These Are the 'Real' Postpartum Body Photos Every Mom Needs to See


Not everything you see while scrolling through Instagram is a reflection of reality. Between filters, angles, lighting, and photoshopping, these perfect snapshots can get exhausting -- especially when what you see on your screen looks nothing like what greets you in the mirror. Seeing postpartum bodies that are stretch-mark free with the uncanny ability to "bounce right back" goes from just frustrating to potentially damaging after you have a baby. That's because it sets moms up for unrealistic expectations for what their bodies should be doing as they recover. To combat the misconception surrounding what bodies should look like in the weeks or months after creating a human, the Instagram account @takebackpostpartum is celebrating real moms and embracing how their bodies have changed. The result: unfiltered beauty courtesy of incredibly strong women.

  • @august.bea

    "There are days when I feel pretty good about myself, and then there are days where I don't even want to look in the mirror. But every time I start feeling poorly about my body, I remind myself that I just GREW A HUMAN inside of me. For nearly 10 months, my body changed and grew a little more every day with a growing baby inside of it. And that feeling trumps any and all of the poor feelings I have about myself. It makes me snuggle her a little harder and look at her a little longer. Because for me, motherhood isn't about getting my body back or being able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. It's about spending every moment possible loving on my precious babe and building that special bond with her."

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  • @britteanderson

    "HUGE BOOBS, SQUISHY BELLY, FULL HEART. The female body is freaking amazing, you guys! Watching it grow and shrink and stretch is nothing short of miraculous, and yet there is so much pressure for things to 'go back to normal' after baby. NEWS FLASH: you don't 'go back' to anything. Your body is forever changed, and that's a beautiful thing." 

    More from CafeMomThis Is What It's Like Still Seeing a Bump When You're Not Pregnant Anymore

  • @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 will stay with me forever no matter what I do. And that's okay." 

  • @phoenix_sunstar

    "Being pregnant, you don't know what your body will be like after. You hope it'll be like all these women on IG that go immediately back to having a six pack. But, that's not my real life. If you got stretch marks, they don't disappear. If you were stretched to the max and gained some weight, everything doesn't magically go away. If you had a cesarean, it pushes you back even more. I've had an incredibly hard time trying to accept these things. Looking in the mirror has not been easy. But when I really think about it, my body went to hell and back and it's still standing. My daughter is amazing and I created every piece of her with this body. ❤ This IS normal!"

  • @calissabree

    "I know some may be offended by this photo, but you know what? I don't care. This to me is the tummy I now wear proudly as our beautiful daughter grew inside of me. I have a scar and many stretch marks to prove I carried her for 10 and a half months and brought her into this world. You know, I had all these hopes and dreams about how I wanted to deliver Eden, but when things don't go to plan, it can change -- and for me it took a long time to accept this and be proud of how Eden was born. I had all those feelings of guilt and even worse when I then couldn't fulfill my dream of breastfeeding my daughter. But now nine months later I'm finally accepting and moving on because I have this perfect little girl -- however she was brought into this world, she is here and she is safe and I am also okay."

  • @thefortintrio

    "Despite how difficult my postpartum was and sometimes still is, what I see more than anything when I look at my Hope wounds is a beautiful and loving mama trying to do all she can to provide the greatest love and care for her miracles. I see a strong woman who not only fought and conquered infertility, but spoke up and ultimately didn't let postpartum anxiety and depression beat her. There is so much beauty in that when I look at my Hope wounds."

  • @misstarateng

    "Dear Internet, ⠀

    This is what a body looks like nine days postpartum. And no, I do not have any interest in trying to 'shed 10,' bounce back, or get my body back. Don't sell me wraps, skinny teas, or weight loss management kits. ⠀

    I love this body of mine. It nourished, birthed, and continues to feed my precious baby. I appreciate all that it has given me and I honour its soft, squishy, life-giving curves. ⠀

    So thank you for your concern, but we're all doing just fine here."

  • @ jojaxandme

  • @expressionsuntold

    "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." 

  • @tiffanyburkephotography

    "This is seven days postpartum. I'm rocking out in the mesh undies from the hospital (they are the best, send me all the mesh undies please). My body has done a beautiful thing. It has carried a fifth child into this world. My uterus and stomach might not ever be 'the same.' Nor should it be after the journeys it's been through, the stories it can tell. A gift denied to many women. For every woman complaining of stretch marks, or a newer heavier body, there is a woman out there who would trade places in a heartbeat to be able to carry and raise a child. I have been the complainer before, the downer of my body. Loving my postpartum body is not something I did easily. It took years of life, loss, appreciation, understanding, stories from other women ... Other women played a HUGE role in my self-love of my different body. It's amazing the gift of the lady village and the openness and rawness of those who have gone before us or are going with us, and the change it can make in the way we see ourselves when we share openly. 

    My baby is only 7 days old. My body is supposed to look exactly like this. However, my body also might not ever go back. Nor should it have to. I just want to be healthy and strong for my children. Eat healthy to have energy to be present in their lives, be the teacher and guardian they each uniquely need, loving them unconditionally every step of the way. Having a larger stomach won't make me any less of a mother or any less deserving of self-love and body appreciation. 

    Rock out with your mesh undies out and self-love the crap out of the gifts your body has allowed you to experience. And give yourself grace. Self-love is a daily practice. We have to work hard to change our inner voice. Don't you give up. It takes time for it all to come together. Just keep swimming."

  • @jessicasheridan

    "Okay. I'm just going to say it. Postpartum body shaming seems to happen no matter what size you end up being after birth. I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight four months after I had Charlie. I owe that to genetics 100 percent. That being said, you would not believe the amount of times I hear 'wow, you look so skinny.' Or 'geez, you've already lost ALL that weight?' Or the really snide remarks about 'well that won't happen with your second.' Or the straight up dirty looks I get from other new moms when they hear how old my baby is. FYI -- I do still deal with all those crappy PP issues like my belly button popping out when I eat too much, diastasis recti, getting bald spots from PP hair loss, and my personal favorite: postpartum depression .... I may have gotten my 'body back,' but my spirit has taken a little longer.

    So, here is my 10 month postpartum body. I don't care if you think I'm skinny or fat or too soft or too lumpy. And I don't care what your postpartum body looks like. I don't care if you're striped, swollen, thick, thin, still dealing with extra weight, or have already worked your ass off to get back all of your muscle. I care that we remember -- truly -- that it's what's on the inside that counts. That has been my journey and it's getting better every day." 

  • @jessbovey

    "It's selfish, I know -- others are having issues falling pregnant and I'm moaning about my stretch marks, marks which without, I wouldn't have my kids. I am truly grateful for my children.

    My stretch marks are bad. They look like I've been attacked by a wild animal (maybe that'd be a better story to roll with). They're deep and almost look like burns. I know they will fade over time but I think with the extent of them, it's likely they'll always be quite prominent. The tattoo is ruined, but I am not bothered as I hated it anyway.

    I heard a quote the other day: 'For every woman who hates her stretch marks there is a woman wishing she had them.' It really got me thinking. Thinking about the new body I have. I am thankful every day, don't get me wrong. The stretch marks [are] a part of me now, a part I am yet to fully accept." 

  • @derstillzwerg

    "[My body] has made three children and two births. A caesarean section, excess skin, pregnancy stripes, and muscles that have pulled apart #rektusdiastase. That's me. The miracle of life."

  • @sageandnellie

    "Will my belly button always look like a cat's bum hole? 😆 It's been a lot easier emotionally but I still cry at least once a day over absolutely nothing, and man my poor boobies are running like taps -- everything is soaked in breast milk. Margot loves a comfort feed, so I've spent the last seven days with her hanging off my nipple whilst contending with Nellie, and now this silly blood pressure problem. How on earth do you mummas with more than two do it? Not that I would have it any other way, I'm still utterly and blissfully in baby paradise. There really is nothing I'd rather be doing than mothering my two girls." 

postpartum recovery