A mother of four is using Instagram to spread a powerful message about body positivity.
Last week, Brittany Craig posted a throwback photo of her newborn son, Kain, next to her stretch-mark-filled midsection at just one week postpartum.
“I am beyond proud of what my body has endured and accomplished in the last 10 years!” Craig wrote in the caption, noting that while her body may not perfectly conform to society’s ideal of “sexy,” she refuses to let that alter her outlook.
“My body has grown and housed 4 human beings ― 3 of them being over 9 lbs, and somehow delivered them into this world,” the mom explained, honoring the two sons and two daughters she gave birth to between 2006 and 2013. “It’s even provided food to nourish them and help them grow,” she added.
“Minus a few rips and tears, hernias, hemorrhoids and stretch marks, my body has done the most miraculous things!” Craig continued. “And I have a man that thinks I’m sexier now then I’ve ever been! Don’t be ashamed if your body doesn’t look like the next, it never will! God made you uniquely you, and every BODY is beautiful!”
Craig told The Huffington Post she was inspired to post the intimate photo after observing the range of comments about body image on motherhood, birth and fitness-related social media pages.
“I just felt I needed to make it very clear that no matter what your body looks like or your race, size, religion, hair color, pant size, or clothing brand, that every body is beautiful and ESPECIALLY mothers!” she said.
Craig said she believes a lot of women struggle with postpartum body image because pregnancy and childbirth can take a real toll on one’s confidence. “Learning to adjust, accept and most importantly embrace your ‘new’ body takes time and support ― something not every woman has!” she said.
“We judge ourselves because we don’t lose our weight as fast as our best friend did,” she added. “Or because stretch marks and saggy skin aren’t sexy in today’s society, or because we see celebrities who just gave birth and five days later are on the red carpet looking better then we did in junior high!”
The mom said that she believes social media adds to the problem because so many people only show what they want others to see ― the filtered, edited, perfect versions. This creates a sense of pressure on new mothers that Craig believes can be harmful.
“After giving birth everything is out of whack!” she said. “Your body is an ooey gooey mess. Your hormones are all over the place. It took 10 months for that to happen, and it should take at least 10 for it to go back!”
Ultimately, Craig wants mothers to embrace every part of their postpartum bodies and appreciate the “miraculous” nature of what they’ve just done.
“You created another life!” she said. “Your body made a HEART, eyes, lungs, a brain, tiny fingernails ... You did that! Be proud of every stretch mark, every change your body made because you are a miracle maker and that is something to be very proud of!”
Craig said she hopes her photo and words can help women feel beautiful and less alone in their postpartum journeys. “If I can help just one person to feel better about herself then I’ve done what I hoped to do! I hope to brighten the light on mothers and how incredible we are!”