post pregnancy bodies
photo: iStock

If there's ever a time where you learn to REALLY appreciate your body, it's when you're welcoming a little one into the world. Unfortunately, this can also be the time when it's hardest to love your body, with stretch marks, saggy skin, and weight gain naturally occurring. 

Some celebrities, including Chrissy Teigen, Pink, and Anne Hathaway, have spoken out about all the ways their bodies *really* changed after birth, which is inspiring to see. Still, there's nothing like seeing "real women" (aka ones without loads of money or access to things the average person doesn't have) sharing their personal stories of the post-baby body.

Instagram account @takebackpostpartum shows women loving their post-baby bodies, with every "imperfection" included.

The account, originally noted by BuzzFeed, is run by January Harshe, who has her own blog about parenthood.

The photos and stories featured on the page are realistic moments all moms can relate to.

They feature them with their newborns and without.

The women are openly sharing their experiences with their post-baby bodies, like this woman who talked about her "tummy pouch."

"My “tummy pooch” is a byproduct of three things- loose skin, an ab separation, and adhesions causing my scar to be pulled inwards (creating a dip.) It has nothing to do with my overall weight," she said. "LOTS of mothers wear marks from pregnancy and child birth and i’s a MISCONCEPTION that you can get rid of these marks through diet or exercise. You cannot starve your way to taut skin. Nor can you exercise away indented scars."

As with anything else, learning to accept your body is key, especially with something as major as childbirth. "It’s ok to bare the marks of your pregnancy and birth proudly. The same as it’s ok to feel a little bit upset and like a stranger in your new body," she added. "It’s human. Learning to accept and love yourself as you are is a process- it’s ok if you’re not quite there yet."

Each woman has a different story about how they overcame insecurities while still caring for their newborn.

"PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS THAT UNIQUELY MAKE UP YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, LOVABLE, & WORTHY OF RESPECT, ACCEPTANCE, AND (YOU GUESSED IT!) LOVE," one submission read.

For some, it was weight and health management (rather than weight gain) that was hardest to deal with.

"NOT anorexia, it’s a thyroid issue. I don’t know what it says about me that I got this thin and didn’t think there was anything wrong. Last Friday, I had a bulge in my neck that finally got me to the doctor. I’m STILL waiting on blood work but my doc thinks it’s Graves," one submission read. "If you just had a baby and have lost an inordinate amount of weight, feel like you are on cocaine, are suddenly heat intolerant, and can’t stop losing hair, and feel like your husband is being a dick it might just be your thyroid!! Get checked ASAP." 

For others, mental health was the biggest hurdle to overcome after giving birth.

One woman opened up about her fear of postpartum depression: "I would lay awake at night in fear of what emotions I would have after having her. Would I love her? Would I hate her? Would I feel resentment for what my body just went through?" she wrote. "These are all very real thoughts that I had and I couldn’t get them out of my head. After dealing with depression and #anxiety my entire life, I was certain that going through it postpartum was inevitable. Then I had her and I felt....fine. In fact, I felt better than I had in my entire life."

In some way, the Instagram account is like a sisterhood of moms embarking on a new journey together.

Luckily, they have the support of one another for every step of the way.

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