A new ad campaign from the British company Mothercare features something not often seen in advertising: real postpartum bodies. The campaign, #BodyProudMums, features 10 women showing off their stretch marks, loose skin, swollen tummies and less-than-perky breasts with the simple message, “Beautiful, isn’t she.”
“More than half of mums in the United Kingdom don’t feel proud of their post-baby bodies,” Elizabeth Day, parenting consultant at Mothercare, told TODAY Parents via email. “This campaign hopes to reduce some of the pressures that new mums may be feeling by celebrating the physical changes that come with motherhood rather than trying to edit them out.”
The company surveyed 1,500 moms for its campaign. More than 80 percent of moms admitted they compare their postpartum bodies to unrealistic bodies with half believing they need to look like svelte celebrity moms.
“These honest photos showcase the diverse reality of the post-birth body and offer reassurance to mums that every body is beautiful and unique,” Day said. “From surgical scars to stretch marks, we want to celebrate the true journey and miracle of motherhood and that includes the physical changes to the body.”
So far moms have been applauding the images.
“Seeing this just brings tears to my eyes. My little boy is just over 8 weeks old and I’ve put weight on and have a lot of stretch marks but I am perfectly fine with it,” Stacey Robinson wrote on Facebook. “Being the best mommy I could be is a lot more important than getting back to the pregnancy body.”
The women featured in the campaign also shared their thoughts on the project.
“When I was pregnant, I hated seeing pregnancy and maternity wear all using skinny models with fake bumps,” Tina said in a statement on the Mothercare website. She was photographed 27 weeks after delivery. “The inspiration behind this project is to show real women, all different shapes and sizes actually not caring about their ‘big’ thighs or ‘big’ bellies — and just trying to be comfortable in their own skin.”
While Tina likes seeing real moms in ads across London, she also enjoys that she’ll be an example for women who look like her.
“It’s rare to see Indian models with curves and big busts. I would like to see more Indian models with lumps and bumps,” she said.
For other moms, the experience bolstered their self-esteem.
“I have always struggled internally with my weight and how I feel about myself,” Harriet, who posed 26 weeks after birth, said. “I feel like I’m doing this for all the mums who wear baggy tops or cry when they look in the mirror. To say — you are amazing.”
Sophia, who was photographed 39 weeks after giving birth to twins, liked being a part of the project because it helped her realize how amazing her body is.
“I have a new found respect for my body, even with my extra jiggle and stretch marks,” she said. “I am proud of my body for holding two babies. They were born at full term and no health issues. I don’t mind having tummy wrinkles. It is a small price to pay for these beautiful little girls.”