An open letter to Stacey Solomon: Its time we thanked you

Dear Stacey,

Right now, I’m looking at a photo you posted on Instagram a while back. You and your gorgeous family are beaming at the camera, your faces glowing with love for each other. The love is shining through the photo, through the screen, into my messy living room. Every single photo you post on social media transports the same glorious energy to mums all over the world, and it is time we thanked you directly.

The photos you share of you and your new baby are a breath of fresh air, especially for those who are used to glittering Instagram accounts that paint motherhood in a very specific light. The perfectly sculpted body with a baby balanced on one perfect hip is filtered- in both the image and the life that some people chose to portray.

Us mums know that these stories we are told are simply a split-moment of calm, captured between the mayhem that is parenting. However, Stacey, I feel as if you show us the whole shebang.

There is something extra-special about the candid snaps of you smiling with love for your boys. We don’t know you- not really- but even if you don’t always love yourself, we can tell that you try to. This is when the magic happens: your efforts to accept yourself, encourage us to do the same. We can tell that you want the world to stop focusing on what a mother’s body looks like and begin to focus on what it has achieved.

Friendship goals: Stacey Solomon did the kindest thing for new mum Mrs Hinch

You never try to hide your beautiful tummy rolls or stunning stretch-marks and this makes us feel like we don’t have to hide ours either. You have been an incredible advocate for the body positive movement from the beginning. You share beautiful photos of your post-partum body and even though it might be a simple touch of a button for you, it means so much more to the mums that follow you.

With your refreshing realism, you have given us leave to love and accept our bodies in a world where many would rather we didn’t.

Your honest love for your beautifully blended family gives many mums, who are in similar circumstances, the confidence to own and be proud of the family they have made- no matter what shape it takes. Our society has been living by meticulously planned rules about who should have children with who and at what time in their lives. You are part of a growing movement to challenge these restrictions and fight back against the closed-minded folk who can’t see past a traditional family unit.

As you document your precious moments online, you help reduce the stigma one post at a time.

So today, when my other half took a photo of me and my little girl, my mind didn’t zone in on the rolls around my waist or cringe at my double chin. I didn’t once think of how young I look to be holding a five-year-old, or how people may question why we don’t have the same last name.  All I saw was my smile.

All I felt was my love for my little one. I know that I won’t always feel this way. There will be days where loving myself will seem impossible. But I want you to know that you have helped make those moments of clarity and perspective possible, not just for me, but for all the mamas that follow you. And we thank you for that.

Anna Murray is an Irish student mum to one little girl.

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