work life balanceImagine having a baby and then baring your postpartum belly for all the world to see. Sounds like a nightmare, no? Sure, some women bounce right back and would gladly show off their assets, but most moms I know are insecure about that loose skin that just won’t go away no matter how many crunches they do or how much weight they lose. Oh, motherhood.

You can now feel better about your own postpartum belly thanks to a group of working moms-slash-bloggers in Connecticut who have boldly appeared before the camera in nothing but a sports bra and yoga pants. Their aim? To show what real women’s bodies look like and encourage moms to embrace their post-baby bods – stretch marks and all. (It looks kind of like a Dove campaign, but here there’s no giant corporation behind the project.)

The photos are worth checking out for the diversity of body types alone. The seven women, all part of  CT Working Moms – an online community for women balancing work and family – are all in their 30s and with kids ranging from 8 months to 8 years old. We caught up with Michelle Noehren, one of the brave moms pictured (she’s on the far left), to get the inside scoop on what postpartum bellies really look like and the thinking behind the project

Mommyish: What prompted you to participate in such a bold initiative?
Michelle Noehren: We talk a lot about how hard our society is on women’s bodies, especially women who have recently had babies. Seeing celebs that look like they never even had a child can make other moms feel badly about themselves. We felt like doing something to combat our country’s unattainable beauty ideals so we decided to bear our own bellies in order to be a positive example for other moms. We spend way too much time each day hating our bodies – and our bodies did an amazing thing by growing one or multiple human beings.

Mommyish: What were some of the challenges involved in posing in a sports bra and posting the photos live for all the world to see?

MN: Every single one of us felt a little nervous about taking off our shirts – even in front of each other! But once the shirts were off all the ladies were giving each other compliments and we felt great right away. For me, I’ve never even worn a bikini to the beach before so showing my tummy was (and is!) a big deal for me.

Mommyish: What do you hope to accomplish with these series of photographs? What message are you hoping to send to women?
MN: We want women to feel supported. Even if you are looking to lose a little weight, we should still be proud of our bodies as they are, right now. The vast majority of us do not look like the models we see in magazines and we don’t have access to the same type of support that celebrities do. We want moms to embrace their post-baby bodies, stretch marks and all!