimples, MORE loose skin, and plenty of new challenges (like ZERO sleep, recovery and learning how to be a mother). Believe it or not, I have never felt more comfortable in my own skin.''