Like most women, I gained a lot of weight during pregnancy. To be honest, I wasn’t sad or depressed about my postpartum body as I was (and I still am) overwhelmed with the joy of being a mom and love for our daughter.

However, a few weeks after giving birth, I met a guy who I used to know from the university. His first words to me were: “Whoa, you gained a lot of weight! Do something about it, so you are attractive again.”

After coming home, I spent a while looking into the mirror, evaluating my postpartum belly, and suddenly, I was feeling very unattractive. I was comparing myself to all the skinny girls out there (although I was never considered skinny even before pregnancy) and it did nothing good for my self-esteem.

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I also realized the body positivity is something you don’t hear about a lot – at least in my country. In my country, the popular opinion is that “postpartum body or, basically, any not-model-like body is something that makes you very unattractive, so you shouldn’t show it until you are back in shape again – and get back in shape as fast as you can, it cannot be that hard.”

Even in my surroundings, there are quite a lot of women who are trying their hardest to look like those skinny models; they don’t eat properly, they are stressed a lot – all because they want to be attractive based on “photo model look” beauty standards.

I decided to take photos of myself to overcome the negative feelings I suddenly had about my postpartum body and also to show others there is nothing to be ashamed of. I also decided to give them a “motherhood touch.” However, after checking my own photos, my first thought was: “Gosh, I am fat, I have to do some post-editing to make myself look skinnier, to make my skin look smoother, I have to retouch the dark circles under my eyes, I have to erase the second chin, etc.”. Yup, the beauty standards affected me that much.

Then I remembered the real purpose of this photo-shoot idea, and I didn’t edit my body at all. I will never look like a model, and I know it. I like myself, and I like my body – my daughter was growing in it for nine months, so for my partner, and for me, it is the most amazing body in the world.

It is ok to look however you want – as long as you are healthy and happy with yourself. You are beautiful exactly the way you are. Just stop comparing yourself to others. It is incredibly hard, but once you can manage it, you will suddenly feel happy and free.