Image credit: Mothercare #bodyproudmums campaign
Despite the body positivity movement, research by Mothercare shows that more than half of mums are not proud of their bodies following childbirth.
“I think there's a lot of pressure on pregnant women to have a 'nice, neat bump' and then lose all the extra weight really quickly and fit back into their 'size 10 jeans' practically the day after giving birth. It's hideous.”
First time mum
The Body Proud Mums campaign showcases images of 10 mums by photographer Sophie Mayanne who has pledged to never digitally change skin in her work.
Commenting on the campaign, Sophie said, “The images depict the raw and incredibly emotional experience of childbirth. The aim is for mums of all shapes and sizes to be able to identify with these photos in one way or another, and to feel more confident with their imperfections.”
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At Mothercare, we believe all mums are beautiful and should feel proud and confident about their bodies #BodyProudMums Kesia, 17 weeks after giving birth: “I always knew my body would be different after giving birth, however, I didn’t expect my mind to take so long to get used to seeing myself. I was never “skinny” but I put on more weight than I thought I would. A lot of friends had babies close to me and they post online about their bodies, and I do feel upset sometimes that I haven’t bounced back in the same way they have. I know every woman is different and I am not as hard on myself anymore. I wanted to take part to show people that it is normal to look like this after having a baby. I want to show the baby is more important than the marks!”
The findings reveal that:
- over 80% of UK mums have admitted comparing their post-baby bodies to unrealistic ideals
- 90% of women aged 18-25 expected their bodies to compete with celebrities and what they see in the media
- as a result of this, more than half of mums on social media are using apps/filters on photos to hide things about their appearance that they don’t like.
Liz Day, parenting consultant at Mothercare said she hoped that the photos showcase the “diverse reality of the post birth body and offer reassurance for mums that everybody is beautiful and unique. From surgical scars to stretch marks, we want to celebrate and support the true journey of motherhood and that includes the physical changes to the body.”
"Many mums struggle with body image following the birth but it’s important to recognise the enormous change that your body has gone through to produce your beautiful baby. There’s no rush to return to your pre-baby body and it’s important to remember that the images you see of celebrities are often Photoshopped and give an unrealistic impression. There’s really no such thing as ‘normal’. It's time that new mums celebrated their post-pregnancy tummies." Sophie, Tommy's midwife
Find out more about your body after birth.