A mother has launched a campaign to inspire other women to be proud their stretch marks, after struggling to accept her body following the birth of her son
Part-time model Talmesha Jones explained how she felt very conscious of her post-baby stretch marks after the birth of son Chase five years ago, but is now embracing her ‘tiger stripes’.
The 27-year-old, from San Antonio, Texas, said her confidence reached an all-time low after she received abuse online over how she looked, adding that she would refuse to even look at herself in the mirror.
But when a photographer friend decided to convince her to take part in a photoshoot for the first time since giving birth, Talmesha decided ‘enough was enough’.
Mother Talmesha Jones, from San Antonio, Texas, has launched an online campaign encouraging women to embrace their stretch marks
She launched a Instagram hashtag called ‘Tiger Stripes On A Tuesday’ – challenging the stigma attached to stretch marks and encouraging women from around the world to post pictures of their post-baby bodies.
Talmesha explained: ‘Being pregnant, it changed my body a lot. It resulted in me getting stretch marks, wrinkles and extra skin. The stretch marks are pretty much everywhere now.
‘It made me very self-conscious. I didn’t like to look at myself in the mirror. When I did, I would just cry and sob about it. I would continuously suck my stomach in or like stretch my skin out.
‘I started to realise they weren’t going anywhere and constantly bringing myself down about it wasn’t positive, it wasn’t helping me in any way.’
Explaining her decision to launch her campaign, she added: ‘So my hashtag all started out as a photo of me embracing my tiger stripes and it was Tuesday – so I was like tiger stripes on a Tuesday.
The mother-of-one described how she struggled with her self-confidence following the birth of her son Chase five years ago
Talmesha, pictured before giving birth, said she felt very conscious about the way her body had changed
‘And basically what I do is every Tuesday, I share a story from a different woman anywhere in the world telling people how she got her tiger stripes.
‘I’m trying to teach people that it’s more than just a mark. I’m trying to teach people that it’s absolutely beautiful.’
Talmesha said she was taken aback with the amount of support she received online and how many women were reaching out to share their own experiences with stretch marks.
She said: ‘I like to share body positive posts that encourage other mothers to be comfortable with their skin.
Her confidence reached such a low point that she would even refuse to look in the mirror
However, her attitude changed after a friend convinced her to take part in a photoshoot for the first time after giving birth
The mother-of-one described how she would receive abuse online from people asking why her stomach looked like that
‘I never imagined that there would be so many stories from women telling me how I have made them be comfortable with their stretch marks and be comfortable with their body image in general.
‘I’m very proud of what I have achieved so far. I never in a million years thought that I would impact so many people and have this influence over anyone. Especially coming from a low self-esteem place before.
‘I mean the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to me would be, ‘”Why does your stomach look like that?” – I think that one really hurts the most because it’s like I have a son you know? So how dare you.’
Photographer friend Johnthan Benton has supported Talmesha throughout her career and can see how far she has come.
Talmesha is now encouraging other women to share pictures of their post-baby bodies online
The part-time model, pictured left before she had a baby, and right after, said she doesn’t understand why stretch marks are stigmatised so much
Johnathan said: ‘I first photographed her back in 2009. After the baby, she was really-really body conscious. She got into a little bit of a depressive state.
‘What made her change her outlook was realising that it could be something that makes her unique and makes her special.
‘You know stretch marks – everybody has them. I think they are stigmatised so much because of the perception in the media.
‘It doesn’t make sense to me, like I said, everybody has stretch marks so why not just bring them out?’
Talmesha Jones showed off her stunning figure in a photo shoot wearing just her underwear
The part-time model showed that she knows how to work her angles as she struck a pose
Although Talmesha’s stretch marks have caused her great distress in the past, she now admits she wouldn’t change them – and hopes that many other women will begin to have a similar outlook.
‘I absolutely believe that one day everyone will think that stretch marks are a sexy thing, that they’re beautiful and it will no longer have a stigma behind it,’ Talmesha said.
‘If I had a chance to get rid of my stretch marks, fully – would I? No. I wouldn’t.
‘It would feel wrong to erase such a huge part of myself and it has helped me find who I was.’
Talmesha said she hopes that one day stretch marks will be seen as ‘sexy’ and nothing to hide
Talmesha looks through some of the modelling photographs she took before motherhood