Real women. Real mamas. Real bodies. A motto many moms are following as they display their postpregnancy bellies on social media, stretch marks and all. Instead of shying away from the battle scars of carrying a child for nine months, moms like former American Idol contestant Kimberly Henderson, are embracing them with vigor and sharing the real experience of what a postpartum mom's body looks like. Joining the body image celebration is Natalie McCain, a Floridian photographer and mother of two, who created The Honest Body Project.
The goal of the photography project, according to the website, is to help women learn to love their bodies and themselves. Every image that Natalie takes is accompanied with a moving story from the women in the photos. In an interview with Today, she noted that she was inspired by the blog Humans of New York and said, "The portraits I take are only half of what makes this project powerful because the backbone of the project are these amazing stories the women share with me."
The stories, some of which come from moms themselves, evoke an emotional response in addition to the powerful images.
One mama, who revealed her stretch marks, shared, "My body may not be aesthetically pleasing but my soft tummy and breasts have been a place of comfort and consolation to my crying children more times than I can count and my stretch marks are my stripes that signify that I am a momma, first and always, and I think that is beautiful."
The honest quotes that these moms have given are quickly going viral because every woman has insecurities about her body, especially postpregnancy. Projects like Natalie's, however, have sparked a movement to love the changed parts of your body, instead of hating them. She said, "On social media, all we portray are the highlights of our lives. But women are having these real problems, and real insecurities, and I hope women can related to that and see they're not alone." Read on to see the candid photos of mothers sharing the love they have for their children and for their bodies.