This Instagram Celebrates Moms And Their Post-Pregnancy Bodies In All Their Glory

"I refuse to be ashamed."

Take a listen to any interview with a celebrity soon after she's had a new baby, and you'll hear questions about what she's doing to "bounce back." And for moms who have already lost all the weight they gained during their pregnancy, people want to know what she did to get there. 

But for women who have had children, they know there's no going back. Not really. Sure, you can get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, but the truth is that having a baby takes a toll on moms — physically and emotionally. 

Yet, instead of celebrating the strength of new moms, we put more pressure on them to get back to where they were pre-baby. 

Mom blogger and public speaker January Harshe wants to help change that attitude by taking a different approach to postpartum bodies. The mother of six runs the body positive Instagram @takebackpostpartum which celebrates postpartum bodies in all of their "imperfect" glory through photos and stories from real new moms. 


The account is an effort to take back what it means to be postpartum so that people can be more accepting of themselves and other moms. It shows that new moms of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels are strong and beautiful. And it reminds them that they're not alone in their struggles to heal, breastfeed, and feel happy with what they see in the mirror. 

So, instead of telling new moms that their postpartum bodies aren't good enough, let's celebrate their journeys by sharing their stories. 

You can check out a few recent noteworthy posts from the Instagram account below. 

1. "As women we are either too much of something or never enough of something else."

"As women we are either too much of something or never enough of something else. 

I am fucking tired. Not just from the normal mom life, working mom, every day grind, but bone deep and mentally exhausted. The kind where you ask yourself 'What the fuck am I doing this all for??' We care so damn much about our communities, human rights, our families, our spouses and partners, and our friends. Then we worry about what we eat, our health, self love and self care (many of you laugh at even trying to think of that shit), and what we look like. 

There's barely anything left of us most days, and we don't want to talk about it regularly because we are engrained to feel shame from a young age. We're afraid of being judged or others not loving us through and with our flaws. Isn't that the biggest bullshit ever though? Since we are all going through similar journeys... 

Take a deep breathe with me, let go, do something today (and everyday) that makes YOU HAPPY. Because you matter. We matter. And what the hell is the point of this shit if we don't feel joy, if we don't enjoy it with the people we love, and if we aren't honest with ourselves and each other. I'm in the trenches with you."

2. "I refuse to be ashamed."

"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."

3. "This is my body. My body as a cancer survivor, as an amputee, as the mom to three."

"Deep breaths ... this is me. This is my body. My body as a cancer survivor, as an amputee, as the mom to three. 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 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." 

4. "I used to look at this photo and just see pain. But with time I see love."

"I know this sounds crazy, but this is one of my favorite pictures of me being a mother. Everly's time was so short. I used to look at this photo and just see pain. But with time I see love. This was one of the hardest moments of my life yet I had this overcoming feeling of love mixed in with grief and loss. When I knew my time was limited with my daughter I had to fit in years and years worth of love. I feel that in this photo. It's one of my strongest mommy moments. Saying goodbye."

5. "One week postpartum and I can honestly say it's been a lot harder than I ever thought."

"No more bump shots, so me and Margot have had a little selfie instead. One week postpartum and I can honestly say it's been a lot harder than I ever thought. After having an emergency c-section and delivering Nellie 3 months early, I thought our full term, planned section would be a breeze. 

Well in no way have I "bounced back" like I did with Nellie. Will my belly button always look like a cats 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 7 days with her hanging of 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." 

6. "I may not ever look the way I did before I had the twins. And you know what? I'm OK with that."

"I've been wanting to share this for awhile now. Almost every day, I receive messages from other mums asking me how I look the way that I do. How I got my 'pre-baby body' back. Here's the truth ladies — I DIDN'T. I have the excess skin. I don't have stomach definition the way I used to. My hips are a little wider. I don't want there to be any misconceptions. My body did not just 'bounce back'. Now having said that, I work very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to FEEL good in my skin. I may not ever look the way I did before I had the twins. And you know what? I'm OK with that.

I have arms. I have legs. I can see, hear and experience life. My body has done amazing things, why on earth would I punish it?

Learn to appreciate what you have. It doesn't mean you have to stop working for what you want, just show a little self love along the way."

7. "There is no need to hide the 'ugly' moments in motherhood."

"At first glance I hated this picture, I felt ugly and 'unpolished' but then at an instance I realized this is honest motherhood, this is me caring for my children more than I care about myself. There is no need to hide the 'ugly' moments in motherhood bc they are the most beautiful."

8. "I still don’t think I have really come to terms with my new body."

"I still don't think I have really come to terms with my new body, while it's easy to adopt the attitude 'out of sight, out of mind' – they are definitely not out of mind.

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 everyday, don't get me wrong. The stretch marks a part of me now, a part I am yet to fully accept.

Whilst I am almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body is most certainly not the same, but I am OK with that. Am I really? Yes and no. I wish I didn't have my stretch marks, but they also tell a story and I now have two beautiful children to show for it. It's funny because I weigh the same, but I am different size and body shape now, my boobs went from a C to a DD and I am not even breastfeeding anymore. I don't fit any of my old clothes and I can't stand anything that is tight fitting, although I never did, to be honest..."

9. "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."

"At almost 4 months postpartum, this is my body today. I'm not one of the women who can just 'bounce back' after having a baby. I've gone back and forth I don't know how many times about posting this photo. I've been trying my best not to get down about my body since having Holden, but it's been a bit hard at times. 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."

10. "Today I feel like a damn superhero."

"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. 

This time last week I still had a 9+ LB baby in my belly. My pregnancy and birth experiences have given me so much appreciation for a body that I HATED for most my life. Today I feel like a damn superhero PS- who else loves mesh panties? Seriously, they're awesome."

11. "Value yourself for what the media doesn't."

"Value yourself for what the media doesn't — your intelligence, your street smarts, your ability to play a kick-ass game of pool, whatever. So long as it's not just valuing yourself for your ability to look hot in a bikini." 

(H/T: Buzzfeed


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