What real mummy tummies look like

Most of us know what a ‘mummy tummy’ looks like. We soap one in the shower, our jeans are buttoned around one, and we cradle our children against one.

Yet for more than half of us, it’s the least favourite part of our bodies*.

While it’s completely normal for a woman’s tummy to get stretched and lined during pregnancy, and perhaps remain puckered, marked and saggy long after the baby is born, it’s rare to see another mother’s tum.  At the beach, our post-baby bellies are often covered with a one-piece swimsuit (with built-in tummy control ;)), and generally, in the media, Photoshop irons out any evidence of wear, tear, and wobble.

Yet these photos from the xoJane Real Girl Belly Project show beautiful non-Photoshopped bellies, accompanied by awesome stories of belly acceptance.

Here’s just a selection:


This belly held twins- each 7 lbs!  I can squish it together and make it talk to the kids 🙂
— Michelle, 32 


My belly has been all different sizes, from gaining weight and dieting and gaining more weight and bearing three kids and dieting and gaining even more weight — it is soft and supple and MAGIC.
-Abi, 30


It’s carried 2 of my babies (so far), it’s where I put my food, and my husband’s name is tattooed on it. What’s not to love?!
— Shannon, 35


I’m 33 and I would like  to be able to remove the belly button ring, but I took it out during my pregnancy and the hole never closed.  I think the ring looks better than the hole!

For more on piercings while pregnant, click here.

The state of my tummy post baby. But its doughy-ness is proof that I was once a living vessel for my beautiful baby! For that I can’t help but love it, stretchmarks and all.     
— Rosie


Click here for the entire gallery at xoJane, which contains 75 very happy – and real – tums!

*For more findings from the Fox in Flats Survey on Motherhood and Fashion, click here.


How do you feel about your mummy tummy? Are you with the 53% of mums who can’t stand theirs, or are you in a happier place?

Would you, could you share a photo of yours? 

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  • Beck

    There is also an ad showing Elle’s mummy tummy on this page – I wonder if she is happy with it?

    • I’ll bet she’s happy with the Photoshopping! 😉

  • That is beautiful. Loving the tummy love!

    • We really should see more of this stuff huh!

  • Caveatcalcei

    I get my belly out frequently for the mums who attend my Pilates classes. It will never look like it did before I the two kids but it is a working belly now, not a show tum. Happy to post Before and After pics FoxinFlats, for the sake of science. Name the place.

  • My tummy will never recover from the 10 pound baby and the emergency caesar, but I’m nearly 40, not 25, so it’s not supposed to look like I am a 25 year old.  I decided on our Hamilton Island holiday last school holidays to wear a bikini.  Big step for me.  Haven’t worn once since I was pregnant (best time ever to wear one!) and before that, not very often (although, damn it, wish I had when I had the figure for it!).  I got back down to my pre-pregnancy 8 about 5 years ago, but a combination of illness and inability to exercise means I’m back up to a 12 now.  I didn’t even feel comfortable wearing a bikini then, and I was only in my early 30s!

    My tummy might not be perfect but it’s not all that bad either.  And it’s only going to get older and probably worse, so I might as well wear it with pride now.  Can I just tell you?  SO much more comfortable in the water, on the beach, lying on a sun lounger! 

    I figured that for every 18 year old at the pool thinking “gods, I’m never going to let myself go like that woman!”, there was probably someone else thinking “I wish I looked like her” (may be wishful thinking!). 

    I found some fantastic navy blue high waisted ruched 50s style bikini pants from Seafolly, and paired them with a Seafolly structured bikini halter top in leopard print and felt the bomb!  Very 50s movie star! The pants come up to just under my belly button, almost the narrowest part of my middle, and hiding my caesar tummy and stretchmarks. The ruching is very flattering too.

    I’m actually looking forward to summer this year! 🙂

    • Thankyou for sharing that. I totally agree, and think “today is the youngest I’ll ever be”. It’s like when I look back at my wedding photos from 10 years ago and realise that at the time I had little appreciation for how young and cute I was.  Forget that, I’m milking my ‘youth’ (said with tongue in cheek) for as long as I can! 
      PS: I want those bathers! x 

    • Amanda Hall

      I love what you said about the 18 year old thoughts Vs the others being envious. You go girl – your 50s styled bathers sound fantastic and i bet you looked awesome.

  • MultipleMum

    That top one is a bit too close for comfort for me. I am also a Mum who carried twins each over 7 pounds! Never be the same again 🙂 x

    • mmm, I reckon anyone who’s had twins and has a tummy like that is doing REALLY well! x

  • Lou Wink


    So great to see some real tummies – carrying twins would do this to you…. and carry a single baby too – as in my case (3 boys – The eldest was just 5 by the time I had my 3rd)      Youngest is seven now and I’m still heavier than when I was 9 months pregnant with him.   Oh well.    Let’s not sweat the small stuff!!   Life is good and we all need to be grateful for what we have  and stop worry about what we don’t have.   

    Off my soapbox now.   Lou ; )

    • So true! I think it’s natural for us to worry about our figures, and we all do it to an extent, yet it’s so refreshing to see un-Photoshopped images so we can be reminded what is ‘normal’. 

  • I would, and have shared a photo of mine (on my blog).
    I am not happy with it, but it’s not because it once housed my children, it’s justb ecause I eat crap food and don’t excersise near enough.
    This is a fantastic post Andrea, and your readers are beautiful to share this. This is what our children need to grow up seeing, that we are all different and that’s what makes us more beautiful as individuals.

  • Cat Beloverly

    After Bebito was born I dropped 25kg on my pre-pregnancy weight & I was much happier with my appearance. Even though 7 weeks post partum I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight my belly isn’t the same and I must admit it’s effecting my “like” of myself. I can’t exercise yet (broken knee & c-section recovery) but I’m hoping to get in better shape when I can. I wasn’t sure if my belly is like this henceforth or if there’s still a chance it could well, bounce back so to speak. I love this idea of self acceptance and it has inspired me to just stop obsessing!

    • Cat…gorgeous Cat!
       “7 weeks post partum I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight” that’s incredible! It took me about 10 months to do that! Our bodies go through so much during pregnancy, it’s important to give it (and ourselves!) a break. 
      PS: Your baby is DIVINE! thanks for sharing the photo on Twitter x

  • I love this. To appreciate that we are all different and all beautiful. That’s what I want my girls to know.

    • Thanks Jodi. We all need to know it huh! xxx

  • Kathryn Green

    I had no stretch marks with #1 but Miss Ruby left some.  I love them.  Like really LOVE them.  They have all faded now and the skin is still a bit sensitive or sore sometimes but every time I look at them I smile.  They are like tiny little tattoos that she left behind as if to say, “Don’t ever forget”.  Her birth was incredible and empowering after a traumatic experience that left me an anxious basket case the first time.  She is one incredible baby and I thank her every day for leaving her mark.

    • They are like tiny little tattoos that she left behind as if to say, “Don’t ever forget”. Beautiful xxxx

  • Anna – Beauty and Lace

    As I was having my second c-section the doctor said to me “you will be able to wear a bikini again” because they were happy with the cut. I might have a neat scar but my tummy is still stretched so I can’t really imagine doing it. But thank you for sharing this, when our bellies are always hidden it can make women feel like freaks because we just assume other people have “normal” tummies. I love my kids but tummy love is something I am trying to learn 🙂

    • So true! Although I think that the freaks are probably the photoshopped images… 😉 

  • Here’s another one that was sent in to me today: 

  • Well, you’d not catch me in a bikini! I give props to those who can love themselves in spite of the hateful messages society sends to us for being human. Mine looks like the lady in the second picture, BTW.

    • The media can be harsh. Photoshopping – always – is harsh. x

  • Al

    Love this post Andrea! XX
    For me, after 4 babies in 4 years (including carrying twins only a few days off full term)  a flat,  scar free and stretch mark free tummy is a ‘nice to have, much like a Ferrari!!!  But I am happy with what I got just like I am with my Honda Odyssey – it gets me where I need to go and is not a public embarrassment!

    • OMG I love that! Comparing your tum to a Honda Odyssey. That’s so cool xxxx

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  • I am 39 weeks pregnant with my 3rd and I know this will be the last time I will ever have a rock hard belly! After my first two my belly was less than fabulous, but I am quite proud of my pot- it’s grown a few fabulous little boys in there. But having said that, its tankinis for me from now on, and no belly pics!

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  • LOVE my c-section scar….but I’ve always been the tomboy showing off ALL my scars. My best friend saw it the first time and said, “It’s smirking at me. Even your scar is a smarta$$.”

  • Bronnie

    How beautiful. Do you know what, it took me a while, but I quite like my Mummy Tummy too. So glad we are starting to be able to celebrate the miracles that are our bodies.

    • FoxInFlats

      Yup, should be more of that.

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