This past week, one mom showed the Internet you don't need a perfect beach bod to rock a bikini and become an inspiring, viral sensation. Rachel Hollis, mom of three and founder of lifestyle website The Chic Site, posted a photo of herself in a two-piece bathing suit while on a beach in Cancun. She wasn't afraid to show off her pregnancy battle wounds, and the responses from other moms were refreshing.
Hollis had her husband take the photo because she thought her monogrammed bikini top was really cool. "When I saw the photo, I noticed my stomach and realized that I had never seen a really honest bikini shot on social media, so I thought, 'I'll just post this for the moms,'" she told Yahoo Parenting.
"I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that's permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy … (which is something I didn't even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini," she captioned. "I wear a bikini because I'm proud of this body and every mark on it. Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man who's opinion matters knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he's never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren't scars, ladies, they're stripes and you've earned them. Flaunt that body with pride!"
The photo currently has more than 380,000 likes on Facebook and 47,000 shares. Many women also started posting photos of their own post-baby bodies and pointing out the photo's empowering message with comments like, "Here is my imperfect tummy but from it I have a perfect daughter."
"You have no idea of how empowering your words are to someone as myself. I gave birth to my last baby (my third son) 6 months ago. I have many stretch marks ... and my confidence has plummeted. Reading this has made me realize how im seeing everything in the wrong way," another mom wrote.