The Post Partum Baby Bump: The Truth Revealed with Pictures

The Post Partum Baby Bump: The Truth Revealed with Pictures

I recently posted this picture and poem that beautifully put the shame of stretch marks into a different perspective. I also wrote this post about the unique shape of a woman’s body and also recently blogged about the beauty of a pregnant women. We are women, we are amazing, beautiful, strong and create miracles!

Yet, we are incredibly hard on ourselves.

Many women express concerns about their bodies and the changes they go through when pregnant. There is fear, shame and wonder of the unknown. Our post partum bodies are unique as our pre-pregnancy bodies. It will vary woman to woman. The shape you are pre-pregnancy, how much you grew during your pregnancy and how your body responds post partum. It can take time. You grew a baby 9-10 months, most women will not look the way they did pre-pregnancy over night (some do though).

Here’s the thing. During your pregnancy and post partum…take care of you. Eat healthy, laugh, go on walks when you are able to again, enjoy time with friends, get out of the house. Love life and love yourself.

So, to know what you may expect and that you are not alone, I unveil Post Partum Baby Bumps!

Racing Stripes, 4 children
PP after twins

19 months PP, 3 kids, short body
10 months PP, first child
10 months PP, 4th child
8 days post partum
5.5 months PP, 2nd child
Learning to love her PP body
10 months PP, after 2nd child
One week post partum

“It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now…with its aches and its pleasures…is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” -Pema Chodron

72 thoughts on “The Post Partum Baby Bump: The Truth Revealed with Pictures

  1. Postpardum bodies are beautiful! It took me a long time to love mine, but I wouldn’t trade my stretch marks and flab πŸ˜‰ for anything!

  2. What a great blog as always. This something I have struggled with horribly. With my first, I lost all the weight in 10 days. With my 2nd, it took longer, but I went down 15 lbs LESS than where I had started. With my 3rd and 4th, forget it. It’s the only years I’ve been near 200 lbs. πŸ™ Now I have to take Zoloft and I’ve put the 20 lbs back on in 10 weeks I had already lost PP. I have stretch marks on my breasts, my stomach, my hips and my upper legs. I think that’s the hardest part because to me, I always figured if any part of me was affected it would ONLY be my stomach. Surprise! I always thought I was the only one until my neighbor, who is TINY, kept refusing to go swimming with us and finally admitted it’s because she doens’t like how she looks because of stretch marks!! At this point I am working to come to grips with the fact that even once I lose the weight once and for all, I will always have the stretch marks and I need to be okay with that. At least I got beautiful gifts from the packaging. πŸ™‚

    1. thank you for sharing–I just breathed a sigh of relief knowing I am not alone-3rd baby is almost 9 months and my body looks and feels like a 200 year old jet puff marshmallow–poofy and riddled with stretch marks – I am not happy about it but would not change one poof or stretch mark if it meant not having my sweet babies!!

      1. LOL thanks for that description, just made my afternoon sooo much better πŸ™‚ And in NO WAY am I laughing AT you, just the wonderful description you gave.

  3. I love this! My body has been so uniquely crafted to be different after each child i’ve birthed. I struggled with an eating disorder for a long timefore getting pregnant with my first and accepting my body and its changes were a huge “i’ve survived!” Moment for me.

    1. I also struggled with eating disorders before getting pregnant with my first. I had such a hard time when I was pregnant the first time. Now I love my body- I don’t exactly hit the pool in public, but for me, I feel as if I’ve earned my stripes so to speak. Childbirth is powerful. Motherhood is wonderful. Being proud of who I am, and what I have been through and accomplished makes me FANTASTIC!!!! Love to all the proud mama’s!

  4. I like my stretch marks πŸ™‚ I had them on my boobs and hips and thighs before getting pregnant with my ODS, and I’m kind of hoping I don’t add to the bunch this time (I have plenty, thanks LOL), but I do like them! You just won’t see me in a two-piece suit ever again πŸ™‚

  5. What a wonderful blog post this is! It is very hard for some women to deal with their postpartum bodies, myself included! I have not dropped the weight from my 5th born 8 months ago. I have never been this heavy in my life, not even at the end of a pregnancy. Thank you for this post, these pictures and this awesome blog you have!

  6. the “10 months pp, first child” looks like my tummy! πŸ™‚ I didn’t get any stretch marks with #2 and at the time I thought that was pretty cool! πŸ™‚ Surprising, but I loved showing other women my 8-9 month belly and exclaiming the wonder of it (I gained less weight with #2 and that could’ve been why). But now, 10 months pp myself, I like showing #1 the marks he gave me, but I have nothing to show #2 in that regard. When I realized that, I felt a tiny bit sad. I had some dots at the very end, but can’t find those now. It does make me wonder how a #3 will further change me, when the time comes. Thank you for this post.

  7. I love this! I think my postpartum body was the one thing no one seemed to talk about while I was pregnant. I was unprepared for what it would look and feel like- wearing maternity jeans for many weeks afterward was not on my radar. Thanks bwf for all of your work. You rock!

  8. Although I would never change my daughter for anything in the world, I can def live without the stretch marks. I try to embrace them because I know what they stand for and the journey my body went through during pregnancy, but I just can’t.

  9. Love this – let me know if you do one of cesarean scars, I’ll send you mine (6 babies, 1 cesarean, 3VBACs.) πŸ™‚ I love when moms can see how diverse and beautiful our bodies are.

      1. I like this idea too. I have tons of stretch marks and a funky saggy belly almost 2 years pp now and I had a c-section. It has been hard to deal with and for some reason I think revealing it to the world would somehow empower me to deal with it.

        1. ^^I totally agree. I find it so hard to accept the fact I had to have a C section and the scar is a constant reminder. I think seeing other peoples and sharing mine would help come to terms with it <3

        2. I am 26 mos pp and still have about 50 lbs to lose. This is the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. My ppd was very severe and there will be no more babies for me. I am very proud of my stretch marks and it’s funny because I didn’t have a single mark my entire pregnancy until she was 9 days “late”. It was during those last few days I got them on my lower belly and upper thighs. I’m still struggling with my weight and blush crimson when strangers ask me when I’m due. Thank you so much for this post because my belly resembles one of the pics. I feel a little better about myself after seeing and reading this post. Love the idea of posting c section scars! I am hoping to lose this weight (right now my belly hangs over my scar) and tattoo my daughters name over the scar. Not to cover it up, but to bring attention to it because I am proud of it πŸ™‚

        3. Molly: thank goodness everyone keeps putting under 1 yr from their child being born and My daughter just turned 25months old today she is my first child but I too have had a lot of stretchmarks and the lovely saggy belly. (I also had a c-section) with her. Sadly Mine looks between the 10 months PP, 4th child pic and the 10 months PP, first child pic…. I will admit I weighed 180 when I first found out I was pregnant then the day before I went into labor I was 256 yes thats right I gained 76lbs sadly but I now weigh 215 which is a 41lb loss butttt I still have a way to go.. If any of you gals have any ideas Let me know πŸ™‚ Just thought I would share.

  10. What a great post! I have given this little thought because I already have stretch marks from rapid weight gain after hitting puberty (and having my thyroid go funky although it took 13 years to figure that out) so I’m not too worried about a few more at this point. I /am/ going to share this with my mother in law tho because after 14 (yes 14!) children, she doesn’t love her body’s shape and I think this might help.

  11. I think you need to really point out that sometimes women won’t ever get their post-partum body back. Sometimes the most important thing is to let yourself grieve and let go. It is a loss. It is legitimate to feel sad about your new body. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being “too hard on yourself.” No, you are recognizing a change and maybe you don’t like that change and that’s okay. I think that for me when I was finally able to grieve the loss of my pre-pregnancy body I finally was on my road to emotional healing. Without surgery my breasts won’t look anything like they did before pregnancy and breastfeeding. Even with surgery, my tummy will still have deep stretch marks and scars. So, the best thing to do is grieve so you can finally accept things. I don’t like this mantra of “Be happy about how beautiful your body is now because you had a baby.” Some women do not feel that their bodies are beautiful after children and it’s wrong to expect them to feel that way. Instead, encourage them to be honest about their feelings so they can own them and deal with them. In life, not everything is fair–sometimes things we don’t like happen to us–sometimes things are out of our control–but we still need to be honest about how we feel and where those feelings come from.

    1. Some women might not think they are beautiful, but it doesn’t change the fact that they ARE. Yes, we need to accept ourselves and grieve, but it’s also crucial to LOVE ourselves and that is incredibly hard when you are so caught up in thinking you are ugly. I know not every mom loves their body, but learning to love it, or learning to at the very least *appreciate* it a worthy goal. That starts with accepting it, and once you get there you need to move on to finding things to love about it.

  12. Oh….and to add…even bodies that aren’t “beautiful” are still lovable. Because humans have worth that goes beyond appearance. I don’t consider my body beautiful but it’s still worthy of love and respect.

    1. that is an amazing quote, thank you. my stretch marks from my 1st arent beautiful but what they represent is so fantastically loveable

  13. Beautiful! each and everyone! if your doing one on c-section scars ill send in a photo! 3 c-sections and planning a home birth πŸ™‚

    1. Me’Lisa, when are you due? I’d love to hear about this! Like you’re plans and who your care provider is. A midwife ?(or are you doing UC?). I have had 4 c-sections and am trying hard to find someone that is daring enough to do what I am praying to do! (Meaning standing up for yourself and taking charge of your birth! I, currently, have ZERO support from anyone I know when it comes to a homebirth. I have 2 people in my life (and my husband isn’t one of them :() that are accepting of the fact I would like a VBAC next time. I am not pregnant yet, but planning on having one more baby, and I am getting myself mentally ready now.

  14. I’ve come to love my stretch marks. Dont be mistaken, I don’t have just a few. They’re big, they’re numerous, and they’re everywhere! My thighs look like the rippled sands of the desert, my belly is layered three deep in stretch marks, and my breasts look like latex balloons from last months birthday party. When I get up in the morning and I look at myself in the mirror every battle scar reminds me of the power of a womans body, the journey of nursing babies into toddlerhood, and of a love that will never fade. For as my babies grow, they rely on me less. And some day they will leave my home, but they will always be with my, carried on my body in stretch marks three deep.

  15. I have a hard time from day to day to learn to love myself. My partner reminds me why they are there. I have two beautiful healthly twin baby girls who were not suppose to make it to this world. They had less than a 40% chance to live. The Doctors were telling me that chances did not look good. We were told that the kind of pregnancy we had effected less than 1% of twining. The kind of twining is called monoamniotic. We were also told that we had no choice that the only way to have them would be through a c-section which in it’s own is a scary thought. We found amazing doctors who were more than happy to deliver. Now the girls are three and I couldn’t have asked for more in my life. However I still suffer from the way my body looks, even after three years. My Aunt told me they were badges for saving two beautiful lives. Just like a cop wears theres or a fireman. We are women and this is what we get to wear for the protection and the saftey of our childern. Some days I am fine with that thought. Others I would like to be that supermodel you see on TV, but I am reminded by my partner that the scars in there self are beautiful because of our kids. As the saying goes “REAL WOMAN HAVE STRECH MARKS!” and I am learning to wear them proud!!!!!! Even though it looks like someone took a hacksaw and chopped me on my hips and thighs, but because my kids are here and healthy it was totally worth it! And this maybe the first time I have ever admitted that to myself. πŸ™‚

  16. i love my pp body more than pre-preggo. pre-preg, i was way too hard on myself. i looked at my body under a microscope. now, pp, my daughter is almost 14 months, and i still have some baby weight, belly fat, stretch marks, thighs, etc, but i look in the mirror and i see a goddess! my body has been through the amazing process of creating life, and i can never again look at myself with anything but total love! it also allowed me to become much more comfortable with my partner, who was already crazy about me…but i was so busy hating my body i couldn’t accept the love he had to give me. now, i’m more than willing to accept his love. and like he says “i would NEVER look at you with anything but love and respect, especially for having birthed our beautiful girl”

  17. Thank you for this. I’m on my second child & I had barely noticeable stretchmarks after having my daughter. My bf says they don’t count bcuz he can’t see them. I’ve been sooo worried about my belly after this baby, but he keeps me feeling good. He says stretchmarks are part of being a mother & that is beautiful <3

  18. To Ashley who complained of a lack of diversity in the pictures. I’m in there somewhere and I’m Hispanic. I’m the darker picture labeled 8 days post partum w/2 tattooes. My darker skin I have heard, hides stretch marks better but I wonder if my dark line down the middle (linea Negra) will ever disappear. It got very prominent after this pregnancy. This is my second pregnancy.

  19. I love this post. I love the real bellies. My only thing to add is to NOT be content with a belly that is injured with diastasis. It is normal for the abs to split apart during birth, but crunches and planks can make IT worse, thereby making your belly WORSE and bigger and more deflated, not flatter and stronger. Yes, accept your mama body. Yes, love the baby that made it that way. Yes, be proud of your extra curves and racing stripes. But NO, don’t accept a diastasis because they can be healed very quickly with good programs like The Tupler Technique or The MuTu System. I don’t sell those, but I rave about them on my site. If you click on my link, it will take you to a free video you can watch that shows you how to check yourself for diastasis.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m no where near loving my body after having my two kids. When I look in the mirror, it hard for me to except the wear and tear I see. I see a wrinkly, sagging belly and my breast, who after breastfeeding both my kids, have seen better days. But that doesn’t mean I’m not in awe of my body. I conceived, carried and delivered two beautiful healthy babies. And my breast made the nutrition they needed to grow. My body and I are in a rough patch but I’m working on trying to get our relationship back to a health place. I know I’ll get there…

  21. Thank you for this. I have stretch marks and I am not really bothered by it. Its just there for me. Maybe coz I had my eldest child at 18 that my whole adult body I have stretch marks. I savor it when my 3rd daughter says I am so soft and so mommy like. My 2 older children said something like that too but its only now that I appreciate it this much πŸ˜€

  22. Awww. I love postpartum bellies! Just knowing that babies grew there should make us all smile whenever we see someone’s postpartum belly. What an amazing piece of natural equipment!

  23. I have four children. 4 months after my first, I weighed 10 pounds less than I did before pregnancy. 5 months after my second, I weighed 15 pounds less than I did before I ever had a child. 3 months after my third, I weighed in at 5 pounds less than after my 2nd. My fourth child had me down to 30 pounds lighter than before I was ever pregnant.

    Five years later? I’ve gained every bit of that back, and then some. At 18 years old, I weighed 175 pounds. I am nearly 32, now, and I weigh 190 pounds. At 6 feet tall, I’m still slender; but I will never fit into my size 10 pants again… and I’m ok with that.

    My body is covered in the marks of my motherhood. All of the pain, all of the joys, all of the exciting moments have left their individual notch upon my skin. My hips are wide. My breasts hang much lower than they did 13 years ago, and they have fed more than just my four children. My butt jiggles when I walk. My thighs are strong, but covered in a layer of fat which occasionally looks like dimpled cheese. I am pale because I spend most of my time indoors with my family. My hair is full of split ends because I spend more time with my children than in the bathroom.

    These marks do not make me ugly. They are my trophies. They are my rewards. They are the signposts of my version of motherhood. And they are beautiful.

  24. I am nearly 9 months PP and when I was pregnant, I rarely used cocoa butter on my belly because I wasn’t ashamed of stretch marks. I thought, why would I want to HIDE the fact that I had a beautiful child and my body was incredible enough to carry and birth him? The stretch marks show just how amazing being a woman is! My husband still thinks I’m deliciously sexy even with the chub chub and stripes!

  25. thanks for wonderful post. i was completely unprepared for what i would look like post-partum. i guess i sort of expected to look like i did before within a week or two. but it’s nothing like that. i’m so big, i look like i’m 7 months pregnant. i have no idea how to dress, as i’ve always been skinny and now weigh 35lbs more than i ever have. it’s so difficult to love my body regardless. i do keep reminding myself that it just made the most wonderful baby anyone could hope for. but yea, i’m having a hard time not hating myself when i look in the mirror.

  26. Thank you, now I realize that Im not the only one with stretch marks, they are a badge of honor!!

  27. These are fantastic! I might submit mine since its much worse than any of these combined! Im 5’2″ and got up to 227lbs when I was pregnant with an almost 10lb baby and thus far have lost 42lbs, so my tummy has done a lot of suffering and it shows. Not to mention the huge scar down the middle from appendicitis at age six! Wondering how I can get it even a little bit back to normal?

  28. I was always so worried about the way my body looked after my second child. even wondering what my boyfriend thought. He actually says I look beautiful no matter what. But after seeing these pictures of how every bodies tummies are different, it made me see myself differently and just making me more comfortable with my stomach after my second baby. I just want to say thanks πŸ™‚

  29. Thank you for this post. I needed to read this and begin the journey of accepting me as God made me. My second child is now 2 years old, and I still have difficulty accepting my body (then again, I kind of always have), and it’s not drastically different than it was before children. I jog between 3 and 5 miles 5 days a week and am training for a half-marathon. I do my best to eat healthy. Our bodies ARE beautiful, especially without the luxury of plastic surgery, trainers, and Photoshopped images. Thank you!!

  30. Great post and so lovely to see so many ‘real’ mummies.

    The best way to describe my twin skin is an A-Z map of London printed on crepe paper and sadly my belly button no longer resembles it’s former self. During pregnancy, I feared twin skin but when I look at my belly then at my two beautiful boys it all seems worth it and I’m learning to live with it. As for the stretch marks, I think I’ve earned every one of those strips for carrying my Twinkles for as long as I did.

    I recently wrote a post about my twin skin with photos included ( I hope you don’t mind me linking.

  31. Thank you! There is a circulation of an idea that we are supposed to be back at our pre-preg body within 6 months… As if no one gets stretch marks! And the beauty industry makes it out like it’s our fault, because we didn’t use their products or do enough yoga or maintain a low weight-gain. Even knowing this, I still have bought into it. I finally wore a bikini at the beach for the first time since I had my child. It only took 4 years PP!

  32. I just loved every bit of this blog.

    I hate looking at myself in the mirror – the stretch marks are fine for me and i started having them 8 months into my first pregnancy. i know they will never fade away and I will never go back to weighing 52 kgs ever again. My son, Noah, is already 9 months now but this belly that keeps overflowing out of me is just sad πŸ™ It’s as if everything I wear is suddenly ugly.

    I love my son and I love being a mom and everything related to it but seriously no one said anything about this horrible feelings that the flappy belly brings πŸ™

  33. So refreshing to see some real mama bellies. While it’s within reason that those of us whose bellies won’t ever be bikini-ready to not show them off, it can be discouraging when the only other bellies a mama in this position sees are those lucky few who don’t have the crazy tiger stripe stretch marks and wrinkly skin.

  34. my sister had a baby 28 months ago and she even look slimmer now and fitter too. Must be because having a child is like going to the gym every day.My sister is even to skinny now, with a totally flat stomach.

  35. My pp belly looks like some of the featured photos. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and feel sad. I’m glad there are other women out there who also have the same pp belly as me. Thanks for posting.

  36. I love this. As a mom who lost twins at 22.5 weeks and had to deal with a pp body but no children, I now have gone on to have two boys and a set of twin girls. My body had endured, to get them here, and I will never be more thankful for what I was able to accomplish because of my strength as a woman.

  37. Thank you so much for posting! I am currently pregnant with my second child. And I no how I looked at felt with my first. I fear how my body is changing already. Im 18 weeks and already gained 19 pounds. I am only concerned with me having a healthy baby. I try to eat the best I can, but veggies just doesn’t seem to fill me up. So I feel like I am ALWAYS eating!…But I believe a mothers body is beautiful. We go threw a lot to bring them lil fellas here!

  38. I love this post. I am 6 weeks postpartum from my 2nd child, but my son passed away the day he was born. Looking in the mirror somedays is an awful reminder but I keep telling myself to be gentle with myself. It takes time to heal, mentally and physically.

  39. My body made it through pregnancy and birth with minimal wounds. 10 months postpartum and I am stretch-mark free, with just a very small belly remaining.

    BUT – my mind? My heart? My soul? All wounded, carrying traumas and scars. Trauma from postpartum depression that I never thought would hit me. (Me? A Doctor? I should know better!) Trauma from the guilt that is spread thick on every mother. (What if I’m doing something wrong?) Trauma from months rather than weeks of β€œcolic” that turned out to not be colic.

    Childbearing has ruined me. But perhaps for the better.

  40. I’m 18m PP after #4. I have earned every stretch mark and “extra” ounce of my body. Would I like to have a flatter tummy, sure. And I could live with my tummy not looking like a road map. But my 4 girls are worth all of it and so much more. Its take 10 years of mommyhood to be ok with my body. If only I knew then what I know now

  41. THANK YOU!! Is there anything more meaningful we do with our bodies in this life than “sacrifice” them…or at least put a few battle scars on them…for the sake of another?

  42. I wish I could learn to love my body but it’s too tough… I’m too critical of myself. I’m so thankful I’ve carried 3, and now my 4th baby boy(s). I never imagined that I could be unhappy with my body… I would never take back having children and being “Mom,” but I just wish I could learn to accept my body/looks.

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