Parents

Professional Runner Shares Honest Post-Baby Body Photos To Empower Other Mamas

Her stretch marks are "here to stay."
03/23/2016 01:45pm ET

When it comes to postpartum body image, mom and professional runner Stephanie Rothstein Bruce does not shy away from sharing her reality.

The athlete frequently posts raw Instagram photos of her abdomen -- stretch marks, sagging skin and all -- along with empowering captions.

In one viral photo, she writes in the caption, "When I look down I see stretch marks that are here to stay, ab muscles that need continued strengthening, legs that are powerful, and feet that are ready to fly!"

Bruce and her husband and fellow runner Ben are parents to two sons, ages 6 months and 21 months. Though she took a break from competing in races to have her babies, the mom is currently training to qualify for the upcoming Olympics in Brazil.

Getting back into shape after pregnancy was challenging for Bruce, who experienced diastasis recti, aka abdominal separation.

As she told SELF, “Going through pregnancy and childbirth was very humbling and I felt that not many women … shared the real and raw part of it." She added, "I can run 5:20 pace for a half marathon, but I still pee my pants, have diatstisis recti, stretch marks, and other postpartum issues."

Ultimately, Bruce hopes her Instagram posts can encourage other mothers struggling with postpartum body image issues.

"Whether you're 105 pounds or 200 pounds, I encourage women to not be afraid of flaunting whatever body you have," she told Today, adding, "I don't think I'm this super inspirational person. I just keep it real and I want to share with women that they're not alone."

Keep scrolling and visit Bruce's Instagram to see more postpartum photos.

H/T Self

Postpartum Body Project