We’ve been in awe of stretch marks since way before Kendrick Lamar asked for more. But for anyone who’s ever struggled to accept their own, or to find self-love in general, this Instagram post is pure inspiration.
Sharny Kieser, an Australian fitness trainer who posts exercise and travel photos alongside pictures of her husband and six kids, recently shared a bikini photo that proudly showed off her body ― stretch marks and all.
Revealing there was once a time that she didn’t even see the point of exercising since she thought she’d never wear a bikini on account of her stretch marks, Kieser shared worries that might sound familiar. But she said that after overhearing her husband talk about how beautiful he thought stretch marks were, her thinking began to change.
“One day I overheard my loving husband explaining to a bunch of his friends why he thought stretch marks were beautiful. They were a sign of being a woman. They are a result of the great love a mother has, that she would scar her own body to bring a child to life... on and on he explained and the more he talked, the more I got it. I had hated myself for the very reasons he loved me. My body wasn’t ruined or disgusting, it had transformed ... into a selfless mother’s body and the scars were a symbol of that transition. A daily reminder that I was a mother. I looked at my stretch marks and I felt pride. I felt love. The love of my husband and the love of my children. Each one of them had been nurtured and lived behind those scars for 9 months.”
Kieser wrote that once she changed her mindset, she became inspired to lead a healthier lifestyle. But her message ― that we are perfect the way we are ― can be applied to anyone’s journey toward acceptance, whether we struggle with stretch marks or anything else about our own, unique bodies.
“Stretch marks or no stretch marks... it doesn’t fucking matter,” she wrote. “You’re perfect. Your kids love you. You should love you. Stop beating yourself up and start loving yourself. For the magic that is a mother’s body is what you have.”