A mother who was shamed for her stretch marks while at the beach has struck a chord with thousands after writing a powerful open letter on Facebook to those who made fun of her.
Tanis Jex-Blake is a 33-year-old Canadian mother of five. On Tuesday, she was at Alberta Beach with her children when she decided to sunbathe in her bikini. It was the first time she had done so since giving birth to her first child 13 years ago, Canada’s Global News reported, but instead of a quiet, relaxing time, she heard people nearby mock her.
“All of a sudden I heard, ‘oh my god, look at that, that’s f***ing nasty, that’s disgusting, look how gross that is,’” she told the network. “So I peeked my eyes open and [two men and a woman] were standing above me, looking down, pointing at me and pretending to kick me as I lay there.”
After crying on the way home, Jex-Blake wrote an open letter to the offenders on Facebook.
I’m sorry if my first attempt at sun tanning in a bikini in public in 13 years “grossed you out”. I’m sorry that my stomach isn’t flat and tight. I’m sorry that my belly is covered in stretch marks. I’m NOT sorry that my body has housed, grown, protected, birthed and nurtured FIVE fabulous, healthy, intelligent and wonderful human beings. I’m sorry if my 33 year old, 125 lb body offended you so much that you felt that pointing, laughing, and pretending to kick me. But I’ll have you know that as I looked at your ‘perfect’ young bodies, I could only think to myself “what great and amazing feat has YOUR body done?”. I’ll also have you know that I held my head high, unflinching as you mocked me, pretending that what you said and did had no effect on me; but I cried in the car on the drive home. Thanks for ruining my day. It’s people like you who make this world an ugly hateful place. I can’t help but feel sorry for the women who will one day bear your children and become “gross” in your eyes as their bodies change during the miraculous process of pregnancy. I can only hope that one day you’ll realize that my battle scars are something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
Along with the letter, she posted a photo of her body in a pink bikini.
When Canada’s Hot 107 Edmonton radio station posted the pic on their Facebook Thursday it got more than 1 million likes and more than 200,000 shares.
“I think [my post] struck a cord with so many people because other than supermodels, nobody’s perfect,” Jex-Blake told Canada’s Metro. “Every mother, whether they have stretch marks or not, are embarrassed about our bodies because we don’t look like the supermodels. It struck a cord because every other mom out there, it could have been them.”
She is joining other local moms to host a “post-baby bikini sit-in,” according to Metro, to encourage other moms to have positive body images.
“I hope more moms feel confident about the way their bodies look after bearing children. These aren’t scars to be ashamed of. They are our badges of honor and we should wear them with pride. And I’d also like the mainstream media to stop forcing ‘perfection’ down our throats as ‘normal’ or ‘average’ because normal women will never measure up to a super model, and normal women don’t have every photo of them perfected with Photoshop. And there is definitely no photoshop on the beach in real time!,” Jex-Blake told The Huffington Post in an email.