Photo: What Real Moms Look Like After Having a Baby

Women's bodies change after they have a baby. But you might not know that looking at celebs like Jessica Alba after they give birth. That's why, when a member of CT Working Moms, an online community for women balancing work and family, confessed to her co-workers that she was scared to click on a link to see "Beyonce's Body After Baby," the group decided to strip down to their leggings and jog bras and having a photog capture their post-baby beauty for all the Interweb to see.

The ladies wrote: "It's so easy to feel bad about ourselves when we see articles about celebs who within a few weeks of giving birth look like they never even gave birth in the first place -- flat tummies, no stretch marks...In order to fight back against these unattainable body image ideals, let's be open with each other about what our postpartum bellies/bodies look like."

While they're not the first to do so (remember the amazing "The Shape of a Mother"?), they are certainly our latest inspiration. "It was a completely liberating moment," wrote Dena Fleno, one of the seven moms photographed. "For me, I know I am far from what I may ultimately want my body to look like, but I know I have never felt more beautiful and accepting of my body than I did that night. This turned out to be more than just a photo shoot to show what real mommy bellies look like...Shedding our shirts and revealing the places where we grew humans...felt so freeing, inspiring  and powerful it is hard to put it into words."

I admire them. Personally, I'm having a hard time embracing my post-babies body. It's the squish, mostly -- the waterbed-like consistency of my middle. Will I post my belly on the Internet? Not yet. (But CT Moms are hoping you'll want to. They've created a reader photo gallery for that purpose).

But here's what I will do: I have three bathing suits waiting for me this summer. One is a modest black one-piece. One is a tankini with all that extra Spandex, which supposed to suck in your gut, but really makes getting out of your swimsuit an acrobatic exercise. Finally, there's the yellow polka-dot bikini purchased online while a tad tipsy and inspired. I promise you, this summer at the beach with my two kiddos, I will wear the hell out of that polka-dot number. And as I chase them in the water, I will be proud that my squishy middle carried those nuggets.

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