The pressure for women to "get their bodies" back postpartum comes from all corners of popular culture, and even the most body positive women can't be blamed for judging themselves in their mirror now and again. Which is exactly why this mom's powerful postpartum message about her "jelly abs" has touched so many people. Janene Crossley, who blogs over at Hello Ivory Rose, is the mother of four children: a 5-year-old girl, 4-year-old fraternal twins, and a 4-month-old baby.
Crossley and the girls settled into bed one day to cuddle up and take some selfies — in the photo, Crossley and her youngest are both wearing shirts that say, "strong is the new pretty," so the girl power was strong. In the picture, her 5-year-old is grabbing her mom's stomach. Crossley wrote, "When your 5 year old sees your postpartum stomach and gives it a big ol' tummy twister while laughing hysterically and hollering "IT FEELS LIKE BUBBLE GUM!!!", you post that ridiculous, unflattering open-mouth pic instead of the "prettier" one."
Crossley's next point was an empowering one. She added:
I'm feeling 100% proud of this postpartum body, with its jelly abs and shriveled up skin. It made me a mother. A mother who now has cellulite because that's just how my body handled pregnancy. This was my road to Motherhood. Paved with miserable pregnancies and yet a lifetime of unconditional pure love for these 4 little ones.
Being able to get real about sometimes hating being pregnant and loving your body afterwards is a huge big deal. But it's not just about loving her body for what it is. When you're a mom, it's also about sending the right attitude to your little ones, too. She wrote in her post to her daughter, "Oh, sweet girl... I hope you always feel confident in the skin you're in."
Crossley told HuffPost that after a "rough" pregnancy with her twins, she used to worry about her body returning to normal. But just like any body can be a bikini body if it's in a two piece, the "perfect postpartum body" is whatever body you're in.
Crossley also wants to remind any new mom out there hating on her bod at this very moment to not listen to the mean little voices in her head. "Your body is absolutely perfect and amazing because it created and grew your precious little one," she wrote. "Refuse to bully the body that made you a mom.”
Her post has been liked almost 80,000 times so it's nice to see that her message is resonating with people. Being a parent isn't simple — there's no reason to let body-shamers make it even more difficult, least of all the one that lives inside your own head.