I’ve been seeing a lot of super inspiring before and after pictures lately, so I decided to do my own. Yes, they are in the right order.

Two photos of woman in same green dress, color photo The first one is from the day I bought this dress back in 2016, three years before I had my first child. The second was taken today when I finally decided to go through my closet and get rid of the things I had been hanging onto that just don’t fit anymore.

At first, I felt sad. I’ve been trying to lose weight but can’t seem to make a change no matter what I do. I’m not off traveling abroad like I was in that first picture. I don’t have the time anymore to do my hair and makeup so well.

RELATED: Dear Postpartum Body – I Hate You

In the second picture, there are tons of tiny fingerprints on the mirror. My house is a mess in the background and my laundry that needs folding is piled high. The dress is way too small.

But my daughter is standing next to me, and I feel peace amongst the sting that change naturally brings.

I’m not writing this to say “Hey, I was sad, but then I saw my sweet baby girl and now I’m so happy with my new body!” That’s really not realistic, at least in my case.

It’s bittersweet to see all the changes that have occurred because I have had my children. I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I’m still working through the process of grieving my old body.

Instead, I wanted to share this with you to show that it is OK for our bodies to change. Social media is flooded with beautiful pictures of the moms who bounce back (who are awesome but don’t represent a lot of us who aren’t posting the pictures). I think because of that, so many of us feel ashamed that we’ve changed so much, and many of these changes may not go away any time soon, if ever.

So here’s my before and after. Neither picture is better or worse. They just are what they are.

I absolutely LOVE being a mom. I love that my body created two amazing little girls. When I see them, I am still in awe that they even exist and came from my body. I’m also struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety, am overwhelmed with my home and schoolwork, and am still coming to terms with who I am now.

If you aren’t bouncing back, that’s OK. You’re not the only one not bouncing back, regardless of the many bouncing back pictures you’re seeing from people right now.

RELATED: To the Mama Who Didn’t “Bounce Back”

Maybe if more people shared the raw, honest photos of where they are at right now, even if they look different than they once did, this change wouldn’t feel so shameful. Maybe what we need is to not only see the moms who are bouncing back, but also the ones who aren’t.

Even though I don’t see your pictures, I know you’re out there. I know you are looking in the mirror with tears in your eyes and wondering, Am I the only one? You’re not. I am here.

We are all herestretch marks, saggy skin, and all.

It’s OK if you haven’t bounced back. It’s OK if you are not perfectly at peace or loving your new body yet. It’s OK to grieve what once was while simultaneously celebrating what is now. This is a journey we are all on, and I know, even though many of us are silent about it, we are not alone.

You are beautiful. 

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page.

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Carie Moore

Carie is a stay at home mama to Sophia and Savannah, wife to her husband Zach, and a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in theology. Carie enjoys sharing about the highs and lows of motherhood through her writing as well as learning from the experiences of others.

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