The mommy blogger and Instagram influencer trend can be detrimental to many in a lot of ways. So many women are intent on presenting pristine versions of their lives, their children, and themselves. Gorgeous, flawless, filtered women with canned smiles are all over your Instagram feed.
But Sarah Nicole Landry, a mom of three and a massively popular influencer (@thebirdspapaya on Instagram), focuses her efforts on showing everyone what a real mom's body often looks like. Yes, she's conventionally pretty, her photos are filtered, she wears a lot of makeup, and what she shares is curated. But unlike many other women who have similar accounts, Sarah is unafraid to share her cellulite and stretch marks along with the rest of it.
"It is undeniable that you ARE a walking piece of art," Sarah writes. "A unique and ever-changing canvas. Marvel in it. Listen to it. Learn from it." She spreads the important message that you are not beautiful despite your stretch marks and cellulite and fat but because of it. It's the sign of a life lived and enjoyed, and that's an incredible thing.
But she wasn't always this confident in her own skin. In one of her Instagram captions, she writes, "Here’s the thing. NO part of me WANTED to have my cellulite seen by a large group of friends. It’s natural. It’s normal. I KNOW. That doesn’t give me the desire or the confidence. It fights against it, actually.
"Here’s the magic: it made no difference in my existence today. Having cellulite. Stretch marks. A body that isn’t conforming to societal standards in every way? Well, it meant nothing."
She writes that she was once "a woman who walked backward out of rooms to hide my cellulite from my own husband." It takes a lot of work and reflection to get to a point where you're happy sharing your body with the world like that, and it's not like you finally beat those feelings once and for all — it takes constant effort and some days are better than others.
Women are constantly fed images of what they should look like, but for the vast majority of women, including those who've had children, this just isn't the reality.
Sarah writes, "This is a body that has carried three amazing children. This is a body that has been a range of weights swinging 110 lbs. in difference. This is a body that used to feel worthless and now feels strong. This is a body that needs to be fed with love, attention, kindness, and good food. '
She continues, "This is a body, and through PRACTICE and EFFORT and EXERCISE in self-care, I have grown to love. This is a body that I will use to help show others that they are not alone in their bodies." Sarah's message is inspiring to so many, and she has amassed quite a following on Instagram.
"I don't recall when body issues became mainstream in my mind but I have early memories around age 11-12 where they started to take over my self-worth. I did my first diet at age 14, and it would continue off and on through 'til adulthood."
She continues, "I really had believed that losing weight would be the way for me to find body acceptance so I sought that strongly about five to six years ago. After losing around 100 lbs., I was devastated to discover that I still had body image issues, perhaps even worse than before. Since then, I’ve worked through my issues around self-worth, disordered eating, and my confidence and have journeyed through that process online.”
Sarah's involvement with the online community has opened her eyes to "how different beauty is and how it's really about who you are and not what you look like!" I'm sure that Sarah's positive view of her own body only promotes the same healthy feelings and thoughts in her own children, and this is extremely important.