Mother and influencer Hayley Garnett is no stranger to celebrating postpartum bodies. The mom of three, who is based in Columbia, Missouri, has been an inspiration to her 141k followers over the past few years, posting photos and messages in an effort to normalize all the changes that come with being a new mama. But her latest post has truly caught the attention of her followers—and not for the usual reasons.
On October 3, Hayley, 31, shared a close-up shot of the loose skin on her stomach. Instead of her usual self-written caption, she had her husband, Cody, write a note about her postpartum body.
“I figured it’d be easy but then I started thinking—what is there to even write about? Sure, things look and feel slightly different—but in the grand scheme of things, nothing changed,” he wrote. “The reasons I fell in love with her had nothing to do with any of the body parts affected by her postpartum.”
He continued by writing all of the reasons he fell in love with her 15 years ago, and said that, despite all the changes that come with motherhood and raising a family, he is still just as in love with her for all of those same reasons.
“The soft pillowy skin around her belly button held my three best friends for 18 months,” he wrote. "The marks show the strength it took to carry the weight of two beautiful girls that will be raised by this bad ass mom. Nothing has changed or altered my love for my wife.”
While some of Cody’s note felt slightly reminiscent of “curvy wife” husband Robbie Tripp—he said he gets praised for being a "great husband"—he finished out his message by focusing on the fact that he loves his wife because of her imperfections.
“My wife isn’t perfect and that’s what makes me love her," he wrote. "That’s why you are all reading this. If she was perfect, not a one of you would be able to relate to her. ”
Hayley tells Health that she decided to post this intimate note after realizing other postpartum mothers were likely experiencing similar feelings.
“I had been getting messages every so often asking me things like ‘Are you embarrassed by your body in front of your husband?’ Or ‘Is your husband still attracted to you after having kids?’” she says. “Both of these questions might be slightly offensive if you take them at surface value. But what I hear is the worry in these questions. The fear that maybe their worth as a partner has fallen off because their body has experienced profound change.”
Hayley said that although her post was intended for others, she was overwhelmed with joy to read her husband’s heartwarming message.
“I wasn’t surprised by what he wrote,” she says. “I cried tears of gratitude and love while reading, but I was not surprised. Because he’s never once made me feel like less of a woman." Hayley continued that she believes it's important to separate their lives and the lives of their daughters from harmful messages iin society—and sometimes, speak out against them. "[Women] are worthy of the same love and intimacy that we have always been worthy of," regardless of how their bodies change, she says.
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