An unretouched photo featuring a mother of three in a bikini that is meant to be empowering and inspiring has gone viral on Facebook
Rachel Hollis, the founder of The Chic, is an author, event planner, chef, fashion reporter and mother of three. She posted the picture to The Chic's Facebook page on March 21 with a note urging women to "flaunt that body with pride," imperfections aside.
Her message of self-love inspired has hundreds of thousands of people, including many mothers who are also coming to terms with their new post-baby physiques. Hollis wrote:
“I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that’s permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy… (which is something I didn’t even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it. Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man who’s opinion matters knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he’s never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren’t scars ladies, they’re stripes and you’ve earned them. Flaunt that body with pride! #HollisHoliday”
In less than a week, the photo has been liked on Facebook more than 415,000 times, shared over 50,000 times and was commented on nearly 14,000 times.
One woman, whose response received nearly 7,000 likes, wrote:
“You have no idea of how empowering your words are to someone as myself. I gave birth to my last baby (my third son) 6 months ago. I have many stretch marks . . . and my confidence has plummeted. Reading this has made me realize how im seeing everything in the wrong way . . . THANK YOU! I BELIEVE YOU’VE GIVEN ME A CERTAIN BOOST I NEEDED TO HELP BEGIN THE PROCESS OF REGAINING MY SELF CONFIDENCE.”
A version of this story was written and distributed by Tribune Broadcasting