Mom and photographer Hayley Garnett took to Instagram to share how she felt when her son asked about the stretch marks on her stomach.
Kids really do say the darndest things sometimes. Their knack for inquiring about or pointing out details that adults wouldn't dare mention is mostly endearing and, well, sometimes cringe-y. For Garnett, her son's question about the stretch marks on her belly certainly caught her off-guard, but also presented an opportunity for her to teach him an important, body positive lesson. The mom and photographer from Columbia, Missouri took to Instagram on Thursday, November 9 to share exactly what happened, and her post has already racked up 9,926 likes and countless supportive comments.
"Happy one week birthday, ladies!" Garnett wrote alongside the shot of herself with her newborn twin daughters. "This morning Archer asked me what’s wrong with my belly and I told him that all of my babies leave marks on my belly so that I never forget for a second that I grew them in my body all on my own and that they exist earthside with me now! A forever reminder, whether I’m truly confident having these marks or not, it’s no doubt a testament to the miracles my body has made."
Happy one week birthday, ladies ! This morning Archer asked me what’s wrong with my belly and I told him that all of my babies leave marks on my belly so that I never forget for a second that I grew them in my body all on my own and that they exist earthside with me now! A forever reminder, whether I’m truly confident having these marks or not, it’s no doubt a testament to the miracles my body has made ❤️. . . . . . . #gotd_1695 #neutrals2_nio
Garnett shares with Parents.com that she definitely found it a bit curious that her toddler zeroed in on her postpartum stomach. "When Archer asked me about my stomach the first thing I thought was, 'Wow, how does a three-and-a-half year-old already know notice something like that -- or the fact that my stomach looks sort of strange?' And when I told him that the marks were there to forever remind me of him and his sisters existence, he was definitely thoughtful. He’s a real thinker and generally doesn’t speak when he’s really taking something in. He asked if he could touch it, and I said, 'Sure, it feels kind of cool doesn’t it?'"
Sharing photos of her belly isn't exactly new for Garnett. She posted a countdown to greeting her twins, going bare bump in most of the images. That experience only served to strengthen her resolve to be open about her changing body. "Seeing the positive and negative reactions to how my stomach looked only further encouraged me to share more," Garnett tells Parents.com. "The support and encouragement that other moms have shown is overwhelming. The negative comments -- like 'eww, I hope I never have twins' -- didn’t even really faze me; it was more just sad. I didn’t want to be afraid to show my stretch marks, my oddly-colored, oddly-shaped bump."
For Garnett, shots of her pregnant and now postpartum stomach are in line with a personal goal. "I’ve always tried to show my vulnerability as a mom, woman, even human, over the years," she notes. "I have found that doing so gains you support [and reminds you that] you are more than a mark or a number on a scale. It also helps you form true human connections with others who may be feeling the same but don’t feel comfortable publicly sharing or asking for support."
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Props to this beautiful mom for her powerful message and contributing to an important ongoing coversation.