Sharny Kieser — mother, diet coach, and fitness enthusiast — used to loathe her stretch marks, until she learned to love them. And it took a little nudging, Kieser admitted recently. In fact, she said, it took overhearing her husband talking about her stretch marks with his friends, explaining the role they played in making her the woman he loved and why he thought they were beautiful, for her to re-examine her attitude towards her own postpartum body. After that experience, the fit mom used Instagram to document her stretch marks, to share her experience, and to encourage other moms to love their bodies exactly as they are.
Her husband saw the marks for what they are, after all. "They were a sign of being a woman," she quoted him as saying. "They are the result of the great love that a mother has, that she would scar her own body to bring a child to life...."
Before this revelation, Kieser, 36, worried that she would never again be comfortable in a bikini after giving birth to her children. She wanted to hide her stretch marks. In the caption of an Instagram photo, which featured the mom wearing a bathing suit, stretch marks proudly on display, she wrote,
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 food or cleaning.
Her attitude towards post-baby bikinis has changed dramatically since her days of hiding in the kitchen. In fact, the Australian fitness coach now recommends that new moms "have a bikini photo shoot to boost their self-esteem."
After embracing the changes in her body, Kieser was inspired to become healthier and spend more time taking care of herself. She dedicated her life to her new body-positive mentality, making healthy choices a priority. In her post, she added,
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.
Kieser has since gone on to create the Fit, Happy, Healthy Mum diet and fitness plan to help other moms achieve her level of confidence. “I want all moms around the world to be proud of themselves and love themselves,” she said.
If that's not momspiration, then what is?