As mothers are probably hyper-aware, pregnancy and childbirth tend to have lingering effects on a woman's body. Whether this comes in the form of stretch marks, wider hips, extra weight, hemorrhoids, or a C-section scar, there is often lasting proof that we grew a human being inside of us. To some, these "battle scars" might be viewed as imperfections — a nuisance. For others, they serve as a reminder that our bodies once created life. Love 'em or hate 'em (or both, depending on the day) I'm willing to bet how this mom answered her son's questions about her stretch marks will inspire you.
Hayley Garnett is a mom of three — a 3-year-old son, Archer, and twin newborn daughters, Ruby and Ramona — and a photographer from Columbia, Missouri. Just one week after the birth of her twin girls, Garnett took to Instagram to share a powerful exchange she had with her son. "Happy one week birthday, ladies!" she wrote on Nov. 9, alongside a photo of the precious babies and her bare, postpartum belly. She continued:
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.
Empowering AF, right?
It turns out, Garnett was in the process of pumping breast milk for the twins at the time her son asked about his mama's stretch marks. "We had a movie on, but he saw that my robe was open and immediately his eyes zeroed in on the stretch marks," she told Romper, adding:
He got quiet after asking about them and really thought about it when I told him what they were from. When my son is so observant like that I’m always sort of in awe of him because he really will take the time to stop what he’s doing and just think about what I’ve said. Makes me wonder what he will say about them the next time he sees them!
Being open about her changing body throughout her pregnancy with her twins was something Garnett had done consistently. In fact, this mom posted a weekly (and then daily in the final week) countdown to meeting her twin girls — with her bare belly on full display. "I honestly shared those photos without even thinking about my marks looking all that intense or strange until someone pointed it out," she told Romper. "Which in turn made me want to share even more and even bring attention to them — to try to normalize them!"
Judging by the nearly 11,000 likes the post has received on Instagram so far, I'd say plenty of people are loving Garnett's raw photos and refreshing honesty. "I share a lot of personal feelings through my Instagram page because I really believe that showing your vulnerability is not only a healing process, but also has the ability to really connect you with an individual and/or community in a way you may not have thought possible!" Garnett told Romper.
I love this fierce mama! Although I haven't experienced a twin pregnancy, I do have a few stretch marks around my belly button thanks to my three singletons. I'm pretty sure both my 6-year-old and 3-year-old have ran their fingers over the marks, asking why I had them. Except, my response was a little more technical; I explained that sometimes, a mommy's skin on her belly stretches so far that it leaves permanent lines. Which is true, even if it's infinitely less empowering than Garnett's response. And it also explains why I don't have 53,000 followers in Instagram.
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