This Is What It Looks Like to Be 'Postpartum & Pregnant' at the Same Time

Pregnant mom
worldofsmackey/Instagram

Some women make New Year's resolutions revolving around getting in shape or changing their bodies. One pregnant mom was no different, but instead of vowing to gain muscles or lose the baby weight, New Zealand mom Stella Mackey vowed to bring transparency to 2018. She opened up about her second pregnancy in a series of candid Instagram posts that illuminate exactly what new moms and their bodies go through. From showing a "pregnant, postpartum body" to recovering from birth shaming and bloody nipples, Mackey isn't just calling out the less-than-glamorous aspects of new motherhood -- she's hopefully normalizing them.

  • Mackey stripped down on Instagram and wants people to see her pregnant body in its entirety.

    This is what Mackey looked like at the end of her second pregnancy, and she's happy to give a face to "real" pregnant bodies. "I took some without my face in them, but I'm not faceless, I'm not invisible and I refuse to hide," she wrote. "Swollen, marked, bruised, stretched, square and low bellies. Curves everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Breasts that hang, flat, full, small and large. These bodies are everywhere hidden beneath clothes, behind closed doors, itching and hurting, loved and hated, not spoken of or spoken so cruelly about in hushed voices to ourselves and others."

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  • Mackey wants to be real about experiencing a "pregnant postpartum" body, because it's definitely different.

    "This body is both pregnant and postpartum. Its shape and marks are both current and old," she wrote in the caption on a separate photo. "I do not always love it, I often do." 

    After giving birth to her first baby, Mackey admits that she cried whenever she caught a glimpse of her postpartum body, and those changes are still reflected in her second bump. "Thanks in kind to genetics there was no way I'd avoid stretch marks or spider veins, cellulite is most women's 'normal' and the belly that over hangs is a result of both weight and how my body handles being pregnant," she wrote. "Now this pregnant body still has those marks and still 'hangs.' It doesn't sit high and pert like some, it covers most of my pubic region and even though it's full of baby it still sports soft squishy sides."

    Even if her second baby bump isn't "magazine perfect," she refuses to hide it. So on baby Scarlett's "eviction day," she was proud to show the world her swollen, stretched pregnant belly because the moment is pretty damn incredible. "I'll never be this pregnant again, never this shape, never this person, a mother of one. As my body deflates my family inflates to a wonderful family of four. It's bittersweet," she wrote. "F*ck society and anyone else's standards -- this is a pregnant body."

  • Once she gave birth to her second baby, Mackey also opened up about her difficult recovery process.

    Mackey had a C-section and revealed that she's sick of the stigma surrounding surgical birth. "I still hear things like 'it's the easy way out.' WTF?? Or the worst, 'too posh to push.' ... Stop discounting a mother's feelings," she wrote. ".... This is the reality of healing from a cesarean section. It's lonely. Painful. Frustrating .... My scar hurts, it stings. It's hard to keep it dry and comfortable in this heat and having an apron (panniculus) of skin just exaggerates the problem."

    More from CafeMom: Why 1 Mom Wants You to Look at Her Body After 10 Pregnancies & 6 Miscarriages

  • She even shared a candid topless photo to detail her struggles with breastfeeding.

    "This is my today. No clothes because it’s hot as hell again and I’m too tired to think past covering my ass for the day," she wrote. "No bra because my nipples need to not be touching anything (they're so sore!). After the hardest night so far with the smalls, especially the toothless piranha I'm done for today .... My skin’s sensitive, my bones hurt, my soul is bruised .... Don't be afraid to throw your hands up in the air and say 'f*ck it' I'm not doing anything but surviving today. Today's goal -- SURVIVE."

  • People have criticized Mackey for being so open with her posts.

    Some can't imagine a wife and mom of two getting naked on social media, so Mackey wants to set the haters straight. "To the concern trolls: Yes, I'm married but my husband doesn't own my body. My body my choice," she wrote. "Yes, I have children. One day they might see this, and I want them to know that I made an educated and calculated choice when I shared this picture. That I'm an empowered woman and my body is here for me to do with as I please. It's not here for anyone else. Except of course those moments carrying them inside this body and feeding them from my breasts. Still my choice."

  • With her photos, Mackey hopes to break the system of hiding realistic pregnant bodies from friends, family, and the media.

    "How are we supposed to normalize everyone else’s normal when it's nowhere to be seen? Well here it is. I'm being the change I want to see," she wrote. "One of my goals for 2018 was to go into it bold, unashamed, unapologetic and brave. So here I am ... sharing, normalizing, hopefully empowering others to take up the space they were put on this earth to enjoy and get used to a new normal. An unedited, perfectly imperfect normal."

c-sections postpartum recovery postpartum weight body image body positivity