#TakeBackPostpartum On Instagram Empowers New Moms By Encouraging Them To Show Off Their Stretch Marks — PHOTOS

A recent social media movement has new moms (and some not-so-new moms) posting photos of their stretch marks on Instagram, proudly displaying their stripes and other marks of motherhood their bodies bear. The trending hashtag #TakeBackPostpartum was started by author January Harshe, who writes the blog "Birth Without Fear". On her personal website, Harshe asked mothers to share their postpartum images, because she was frustrated with how marketing to postpartum women had become the domain of companies trying to sell weight loss products or stretch mark removal creams, when what mothers really needed was to be celebrated.

"We do not need chemical laden lotions, potions, or saran wrap. What we need is love, grace, friendship, and support."

Instead of enduring body-shaming and hiding their post-baby bodies, women are sharing photos of their stretch marks and their bellies, some while nursing their infants. Harshe, a mother of six, told The Today Show that the response to the idea of reclaiming what "postpartum" looks like has been tremendous.

"I said ladies, if you want to make a change, we have to do it ourselves. What I've learned is that every woman struggles one way or another. Every woman struggles differently. I'm trying to show all the variations of normal for postpartum and motherhood."

Instead of covering up their stretch marks, mothers are showing off their "tiger stripes" with pride. Harshe says on her website she doesn't intend for the Take Back Postpartum movement to become a competition of who has the most stretch marks, but to show that moms and their bodies come "in all shapes, sizes and fitness levels." The movement is about uniting women, rather than continuing to push them toward some impossible, idealized version of what a perfect body should look like, she says: "We do not need to be told we are not good enough."

The Take Back Postpartum Instagram account had surpassed 19,000 followers by Saturday, and had more than 330 images.

Images: takebackpostpartum/Instagram