Everything Pregnancy

Mom-of-6 Will Totally Change Your Perspective on Having Stretch Marks After Baby

One mom shares how she turned her disgust about her body into pride, and she wants to share her body-positive message with other mamas.

A mom-of-six has taken to social media to spread a body-positive message we could all use this bikini season!

Sharny Kieser's Instagram post bravely features a photo of her in a two-piece bathing suit, stretch marks and all.

"I used to not see the point in exercise because my body was covered in stretch marks," Kieser writes in the post, which is quickly gaining attention online. She goes on to say that she would always decline invitations to the beach or a pool party because she felt ashamed of her stretch-mark-covered physique.

I used to not see the point in exercise because my body was covered in stretch marks. 'what's the point in having a great body if I will never wear a bikini' I'd think. If I was ever invited to the beach or a pool party, I'd always decline. On the odd occasion I couldn't avoid it, I'd stay inside, helping with the food or the cleaning. I would only wear board shorts and t-shirts. I wished so hard that I could one day wear a bikini. Then 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 from a selfish girls body into a selfless mothers 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. I felt pride. I felt love. I felt love for myself. The craziest thing was that when I started to love myself for what I had now, the body I had now, I began to treat myself better. I WANTED to eat healthy. I WANTED to exercise, I WANTED to do the things I loved. Just by changing the way I looked at myself with love and pride instead of hate, I had found the effortless motivation to care for my body. Because of this tiny little shift in mindset, magic happened... I got the body I had always dreamed of. The bikini body that I thought was not ever going to be possible for me after being covered in stretch marks, It has became a reality for me. It started though, with me loving myself first. Being grateful for what I had, not wishing for something better. 👉[see comments for more]👈

A post shared by Sharny and Julius (@sharnyandjulius) on

"Then one day I overheard my loving husband explaining to a bunch of his friends why he thought stretch marks were beautiful," Kieser writes. "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."

Her husband's words were a turning point for this mom, who explains how her thought process about her body was suddenly flipped on its head: "My body wasn't ruined or disgusting, it had transformed from a selfish girl's body into a selfless mother's body and the scars were a symbol of that transition."

Sharny Kieser bikini stretchmarks Courtesy Sharny Kieser

This is when Kieser began to see her stretch marks with pride, and as a daily reminder that she was a mom. She began to love herself for who she was, and embrace her hard-earned mom bod.

"Just by changing the way I looked at myself with love and pride instead of hate, I had found the effortless motivation to care for my body," Kieser ends her post by writing, adding, "I want all mums to realise how perfect their bodies are. Stretch marks or no stretch marks, IVF or no IVF, vaginal or C section. Breastfeed or bottle feed... You're perfect. Your kids love you. You should love you."

Sharny Kieser stretchmarks in a bikini Courtesy Sharny Kieser

"I think a mom can still have the perfect body," Kieser told Parents.com. "Stretchmarks don't change that. Stretchmarks are something we can't change. So it's important to embrace them. Be proud of the story they tell. So many people have them! By embracing them, being proud of them, showing them off, they become normal and society sees them as no different. It gets tiring being embarrassed and stressing about them. It is so freeing to just embrace them and love them!"

As a soon-to-be mom-of-four, I'll admit that it hasn't always been easy embracing my body after babies. My biggest issue is the pooch of skin on my belly that won't go away no matter how much I exercise. Sometimes I find myself wishing I had the flat tummy I took for granted from my pre-kid years. But then, I wouldn't have my kids, would I? Hmmm...

I love Kieser's take on her body post-kids, and hope I can embrace some of her positive mindset as I continue on my journey toward body acceptance after the birth of our fourth child. Who knows; maybe I'll even have the courage to wear a bikini next summer!

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook and Instagram where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.