Though many of us anticipate some significant body changes during and after pregnancy, knowing what will come doesn't always mean that you'll be prepared for such dramatic changes.
In an honest, encouraging post on Instagram, mother-of-two Alexandra Kilmurray opened up about struggling to come to terms with her postpartum body and how she came to love her body again. On Friday, Kilmurray posted a photo of her stomach and the stretch marks she gained during pregnancy, calling it "the dark sides of motherhood and pregnancy."
Kilmurray acknowledges that it's a raw, honest photo, writing that it took her 18 months "to not cry when I look in the mirror, 18 months to finally feel beautiful in my own skin again."
"No one warns you about the dark sides of motherhood and pregnancy," she wrote. "No one gives you a heads up on how much you change physically and mentally after you become a mother."
Kilmurray also explained that it took a lot of time for her to "finally see the light" that having stretch marks doesn't make her any less beautiful. She wants to share her experience with other moms who may feel alone in their struggles.
"Cheers to you mamas who are battling postpartum depression and still getting up everyday for your children," she wrote. "Cheers to you mamas who still cry about the marks on your skin from birthing your perfect babies. Cheers to motherhood, cheers to knowing that this too shall pass! And things will get better."
Kilmurray told Huffington Post that she opened up about her experiences to shine a light on the things we don't discuss when it comes to pregnancy.
“I wish that I would have known that there is more than just feeling in love when you have your baby, there are a lot of other feelings when you enter motherhood,” she told HuffPo. “When I had my babies I felt so guilty for feeling other feelings besides love. I wish I would have known that all the feelings I was feeling were valid, they were okay!”
Kilmurray's post is an honest look at all the complicated emotions that can come with pregnancy, and her ability to be so vulnerable is truly admirable. After all, stretch marks are a fact of life (even Chrissy Teigen gets them) and they're nothing to be ashamed of.
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