Six courageous British mothers allowed themselves to be photographed soon after giving birth for a story about how their bodies reacted to pregnancy. The media constantly shows celebrity mothers quickly gaining back their perfect bodies after giving birth, but for most of these average moms featured (and pictured in their undies!) on the U.K.’s Dailymail, pregnancy took quite a toll on their bodies.
During pregnancy, Natalie Edmonds noticed stretch marks forming under her belly button but didn’t seem bothered by them. Weeks later, however, the stretch marks began appearing all the way up to her breasts and arms. The 26-year-old mother from Somerset was shocked to hear her midwife announce that her stretch marks were the worst she had ever seen. Edmonds’ rapid weight gain during pregnancy followed by an even more rapid weight loss contributed to the many stretch marks. She started taking spinning classes to tighten up the saggy stretched skin, but she doesn’t have motivation to work out. Edmonds recently admitted that she likes her stretch marks and was “disappointed they’ve faded to a silver and are less visible.”
Aimee Marshall, a 22-year-old mother from Braintree, Essex, had a different issue with her body. After her emergency C-section she was forced to express breastfeed her daughter, Eadie. She developed mastitis causing her 32DD breasts to grow and gain a greenish hue. She was ashamed of the lumpy breasts and had to stop breastfeeding. Six weeks after she stopped, her breasts shrank, becoming one cup smaller than they were before. For Marshall, it was the saggyness of her breasts that she couldn’t stand. “The skin had stretched so much they looked like empty sacks,” Marshall said.
Rachel Barker developed what she called the “wobbly tummy” after her pregnancy. The mother of three claimed that the weight gain happened after her second pregnancy when her cravings grew worse. A year after giving birth to her third child she still hasn’t been able to get back into her size 12 jeans. Jessica Armstrong, on the other hand, was forced to eat better for the sake of her child and didn’t have cravings. The 20-year-old singer from Sheffield dropped from a size 14 to a size 12 after giving birth to her now three-month-old daughter.
For Natalie Russel, she hated her new thick thighs. She tried several creams and other methods to do away with the cellulite, but nothing made a difference. Russel is still harnessing an extra seven pounds, but said she just doesn’t have time for the gym.
Mothers like 27-year-old Aoife Johns are often considered to be the lucky ones. After giving birth to her son, she claims her body had hardly changed. Johns said that she kept a normal diet during pregnancy and never battled with unhealthy cravings. The stay-at-home mother has the time to do yoga every day and has even joined a jogging club. She was 28 pounds heavier during pregnancy, but since then has returned to her normal weight.