Body Positivity Advocate, Taylor Mitchell, Challenges Beauty Standards Within the Instagram Pregnancy Space
This South Carolina-based blogger is redefining what it means to live with stretch marks. She shared how she worked to destigmatize them and the postpartum body in a digital world.
In her early 20s, Taylor Mitchell served as a paralegal to four different attorneys in South Carolina. However, all of that changed when Taylor became pregnant with her first child, Charlotte. Taylor quit her job so that she could dedicate her time to being a full-time mother. But getting pregnant and delivering two babies didn’t come without its own challenges.
“It took us about 11 months before we finally were able to conceive our second daughter. 11 months was really hard, especially in the social media world, because every day, you get on social media, you see a pregnancy announcement, and it really took a toll on me,” Taylor explains. “And not long after that, I was just over 12 weeks pregnant. I had started bleeding really bad and went to the emergency room and found out that the baby didn’t have a heartbeat, and that I have miscarried.”
Coupled with miscarrying, Taylor’s body also developed stretch marks, a natural byproduct of pregnancy. As she scrolled through Instagram, realistic depictions of pregnant women were absent from the app. “You see no stretch marks, the perfect bellies, and you really never see the ones that have stretch marks. But it’s crazy because so many women have stretch marks,” Taylor says.
Seeing these unrealistic beauty standards on Instagram took a toll on Taylor’s mental health. “I kept thinking to myself, I’m never going to be able to show my belly because my belly doesn’t look like that. I was so depressed about that,” she recalls.
After witnessing the lack of representation of stretch marks on social media, Taylor took her story to Instagram with the hopes of catalyzing a bigger conversation around body positivity during pregnancy and postpartum. “I started posting more pictures showing my stretch marks and the response was insane. People were like, oh my god, my belly looks like that. I knew there was a whole community out there that went through this, had gone through this, and I wanted to make sure I shared my experience as best I could,” she says.
Within seconds of scrolling through Taylor’s Instagram, you’ll find photos that exude her bravery and resilience. In one post, Taylor holds her baby, unveiling her stretch marks with a message that she wanted to embrace her true form. In another post, Taylor holds her second born child, Chipper and in the caption, explains how difficult it has been to deliver both of her babies.
“Charlotte, her first child, had to be delivered at 36 weeks due to preeclampsia and was in the Nicu for almost a week. Her delivery was extremely traumatic, I spent four days in labor and never progressed and ended up needing an emergency c-section. I made the decision to have a scheduled c-section with Chipper, her second child. I wanted his delivery so badly to be different than Char’s,” Taylor explains.
It’s her stretch mark and pregnancy complication stories that would resonate with thousands of Instagram community members and the paralegal-turned-blogger’s Instagram account would grow to over 48,000 community members because of this.
During Taylor’s second pregnancy, she began using the Evereden Golden Belly Serum to help with her stretch marks. “A lot of my stretch marks are super deep and it definitely helps with that,” Taylor shares. “I felt like it nourished my skin.”
Despite the challenges that Taylor faced, in navigating the changes to her body during pregnancy and postpartum, Taylor learned the most important skill: to love herself. “It’s not easy to look at your stomach. A few years ago, I had to coach myself. Remember, you had two babies. You grew those babies and your skin had to grow to be able to have those babies. And through that, I’ve found those kinds of pep talks ultimately helped with my confidence overall because I’m proud I’ve carried three babies,” Taylor says. “One of the positive sides that I’ve found is truly learning to love yourself and to love yourself through the changes. Having the serum be a part of my self care routine absolutely helps my confidence!”