10 women reveal what postpartum bodies really look like

For some women, becoming a mom is a profound experience. However, there is little talk about what happens to female bodies postpartum.

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Pop culture makes us believe that pregnancy is a beautiful experience - which it can definitely be! Giving birth and being responsible for a human being that grew inside of you is undoubtedly a unique and life-changing experience. But in contrast to the movies and books, women don't necessarily parade their baby bellies around, especially not in designer heels. What the movies don't show us is how much the female body changes during a pregnancy and afterwards. Once we hold our newborn in our arms, our bodies have undergone some changes. Loose skin, stretch marks, a few extra pounds, that's what many postpartum bodies look like.

Gladly, talking about these physical changes and challenges is no longer taboo. The Instagram moms you'll see on the next pages, such as katiemcrenshaw, show us that we're not alone with the challenges that come with pregnancy.

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Self-acceptance is a daily practice and it is especially important postpartum, as powertoprevail demonstrates. Stop listening to society's opinions about the female body, don't let people tell you that you should hide your "flaws".  Your body did something incredible - you did something incredible by giving birth to a tiny human being. You should be so proud of yourself.

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Instagram mom mamaclog shares the story of her pregnancy with her community: During her pregnancy, she suffered from two conditions, one causing her to loose weight and the other causing her to gain weight. Due to the weight gain, her skin has become loose, making the scar her C-section left look bigger than it actually is. 

She writes, "Sometimes it really gets to me. I'm only human. And that's ok.
The way your body transforms during pregnancy can be a complete shock to the system. But I don't think many women are prepared for the postpartum transformation.
When all we see on social media are mothers that snapped back within days - no marks, scars, loose skin or cellulite, of course new mothers are finding it hard to accept themselves and value their bodies.
To all the 'imperfect' mothers. You are not damaged goods."

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reneahhh declares to the community that "I earned this body and nobody is going to tell me I'm less beautiful after doing the beautiful thing of creating life. Tree weeks postpartum" 

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Slim women like mycocktail_life also experience bodily changes. It can be challenging to return to one's previous physical shape, if that's what one wants to do. 

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Whenalexsmiles posted this foto three weeks after giving birth and encourages her followers to find strength in their vulnerability. She writes, "I may be a little softer but ultimately I am stronger and these marks just remind me of where I once tightly held and grew Emilia Ren. This body, ME, I may not be the same but if she can find so much comfort and safety in this body, I will as well."

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Instagram mom elliana_allon shares this beautiful picture of her postpartum body.

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Despite society's constant campaigning against loose skin, or because of it, theperfectmom shows us how important it is to love the skin we're in. Your body allowed you to create life.

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Marathon runner Stephrothstein writes, "When I look down I see stretch marks that are here to stay, ab muscles that need continued strengthening, legs that are powerful, and feet that are ready to fly!"

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And what do the dads think about their partner's postnatal body? According to laborloved 's husband, the dads are more than grateful for the gift their partner gave them. And they love their partner's postpartum body just as much as they did their pre-birth body.