This Instagram account is encouraging mums to embrace their postpartum bodies – whatever they might look like
Instagram account @takebackpostpartum is a breath of fresh air. Sick and tired of companies highjacking #postpartum to sell stretch mark creams and weight loss programmes, Texas mother of 6, January Harshe, challenged mums to reclaim the hashtag, starting a positivity movement.
Love love love fresh postpartum bellies! 😍 How can a postpartum body be anything but magnificent?! If you can find beauty in another woman’s body then why not your own? We all share the same energy, beauty, and magic even if it’s form uniquely varies a bit. -January Harshe _ Image of @thesimplefolk_ by @catfancote.capturingbirth via @australianbirthstories! #takebackpostpartum
The feed features realistic images of mothers from around the world, each one telling their own story, from painful breastfeeding to deep stretch marks, wrinkled stomachs to sleep deprivation. With almost 140k followers, it aims to challenge the idea that women should simply ‘bounce back’ after giving birth, and prove that the recovery takes time. Your body might not ever be the same again, but that’s okay.
“To all the women today who are mamas – you are stunning. Wear your stripes proudly. May our daughters only hear us speak positively about our bodies and how they’ve changed because we carried them. May they be raised in households where they are delighted in, celebrated, and cherished always and not based on their outward appearance. Speak life into their hearts.” ❤️ @jenn.newm #postpartum #postpartumbody #takebackpostpartum
Writing in a blog post, January noted: “[Postpartum] is a roller coaster ride that is personal and different to each person and family going through it but is also similar enough that most of us can relate on some level. Let’s take back postpartum. We are mothers and strong women. Our collective voice is so powerful that we can shake the entire world.”
“This is a picture I most likely will not keep up for very long. This is me, at the peak of my postpartum depression. I asked Shiloh to take a picture of me, so I could remember how far I’d come, if I ever came out of it. I was lower than low, I wasn’t even myself. Looking back at this photo I remember perfectly the pain I felt, the dread in waking up everyday, the physical pain that engulfed me from thoughts in my brain. I had never known consuming, mind altering emotion such as this that flooded every fiber of my being, making its way through my veins like a plague. This is what postpartum depression looks like, or at least what it did for me. I didn’t want to leave this life, but it seemed like the only way that would rid me of the pain I was in. I didn’t ask for it, it wasn’t welcome. But there it was, and I kicked its fucking ass and beat it to the ground before I let it consume me, or much worse, take my life.” @themanifestingmamma #thisisppd . . . . #ppd #postpartumdepression #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #overcomingppd #mentalhealthsupport #communityovercompetition #stopcensoringmotherhood #motherhoodunited #motherhoodrising #motherhood #takebackpostpartum
Each photo amasses thousands of likes, followed by many comments from fellow mums offering support, advice and solidarity. Want to get involved? Add your own picture and use the hashtag #takebackpostpartum – you might even get reposted.
“In my womb, I’ve grown 10 babies. Only four were born alive, but how fucking miraculous nonetheless. And I’ve never loved myself more. I’ve never felt more feminine. Shaved head. Stretch mark stomach. Deflated breasts. Thighs that touch. Society does not defy me. My inner self does.” ⚡️⚡️ @wisewildwell #takebackpostpartum
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"Why be ashamed? A life grew inside of you that gives humanity hope of change. You felt things that I as a man will never understand. Even when you first held your baby girl or boy it was nothing similar to when they lay in their father's hands. Your body changed and so did you. It became a look into the past of what you went through. You grew mentally and emotionally and your spirit was taken to places you didn't think it would ever go. Your breasts may sit differently. Your ass may not be as thick as it once was. But why should it be when you gave so much of yourself to help all of us. A sacrifice of sorts if you choose to see it that way. But to me your body now is exactly how it's supposed to be. So don't be ashamed. Don't hide your changes from the world that you and your sisters helped create. Be proud of your story. Be proud of your lines. Be proud of who you've chosen to be." @expressionsuntold___ _ Muse: @sereneradianceyoga Photo by @expressionsuntold___ #birthwithoutfear #dontforgetdads #takebackpostpartum