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.''
Put on your own oxygen mask first. In other words, take care of yourself or you can't be a fully engaged parent. Parents who deprive themselves of rest, food, and fun for the sake of their kids do no one a favor. "People feel guilty when they work a lot, so they want to give all their free time to their kids," says Fred Stocker, a child psychiatrist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, in Kentucky. "But you risk getting squeezed dry and emotionally exhausted." A spa weekend may not be realistic, but it's OK to take 15 minutes for a bath after you walk in the door. (A tall request for a kid, yes, but a happier Uno player goes a long way.) Running ragged between activities? Ask your child to prioritize, says Taylor. She may be dying for you to chaperone a field trip but ambivalent about your missing a swim meet—the ideal amount of time for a pedicure.
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.
Hillary Rodham Clinton (mom of Chelsea): When my daughter was younger, I would say, “‘Chelsea, you’ve never been a baby before, and I’ve never been a mother before, and we’re just going to have to help each other get through this.”
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.''