Hashtags on social media have paved the way for positive movements to be born. One movement, in particular, has us super inspired.
The #TakeBackPostpartum hashtag movement was created by blogger, public speaker and mom of 6, January Harshe. Earlier this year, Harshe noticed that the Instagram hashtag #postpartum had some negative content directed towards new moms. She also came across advertisements for stretch mark creams and weight loss shakes via the hashtag.
Harshe’s blog Birth Without Fear encourages empowerment during pregnancy and birth. She told Today.com that she grew “frustrated” with these advertisements so Harshe turned to her blog to air those frustrations:
“Anytime mothers hashtag their beautiful photos of themselves, their babies, their motherhood lives, even their pregnancies, births, healthy food and exercise pics…they are harassed. People comment or message them telling them if they want to actually look good then they can ‘help’ with their product.”
Getting healthier and fit is awesome! Moms comes in all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. We are all on our own journey and progressing and working through our crazy, tired, postpartum, motherhood lives the best we can at any given time. This is not about comparing. This is about becoming united.
We do not need to be told we are not good enough.
We do not need chemical laden lotions, potions, or saran wrap. What we need is love, grace, friendship, and support.”
She then asked new moms to join her in taking back the term and redefine it on social media in a positive and authentic manner. She asked new moms to share their images on social media, using the hashtag #TakeBackPortpartum:
“LET’S TAKE BACK POSTPARTUM. We are mothers and strong women. Our collective voice is so powerful that we can shake the entire world. Why a hashtag? It’s a start. It’s a movement. It’s a way to speak up and say this is not OK.”
Harshe even created an Instagram account called Take Back Postpartum where she re-posts images and positive statements from new moms. And the response has been overwhelming. Here’s some of the positive messages and images from Take Back Postpartum:
“These tiger stripes are a symbol to me of how much you give up for the love of a new life. But oh, how much more you gain! What an honor it was to hold and grow this little one inside me. Of course it has only been a month, and I’m sure these will fade some, but as for now I am learning to see them as Sam does… Beautiful.” ~ @lady_corman
“Not ashamed. I have moles, freckles, birthmarks, surgery scars, and now stretchmarks. Most of the “#blemishes” we dislike about ourselves, I have them. Sometimes it’s hard to disconnect from what people imbed in your mind, those social standards that define beauty as one type of woman. It’s hard to reconnect with oneself and relearn what it’s like to truly love yourself, blemishes and the never-ending changes. Loving the dull “dirty dishwater” blonde hair, the natural way my hair tends to frizz and never lay the same, not taking to heart that the only way others realize I am Asian is by my flat profile but instead loving my “flat face”, my 38E breasts that may not look the way they did a year ago but are providing nourishment to a four month old chunk (and still look damn good regardless), the way my belly bloats easy and is softer than it was but shows evidence that I finally brought forth life when I’d lost hope in ever being a mom, my now chicken legs after losing a lot of muscle mass (40 lbs lost) after severe nausea & vomiting for 7 months of my pregnancy and continuing to lose because breastfeeding, and my chunky feet and webbed toes that help me get from point A to point B and may not always fit in those narrow shoes, but appreciate the feel of grass, warm paved roads, squishing sand between toes, and will soon have me chasing a little girl, sooner than I’m prepared for. Life hands us this beautiful body, with talent, natural abilities, difference, and these bodies meant to change…yet we find ways to condemn them, to compare them, to alter them. Stop. Just stop. Stop and love oneself. Respect the beauty of change and difference. I’m learning to love THIS. All of this. And respecting that my change isn’t a death sentence.” ~ @the.prairiehippie
“Love handles? Check. Stretch marks? Check. Baby pouch? Check. PJs in the afternoon? Check. Nursing tank underneath husband’s old Army tshirt? Check. ???? Did I mention stretch marks? This body has given 9 babies their heartbeat, it kept them nourished and held safe. This body has let go of 5 of those sweet babies, far too early. This body birthed a son who never took his first breath. And this body birthed 3 more sons, and now rocks those boys to sleep in its arms. This body has undergone infertility, pregnancy loss, stillbirth. This body has cried some of the most helpless tears.. but has also cried some of the most #grateful ones. Our bodies are so powerful, so amazing. Yes, we are left with scars and saggy skin, but # we are given something far greater. Life and love. Mommas, do NOT be ashamed of your body. You have created life! And what is more beautiful than that? Whenever you feel insecure about yourself, look at that sweet smile from your child. Cherish that! Appreciate your body! Know how amazing you are! So please, stop trying to sell me things to change my body. I will not wrap my body to take away my pouch, my pouch has held babies that my arms were never able to. I will not use any products to fade my stretch marks, those scars mean my body finally carried my children full term.” ~ @cherishing_the_chaos
We have to say… we are blown away by the work Harshe has done, just by letting her voice be heard. Her hashtag movement is inspiring moms everywhere to embrace the bodies they are in and see the beauty in every stretch mark and scar.