On the heels of Kendrick Lamar’s ode to stretch marks, a photographer has shared a portrait of mother and baby with tiger stripes proudly on display. Tiffany Marie, a photographer who specializes in newborn and family photos, captured the beauty and importance of stretch marks in one remarkable image of new mom Lindsey Luekenga.
“Motherhood changes you,” she writes of the physical implications and demands of bringing an person into the world. But the sweet photo, in which a flower-crown-adorned mother takes a moment to bathe with her baby, it’s clear she means the change is for the better.
“Your body has been marked. It will never be the same,” the caption continues. “Somedays you’re even ashamed of what’s left behind. You look at other mom’s with ‘better’ bodies and roll your eyes. You can only wear pants tall enough to tuck your stomach in. You dream of your body before children. But here’s the thing mommas. This body grew a human being — however saggy, wrinkly and flawed YOU grew your best little friend.”
As someone who’s made a career of photographing new moms and babies, Marie is uniquely qualified to comment on the experience of becoming a mother. “Let me tell you, the most ‘perfect’mom bodies still have insecurities. Every milk bath I’ve photographed always starts out like this ‘I hate my moles, or fat, or arms, or this scar…’ We’re all the same inside,” she says. As she points out, everyone is insecure. But what if, instead, we focused on the positive?
There’s an empowerment to showing what the reality of postpartum looks like, Tiffany tells Yahoo Beauty. “I didn’t have a single stretch mark before pregnancy and now my stomach is covered — it’s wrinkly and stretchy and I hated it. Now, I feel like I’ve earned these marks as do so many,” she said. “This photo was so relatable to many mothers feeling embarrassed and ashamed of their bodies.”
If the number of stretch-mark photos that go viral is any indication, the world is leaning in towards embracing these marks of motherhood. Until then, we’ll just keep borrowing our stretchie pride from Chrissy Teigen.
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- Mom Lovingly Explains Stretch Marks to Her Daughter in Viral Post
- Justin Bieber’s Protégée is Embracing Her Stretch Marks
- What You Really Need to Know About Treating Stretch Marks