Real Mom Bods


Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms Blog

{All photography in this post is courtesy of the talented Emily Ann Photography. She did such a beautiful job of capturing our smiles and our post-baby bodies.}

At Columbia SC Moms Blog, we want you all to know that you are amazing just the way you are {queue Bruno Mars}. Every body is beautiful – stretch marks, laugh lines, saggy skin, and all! Truly, each of these features tell a story about what makes you YOU.

Those stretch marks? They tell the story of a mama who carried and grew a life inside her.

Those laugh lines? They remind us of the smiles, happiness and good times in our lives.

That saggy skin? It’s proof that we are strong, and our bodies can accommodate varying sizes as we adjust to the needs of a new baby and beyond.

Real Mom Bods - Body After Baby - Columbia SC Moms Blog
Real bodies after baby … no touch-ups required.

At the end of the day, your kid does not notice that you do not look like that model on that magazine cover (who, by the way, doesn’t really look like that in real life anyway – you can thank airbrushing for that). All your kid cares about is that you are there with them – playing in the water, running on the playground, down on the floor building blocks – creating memories with you rather than about you.

Our contributing team wants to emphasize that there is no definition for the “right” post-baby body. While it was a little bit out of our comfort zones {okay, maybe completely out of our comfort zones} to pose for some of these pictures, bathing suit and all, we realize how important it is for us, as mothers, to have a positive body image in order to set a good example for our children. Insecurity is learned. Imagine if the negative thoughts you have about your body were running through your child’s mind about their own body. It’s heartbreaking.

So love the skin you’re in. Shake those negative perceptions that hold you back, and rock your beautiful mom bod!

Amanda Hamilton - Real Mom Bods - Body After Baby - Columbia SC Moms BlogAmanda

32 years old / 1 pregnancy / 1 girl

What do you want your child to know about a woman’s body?

What I want my daughter to know about my body and ultimately about hers is that it doesn’t matter what it looks like; it matters what it can do. My body can provide nourishment, cuddles and love but it’s also strong. It created my favorite person, takes me on lots of adventures, and can even keep up with a certain toddler on the playground. So while Mama may be curvy, she is happy and capable and confident.

Katrina Siron - Real Mom Bods - Body After Baby - Columbia SC Moms Blog


35 years old / 3 pregnancies / 2 boys & 1 girl

What do you want your children to know about a woman’s body?

First and foremost I should say that we are not a particularly modest family at home. We are 5 people sharing one bathroom and everybody sees everything about everyone. My kids know what I look like naked. The most important thing I want them to understand about any body, male or female, is that there is no shame in it, in any form. All bodies are different. That’s okay. It’s what makes us individual and amazing. I want my sons to know that women’s bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and even if they should find one sort of body type more appealing than another, that doesn’t make the other bodies any less beautiful in their own right. I want my daughter to know that women’s bodies are amazing in their capacity for change. A woman’s body is capable of an infinite number of things, including growing and feeding another body, if she chooses. I want her to understand that change is good, it’s a part of life, and hopefully she will learn to love her body through all its changes.

Kristen McGuire - Real Mom Bods - Body After Baby - Columbia SC Moms Blog Kristen

40 years old / 0 pregnancies / 1 boy & 1 girl {adopted}

Why did you participate in this campaign?

I participated in this campaign because I turned 40. I have noticed that it’s a lot harder to maintain the shape of my body and the way I look. I am softer in places that previously were occupied by muscle. I have always advocated that women should love the bodies they are in and be confident in who they are. But now that I’m in a place where I don’t love my body, it’s time to put up or shut up. So here I am, in my imperfect self and *trying* to be confident about it.

Kristi Bothur - Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms Blog


46 years old / 7 pregnancies / 1 boy, 1 girl & 5 in Heaven

What do you love about your body?

I love that my body has carried seven precious children, even if we will meet five of them in Heaven. I love that my body has shifted and changed, and even has scars, because of those pregnancies, and so is a visual reminder of the beauty of the love of a husband and wife, and the love we have for our children. I love that my love for my children can make my body do amazing things, from getting up and caring for them in the middle of the night, to carrying them in my arms when I am bone-weary, to running around the yard with them when I would rather sit quietly. I love that my body is a carrier – of babies, of dreams and visions for our family’s future, of a sharp mind, of creative ideas, of love for my husband and our children on earth, of memories, and of faith in God. And I love that at the end of the day, my husband finds me beautiful, no matter what I think I look like outwardly.

Lauren George - Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms Blog


27 years old / 4 pregnancies / 1 boy, 1 girl, 2 bonus daughters & 2 in Heaven

Why are you participating in this campaign?

I have worked very hard over the past eight months to lose 45 pounds. I have ate healthy and worked out at least five times a week. My body has been so sore. I have also splurged on ice cream and donuts during these past eight months but I try not to beat myself up over it. On top of losing weight I am raising my toddler {terrible twos}, my son and two bonus kids {one is a teenager}. My weight loss journey has not been easy but it has definitely been worth it. My husband and children have been my biggest fans. A mom’s body is SO strong.

Lila Anna Sauls - Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms BlogLila Anna

45 years old / 5 pregnancies / 5 boys {including twins}

What insecurities did you have before kids and that have now disappeared?

Growing up, I was paid for every pound I lost before I hit middle school, and I knew how to starve myself before weigh in’s during high school. Kids (and sometimes adults) were mean because I was a “big girl” and had red hair. I hated everything about my body. Even in my 20’s, I’d binge exercise (and binge eat). It was all about the number on the scale.

Then I married Brad and had our boys. All six of them love me, for who I am on the inside and out.

Now, I’m the red head … with strong legs, biceps and what I lovingly call my “twin skin.” I have an owl tattoo, because when I race it’s in the Athena division (150lbs plus). It’s a symbol of Athena; the Greek goddess known for her wisdom. People followed her into battles (which she won) because she was strategic and thoughtful. They respected and trusted her.

How could I possibly be anything but ok with my body? The six most important people in my life love it … so should I!

Melanie McGehee - Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms BlogMelanie

46 years old / 1 pregnancy / 1 boy

Why are you participating in this campaign?

Because I wanted to be brave. I’ve never loved this body. I’ve never hated it, either. To do either would have been to elevate it to a status that wasn’t proper in my religious upbringing that stressed “the soul.” But God made this vessel. And I’m learning to balance the yearning to keep it strong and vibrant and the reality of age. I lack discipline when it comes to exercise and self control when it comes to eating. But you know what – my husband loves this thing! We unveil ourselves to the world with our words in this blog. We love you enough to unveil our bodies. We hope you embrace bravery, too. It’s hard. It’s exhilarating. But we’re cheering for you!

Michelle Lucas - Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms BlogMichelle

36 years old / 4 pregnancies / 1 boy, 1 girl, 1 boy on the way & 1 in Heaven

Why are you participating in this campaign?

I have not been the gal documenting my pregnant belly every week or month in any of my pregnancies. In this photo, I am 6 months pregnant with what will most likely be our last child, so I really wanted to capture the essence of my pregnant body. And to show myself that while weird things happen to your body when you’re pregnant, it is truly a miraculous and beautiful thing to carry a child. In all honestly, I didn’t really do this for anyone else but me.

Natalie Welanatz - Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms BlogNatalie

28 years old / 1 pregnancy / 1 girl in Heaven

Why are you participating in this campaign?

For many years, I’ve felt insecure with my body. I’ve had multiple surgeries over the course of seven years, each one leading to more and more insecurity. As my family is in the early stages of trying to adopt, I want to be an example for my future children. A hysterectomy at age 21 can do a lot of damage, both physically and mentally. Two brain surgeries later and I’m still recovering. I still encounter challenges that most 20-something’s never consider, crippling headaches have rendered concerts and most social gatherings remnants of the past, even simple trips to the beach hold more challenge than reward. I have found my biggest challenge is also my greatest motivator, the will to live my life to the fullest overpowers my insecurity and while it is not easy, my family I make the most of every day. I participated in this challenge to prove to myself, family and future children, that they too can overcome their insecurity and be comfortable in their own skin.

Sarah Shuster - Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms BlogSarah

31 years old / 1 pregnancy / 1 boy & 2 stepdaughters

Why are you participating in this campaign?

I wish I could say that my inner voice of self consciousness is completely silenced by my pride in having grown and labored a 7 lb 4 oz baby boy. I wish I could hide from my teenage girls that I’m still coming to terms with my post baby body, with its loose skin and harder to tone muscles. I don’t want them to ever think their value is defined by their body, and I’m afraid my moments of weakness and self criticism are obvious to them. I’m working on it. Every day. 

I’m working on loving my new figure, slightly curvier, definitely stronger. I’m working hard to enjoy working out not for a smaller number on a scale, but for the higher number on the weights I lift because I’m stronger; for the longer times on my watch because I’m running further; and for the sweat that signifies a healthy life and a long future to spend with my husband and sweet children. 

I want my children to see a confident woman who works hard, not to be skinny, but to be strong and healthy. I want to be fearless and fierce, and also eat cake and pizza. I want to make my children proud, and I want them to be happy and to love their unique and wonderful selves. I want them to know their value and see through my example that it isn’t defined by a number on a scale. That’s why I’m here. Nothing like a photo shoot to encourage confidence! Now, can I put a filter on these so I look just right?! Did you get my good side?

Simone Shine Praylow - Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms Blog


31 years old / 2 pregnancies / 1 boy & 1 girl

Why are you participating in this campaign?

I’m participating in this campaign because I want to like myself. Not just myself from the neck up but all of me. I want my kids to know that a woman’s body is more than just something to judge based on whether it’s up to par or not. I’ve spent 31 years feeling like I’ve always been fat, only to look back and be like “oh wow I really was beautiful at the time. Too bad I don’t look like that NOW.” It’s been an endless cycle that I’m tired of living.

What do you love most about your body?

What I love most about my body is my legs. I think they’re my best attribute.

What insecurities did you have before kids and that have now disappeared?

I’m just now really letting go of feeling like my body is never good enough. I’m realizing it has been good enough all long despite self-doubt I felt along the way. I’ve carried two kids and that’s quite an accomplishment.

Real Mom Bods - Columbia SC Moms Blog


40 years old / 1 pregnancy / 1 boy

Why are you participating in this campaign?

Honestly, it was never my intent to participate in this campaign. Crazy, right? The person who owns and manages the blog, the one who presented the idea to our team of writers, the someone who put together all the details behind the scenes to make this happen. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe in the cause and message … but personally I am so far from being comfortable with my own body. My pregnancy left me with A LOT of weight gain, which has been much harder to get off than I thought it would be. There was no way I was going to get out there in tight workout clothes, much less a bathing suit!

But when I showed up the day of the photo shoot to support our team with arms full of brunch and a little liquid encouragement, I stood in awe of these ladies who were so willing to put themselves out there, flaws and all, for the sake of showing others it’s okay to be who you are and love the skin you’re in. And as they rallied behind me (“What? You’re not doing this? It doesn’t feel right not having you be a part of the shoot! Come on, you’re one of us!”), I found the strength to let go of my insecurities and realize we are all in this together … motherhood, friendship, support, womanhood. And my hang ups were just that … MINE.

So I sprinted to my car, drove home, grabbed my 5 year+ black bathing suit, and hightailed it back to the photo shoot! And as I stood there baring it all in my one-piece, with my too round stomach, fuller than I’d like thighs, and arms that need toning, I realized none of us are perfect … and that’s okay. So I raised a glass, toasted my friends, shared more laughs than I had in a long time, and proudly showed off my mom bod!

Real Mom Bods - Body After Baby - Columbia SC Moms Blog

 Mama, we know it is hard to let go of body insecurities. We all have them, regardless of size. But please keep in mind it doesn’t define your self-worth. It’s not a measure of who you are. You’re so much more than a number on the scale or a reflection in the mirror.

You are strong. You are beautiful. Your family loves you for YOU. At the end of the day, what matters is you are present, enjoying life to the fullest with your kids. So get out there and rock that bathing suit, stop worrying about those stretch marks and rolls, run and splash and play and make memories with children. THAT is what matters the most.

 You’ve heard our stories, so now we turn it over to you. What do you love most about your body? What do you want your children to know about a woman’s body? What insecurities did you have before kids and that have now disappeared?


  1. Dang! You ladies are gorgeous!!! These pictures are stunning.

    I was always worried that if I changed from being a thin, petite woman, that that would mean I was less beautiful. My husband has proved that wrong!!


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