A new mum has taken to Instagram to share a raw, unfiltered, post-baby body photo - and a candid message about the good, the bad and the ugly side of motherhood.
Stella Gomez, of Miami, posted a photo of her belly alongside her six-month-old daughter. In the caption, Ms Gomez writes that she hesitated before sharing the "unflattering" image, noting, "heck, it's not flattering at all".
And yet, Ms Gomez reflects, "there is more than meets the eye and this is more than just a photo."
The mother-of-one explains that while pregnancy and giving birth are truly wonderful, and that motherhood itself is full of rewards, there's another side to "all this beauty" - and it's something we don't really talk about.
Ms Gomez highlights the countless expectations women face as they become mothers - the emotional, physical and mental tolls of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood.
"Yes, you'll still look pregnant right after giving birth," Ms Gomez writes. "No, your old clothes won't fit right away and for some of us - yes, we get these marks that are here to stay."
And yet, she continues, this is far more than just a photo, and the marks go deeper than you might think.
"This is about adjusting into a new role," Ms Gomez writes. "It's about figuring out how to raise a child, how to do all these things you've never done before."
It's about learning how to be a new mum, she continues, how not to cry "every second" when you simply can't work out how to settle your bub. It's about the bad days, she says, "and breaking down".
"This is for trying, for dedicating, for working hard and for putting myself last just so I could put her first," Ms Gomez writes. "This is for Motherhood - the good, the bad & the ugly. And I embrace it. All of it. Cause this too shall pass and the only way to go from here is up."
When a baby is born, so too is a mother, Ms Gomez says. And with that comes a "lifetime of lessons."
"So to all the mums out there going through their own struggles, whatever it may be, kudos to you for doing THE hardest job there is while still able to manage a smile just for your little ones. Here's to us!"
Ms Gomez added that her post was inspired by another mum, Alexandra, who also shared a candid post-baby photo and the truth about the "dark side" of motherhood. Like Ms Gomez's, Alexandra's message is also one of hope and strength - particularly to those experiencing postnatal depression.
"Cheers to you mamas who still cry about the marks on your skin from birthing your perfect babies!" she wrote. "Cheers to motherhood, cheers to knowing that this too shall pass! And things will get better."
Well, I know a lot of you guys are probably thinking 'why would she post this picture', but, it took me 18 months to get here, 18 months to not cry when I look in the mirror, 18 months to finally feel beautiful in my own skin again! No one warns you about the dark sides of motherhood and pregnancy.. no one gives you a heads up on how much you change physically and mentally after you become a mother. It's been a long and hard postpartum ride for me.. 18 months after my first son and 5 months after my second son I feel like I can finally see the light ✨ and it genuinely feels amazing💖 cheers to you mamas who are battling postpartum depression and still getting up everyday for your children! Cheers to you mamas who still cry about the marks on your skin from birthing your perfect babies! Cheer to motherhood, cheers to knowing that this too shall pass! And things will get better💗 #motherhood #breastmilk #breastfeeding #normalizebreastfeeding #mommyandme #tigerstripes #postpartum #postpartumdepression #babies #mombod #proud #inlove