After giving birth to four babies, what Janene Crossley sees when she looks at her postpartum body is different than what her daughters notice.
When this Texas mom was snuggling with three of her little ones, her 5-year-old daughter made a bold declaration about her tummy: "It feels like bubble gum!" Instead of recoiling from her child's observation, Janene decided to post this "unflattering open-mouth picture" that captured the exact moment her child squeezed her belly rather than a "prettier" one.
She explained that she hopes her daughters always feel confident in the skin they're in — even if it's stretched, loose, or marked. "[My postpartum body is] a novel that pleaded and prayed to house my babies," she wrote on Instagram. "The fresh, crepe-paper skin means that tiny Avery is nestled in my arm instead of on the inside. My sore chest means that I'm still single-handedly growing this baby. What a straight up miracle this is."
Janene wants her girls to know that her belly will forever share her story and to understand exactly why she isn't ashamed of it. "I'm feeling 100 percent proud of this postpartum body, with its jelly abs and shriveled up skin. It made me a mother," she wrote. "A mother who now has cellulite because that's just how my body handled pregnancy."
For Janene, how her body recovered from forming a life is simply just part of her road to motherhood. "Paved with miserable pregnancies and yet a lifetime of unconditional pure love for these four little ones," she wrote. "And yeah, I'll make these girls reenact this childhood photo when they're grown with bubblegum bellies of their own."