For many women, motherhood is a beautiful journey.
From the moment you find out you are pregnant, to the moment you hold your baby for the very first time–it’s a wonderful road of ups and downs. For many women, however, after having a baby can be a tough time. While women are thankful, grateful, and feel incredibly blessed to be able to bring life into the world–there are many women who suffer from postpartum depression and low-self esteem after giving birth.
Many women feel bad about themselves and their bodies when they aren’t able to “bounce back” right away. With celebrities posting their seemingly perfect bodies just days after giving birth–it’s no wonder we feel the need to be so hard on ourselves. But, one Instagram page is being raw, honest, and real about women’s postpartum bodies–and it’ll move anyone who’s had a baby.
The account, @takebackpostpartum, is run by mother and blogger January Harshe. Women submit their photos and share their stories along with them–and, some of them are incredibly deep and personal.
Some moms share the stories of their pride in their bodies and how resistant and strong they have been. Others share health concerns about themselves and their babies. And, some open up about the reality of postpartum depression.
"When you’re a bigger woman, somehow it makes certain people think you don’t deserve to say you have a “real” postpartum body. . THIS. IS. FALSE. . You grew a human. You birthed a human, whether they came out of your lady bits or through surgery. You have a postpartum body. Period. End of story. It doesn’t matter what that body looks like. There is no definition of what a postpartum body is supposed to look like, contrary to what some people will try and force you to believe. You will see women who have no marks, or have 50. You will see women whose stomachs went right back to being smooth and flat, or hang down with loose skin. You will see women who have lots of fat on their bellies, or who have none. You will see women who were in great shape and toned when they got pregnant and women who were considered “plus size” when they got pregnant. Some women stayed in shape through pregnancy while others gained weight. But what do all of these women have in common after birthing these adorable humans? . They. Have. A. Postpartum. Body. . They have a story. Their story matters and it counts. They can post the photo if they want to. And not every photo will look the same. I am SO DONE with hearing that certain women aren’t allowed to consider their body a “real” postpartum body and post their love for it. . So here it is. Another lovely photo of my postpartum body." @meg.boggs #takebackpostpartum
"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
"Well, I know a lot of you guys are probably thinking 'why would she post this picture', but, it took me 18 months to get here, 18 months to not cry when I look in the mirror, 18 months to finally feel beautiful in my own skin again! No one warns you about the dark sides of motherhood and pregnancy.. no one gives you a heads up on how much you change physically and mentally after you become a mother. It's been a long and hard postpartum ride for me.. 18 months after my first son and 5 months after my second son I feel like I can finally see the light ✨ and it genuinely feels amazing. ? Cheers to you mamas who are battling postpartum depression and still getting up everyday for your children! Cheers to you mamas who still cry about the marks on your skin from birthing your perfect babies! Cheer to motherhood, cheers to knowing that this too shall pass! And things will get better." ? @alexandrabrea_ ©2017 by Alexandra Kilmurray All rights reserved _ #motherhood #postpartum #postpartumdepression #babies #takebackpostpartum
"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." @whenalexsmiles ❤️ #3weekspostpartum #takebackpostpartum
Yup. This kid is upside down. Trying to unblock a milk duct ?? Post partum looks a little like this ?? ✔Tired as fuck ✔Leaking tits ✔Infected and blocked milk ducts ✔A floppy gut ✔Uneven boobs ✔Tears (quite a few) ✔Covered in baby shit, vomit and piss ✔Bleeding cracked nips ✔Pretending you are listening to your 7 and 9 year old but you don't know what the fuck they are saying ✔Eating and drinkng more than you did when you were pregnant As you can see its super glamorous and I wouldn't change it for the world. Also this need to "bounce" back ? Our bodies carried a human for 40 weeks, birthed the bloody thing, the last thing we shoukd worry about is loosing weight, or getting back to normal, or trying to be a hero and do everything. I learnt my lesson with the first two. It does sweet fuck all for your mental health Thank your amazing body for doing such an awesome job. Don't expect too much from your self and remember this too shall pass. From a blistered nipple mumma xx @benessa_v #takebackpostpartum
“When I was pregnant with Paisley, there was always one thing that I would obsess about that scared me more than giving birth for the first time, #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? 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. I felt happy and strong and powerful like I had just done something no other human ever could. Maybe it was just the #oxytocin talking but it was a feeling like I was floating on a cloud. Then days and weeks and months went by and the exhaustion finally set in. Around 6 months postpartum I started feeling defeated. Like if I didn’t get some kind of break soon then I would end up breaking myself. I remember sitting in my truck, tears streaming down my face because Paisley did a number of things that day that made me question whether or not I was a good mom. I felt this way for a couple weeks and then I finally was able to pull myself out of it. I’m not a doctor so I’m not sure if it was #PPD or not, but what I do know is that whatever you’re going through be it exhaustion, PPD, #PPA or even just feeling tired—you are GOING to get through this. Ask someone for help. Tell them you need their support. Take some time to practice self love and self care. You can’t pour from an empty glass. I know it’s hard, but you aren’t alone and you should never feel like you aren’t worthy enough to get the help you need. You are beyond worthy. You are the warrior goddess Mama that birthed that beautiful baby and you deserve every ounce of support and love that you can get. Don’t give up.” ? @chloeandpaisley #motherhood #motherhoodrising #motherhoodsimplified #momlife #motherhoodlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #honestlymothering #selflove #selfcare #takebackpostpartum
"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
via @mamaclog Bad lighting Misshapen belly button. Love handles. Wrinkly tummy pooch. Wonky c-section scar. Torn thighs. All worth it to grow and birth my little boy. I refuse to be ashamed. It's so easy to pick the photo with the best lighting, but that's not real life. Do not feel disheartened if your postpartum body doesn't look the same as the mums you see on Instagram. Good lighting and filters hide SO much. I am very active and I eat very well, but some of these marks with stay with me forever no matter what I do. And that's ok. #AintNoShameInMyMummyTummyGame #TakeBackPostPartum
"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. 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." @jennyandteets2 #thyroid #postpartum #takebackpostpartum
"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
Feeling this. ❤️ “My body feels broken… everything hurts… I don’t feel like I’m bonding as easily this time around… today has gone to shit.” @austinbirthphotos _ These are excerpts from my raw postpartum session with this incredible woman, mother, human, photographer and friend @heathergallagher.photography _ #takebackpostpartum #postpartumwithoutfear #motherhoodunplugged #motherhood #birthbecomesher #birthwithoutfear #candidmotherhood #fourthtrimester #thesincerestoryteller #dearphotographer #postpartum #birthphotographer
"16 M O N T H S #postpartum after my twin pregnancy . 30 kilograms get and lost in the shortest time. My mother's body has made three children and two births. A caesarean section, excess skin, pregnancy strips, and muscles that have pulled apart #rektusdiastase. That's me. The miracle of life.@ ♥ @derstillzwerg . . #miracleoflife #takebackpostpartum #motherhoodrising #postpartumbody #caesareansection #notks #postpregnancy #mombod #dickbauch #dickbauchdienstag #embracethesquish #afterbabybody #bodylove #positivebody #mombody #mutterkörper #motherlove #mutterliebe #motherhood #mother #♥ #twinspregnancy #twinsinside
"THIS is what 'snapping back' after carrying a child looks like. Ice packs on your boobs cuz your milk just came in; ice packs on your entire vag cuz a whole person just tore thru that sucka; bags and circles under your eyes cuz you haven't slept since your water broke; and your favorite outfit is anything with space for the gigantic pad catching all the blood and fluid falling out of your body. And snacks that you may fall asleep eating…cuz during the one good hour that your tiny human sleeps, you've got to eat, sleep, and pee, too." @nikkig_johnson _ #TakeBackPostPartum #MotherhoodInColor #FourthTrimester #Postpartum #MomLife #RealLifeSnapBack #BirthWithoutFear
"Deep breaths…..this is me. This is my body. My body as a cancer survivor, as an amputee, as the mom to 3. I have the scars to show the battles I have fought, I have the stretch marks to show the babies I have grown. My body tells a story, it's shows my journey……. And yet I have never been so hard on myself and how it looks as I have now. I'm 16 months postpartum, I'm still nursing. My stomach is still soft and my breast will never be as perky as they once were. Today I had to stop the nitpicking… I had to be kind to myself and I had to try to look at myself the way the people I love see me. I had to look at the amazing things this body has done. How can I see only faults in a vessel that has given me so much? This is MY body." @treeoflifedoula3 #takebackpostpartum
"Let's just be superficial for a minute alright? We all know having a baby changes so much more than your body, but it's been extremely hard for me to come to terms with just what pregnancy did to my body. I used to be pretty fit, I had my ups and downs with body image but overall I know I looked pretty good. Then came pregnancy and I was huge. I got HUGE towards the end extremely quickly. A mixture of extra amniotic fluid and Amelia being breech accounted for the extra large stomach. My stretch marks appeared overnight basically at around 32 weeks. I had a c section which has left my with a nice scar too. My stomach is soft and squishy from my super stretched skin and is covered in stretch marks. Linea nigra still clearly visible. Let's not even start on what's going on with my bellybutton (and yes it used to be pierced which probably was one of the stupidest things I did now that I look back on it lol). I had such unrealistic standards of what my body was going to look like after birth (yes probably because I'm way too into following all those super hot Instagram mums like Tammy Hembrow ?). But this is the reality for so many of us. And I'm okay with that. My body temporarily looking like this is a good price to pay for the sweet little angel I have sleeping next to me. 2017 I'll work to get back into shape, but it takes time. I have to remind myself to be nice to my body, I spent 9 months creating a life and yes it may never look like it used to but that's okay. But it's also okay to be sad about it." @krristelley _ #postpartum #postpartumbody #11weekspp #takebackpostpartum #postpartumbelly #pregnancy #birthwithoutfear
It’s true when they say Moms are the strongest people in the world. Bless you all.