When lifestyle blogger Rachel Hollis of The Chic Site shared the above photo on her Facebook page, she empowered almost 9,500 women to comment, sharing their own stories of body image (especially post-childbirth), another 322,000 to "like" it, and 40,000+ more to share it on their own pages. Why? It was partly the image itself, of the beautiful, confident woman and mom living it up on her beach vacation — sans cover-up and sans worries. But it was also the message that accompanied it. Rachel writes:
I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that's permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy . . . (which is something I didn't even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I'm proud of this body and every mark on it. Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man whose opinion matters knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he's never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren't scars ladies, they're stripes and you've earned them. Flaunt that body with pride!
On your next trip to the beach or pool, remember Rachel's words, and embrace the evolution that motherhood takes us all through. Your body's done something incredible (for some of us, several times over). Don't hide it!