"Swimsuit Season" is upon us, and, like many, I'm already groaning.
Despite constantly telling myself that every body is beach body ready, I can't help but feel self-conscious whenever I see a photo of a woman in a bikini. Or when I see a rack of swimsuits. Or a picture of the ocean. You get the idea.
So I can't begin to imagine just how I'd feel about my "beach body" four days after having a Caesarean section, like Mel Watts, an Australian blogger who recently posted a photo comparing her pre- and post-childbirth bod to Instagram.
Watts wrote: "Honestly it's no castle or bloody piece of art. Sure it's filled with stretch marks and dimples. But this body... gave me another life. Another small human to love and to hold... So many times I've doubted my body, so many times I've pinched and pulled at sections that I didn't like. In reality, this body has done everything I'd ever want it to do.
"Sure it's not magazine or swimsuit worthy to some. But to me and my husband, it's the place that grew our babies. It's the place that everything we love most started. And that's all that counts right?! We feel as though we need to follow society's stigma on what we should look like when in fact we should just do what we feel works for us."
The post has since received over 6,500 likes on Instagram and has been shared with people all over the world. The huge response and the thousands of comments inspired Watts to share another photo the next day.
"As the shares reached new people the comments grew wider and further," Watts wrote. "Some referring to it as a real post baby body, some referring to it as revolting. Which is totally okay. However, I think you should be aware that I didn't use the word "real" in any of my post. I think all women's bodies are real...Just because we all look different doesn't mean none of us aren't real or unrealistic. Some women bounce back, some don't."
She ended her post with a call to action, encouraging women to "embrace each other" and to focus on empowering one another rather than tearing each other down.
Now, that's a message we can get behind.