Emily Houlston, 19, from Telford, who gave birth to twins Arthur and Finley in November 2017, told HuffPost UK she wanted to post the photo as she has struggled for a long time to come to terms with the way her body looks.
“It got me in a bad place getting myself down about it so I wanted to release a picture facing the reality of carrying babies and how much of an incredible journey we go through,” she said. “I wanted to urge women not to feel the need to ‘bounce back’ and to accept how they are - scars, stretch marks and all.”
Houlston continued: “I wanted to give women the confidence that I have and show them that they are perfect, worthy and beautiful.”
On the Instagram post, the new mum explained that she’d had a difficult pregnancy, because she was hospitalised several times due to dehydration and early contractions.
She wanted to remind other mums that women’s bodies are put through so much during pregnancy, that they should be proud of what they have achieved.
“With a scar that I will have for the rest of my life is a tiny sacrifice for a lifetime of beautiful memories with my family,” she wrote. “Your stretch marks do not define you, your scar does not define you, your flab does not define you.
“You are incredible, you are a mother and you are the light of your babies’ eyes. I wanted to share this to show the reality of our bodies and that it’s okay not to be perfect because in their eyes you are exactly that.”
Houlston’s post inspired other new mums to share stories of how they feel about their own bodies.
“I love this post,” one mother wrote. “I am a mum of 14-year-old twins. I had them naturally at 39 weeks. It took me forever to be ok with my stomach and the stretch marks I have. This post inspired me to love my body more.”
Another mum commented: “I needed to see this today to remind me that I have a beautiful baby that loves me no matter what my body looks like. Thank you for having the courage to post this.”