Of all the things that can change a body, pregnancy is one of the processes that transforms it most dramatically.
Over the course of 9 months, your body gets swollen, stretched and altered forever – something that many mums struggle to come to terms with long after their baby arrives into the world.
Marissa Fearon, however, is one such parent who’s on a mission to challenge the stigma, as she records her fitness journey on her Instagram account babiesandpushups_.
The mum-of-three created the page in 2015, when she started she started following Australian fitness guru Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guides (often referred to as BBG), and has since won thousands of fans with her motivational, but very honest posts.
The images that generally grab the most attention are those where Marissa, who is mum to Gibson, seven, Rowan, five, and Caspar, three, bares her stomach, which bares stretch marks and loose skin from her three pregnancies.
Whilst she admits that confidence doesn’t always come easy, she’s determined to show off the body she’s worked so hard for.
Alongside one especially poignant picture, she writes, ‘Realizing that my stomach will never look like some of the girls that inspired me to start bbg has probably been the hardest part of this journey.’
‘I still struggle with the fact that after 3 kids in 4 years it will never ever look the way sometimes I wish it would. I will always have loose skin. It will probably always be a 10 shades lighter because even though I am more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been, I still get self conscious baring it for the world to see. It will always be marked.’
‘But it bares the marks of my sweet babies. My sweet babies that grew inside of it. Learning to love and appreciate our bodies for what they are now is the bravest thing a mama can do & every day I feel braver and stronger than ever. I am proud of this stomach, even if it less than perfect. Perfect is boring anyways.’
‘When I stared BBG last year I was just at a place where I was very unhappy with my body and the way I felt physically. I was getting headaches all the time, was tired all the time, and was just generally uncomfortable in my own skin,’ Marissa told Mail Online.
‘But I made a promise to myself that when I started my account I would be 100 per cent honest and vulnerable to hopefully reach out to other moms or women in my same position.’
‘The hardest part is getting started,’ she added. ‘Once you make your health a priority and once you realize that it’s okay to take time for yourself, the rest will come with time.’
‘It will be hard. You won’t always want to do it. But the benefits that come from making it a habit and letting it become just a normal part of your life, will far outweigh the struggles you will face along the way.’