Moms proudly show off their postpartum bodies

Updated 8:18 AM EDT, Sun May 12, 2019
@meg.boggs
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(CNN) —  

Meg Boggs is on a mission to redefine the public perception of a woman’s postpartum body.

If she could tell moms two things to start them on a self-love journey it would be to “look in the mirror” and “get in the photo with your kids.” The mother and blogger says she refused to be in photos the first couple of months of her daughter’s life, “I regret so much that I wasn’t in the photos with her. It’s so important and you have to think about your kids and they are going to want you in the photos with them.”

’I felt as if my postpartum journey and body didn’t count’

In 2018, Boggs was a first-time mom to a 7-month-old baby and dealing with negative body image issues. As a plus-size woman, she felt she didn’t look like other pregnant or postpartum women on social media. It began during pregnancy, “I would see pictures of a perfect bump and I didn’t relate to that because I definitely did not have a perfect bump.” Boggs would search for images she could relate to online but found none, which was isolating, “I felt as if my postpartum journey and body didn’t count.”

Meg Boggs wants postpartum women of all shapes and sizes to be represented on social media
@meg.boggs
Meg Boggs wants postpartum women of all shapes and sizes to be represented on social media

In an attempt to connect with similar women, she started to blog on MegBoggs.com, posted her very first postpartum photo on Instagram and braced for how the internet might react. “To my surprise, my messages flooded with positivity and things like ‘I needed this today.’ That’s when this idea started finding its way into my heart,” Boggs said.

This week was the culmination of a labor of love where she recruited 25 mothers to share their experiences with body image issues, postpartum depression and anxiety, infant loss and grief using the hashtag #This_is_postpartum on Instagram.

’It was OK to need a little help’

One of the women Boggs joined forces with was Ashley Dorough, of houseofdorough.com. For Dorough, this campaign served as an opportunity to let other women know they are not alone. She struggled with anxiety and depression after her eldest daughter was born with a congenital heart defect, “My main focus every day was just to keep her alive and experience every day with her to the fullest,” Dorough said. A couple of years later, after her second daughter was born, she experienced postpartum depression, something that affects one in nine women. “I felt like I was in survival mode all the time, which is normal to a certain extent, but then it started turning into anger and I knew it really wasn’t me, I’m not an angry person,” she said.

Having seen other bloggers online open up about their experiences with antidepressants made her feel empowered talk to her OB. “My doctor told me that it was OK to need a little help right now and that really stuck with me,” Dorough said. The combination of therapy and medication has been a “complete game changer” for her within the last month and her transparency about it has even led to one of her readers reaching out to her own doctor for help.

Ashley Dorough started blogging because she was tired of not seeing anyone that loooked like her.
Ashley Dorough started blogging because she was tired of not seeing anyone that loooked like her.

#This_is_postpartum also serves as a platform for Dorough to encourage other women to dig deeper into what’s really important and starting the self-love process from the inside out. “When I look in the mirror right now, at this stomach, I feel like my body is a little destroyed. I just want women to know that it’s normal to feel this way but it doesn’t have to define you.” She wants her daughters to grow up knowing that what they look like doesn’t equal their worth.

She calls them her ‘hope wounds’