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Why postpartum mums need to see more real and honest advertising

This week, I was bowled over by the Mothercare campaign celebrating women and mums around the world.

I’ll declare my colours from the start here, I’m a Mothercare ambassador so naturally, I already have a strong affinity and general appreciation for what the retailer does. However, this goes far beyond that and I feel they deserve to be applauded for what is some very progressive and effective advertising.

The #BodyProudMums campaign tells the story of various real-life mums who are all posing with their beautiful babies and are anything from about 11 to 29 weeks post-birth. Their bodies are real, the photos are raw. They display the scars and stretch marks and weight gain that comes with having a baby. They are the most relatable images I’ve seen in quite some time. I’d go as far as to say this is the most progressive ad campaign I’ve ever seen.

These real images are simply a reminder of the miracle our bodies have achieved. The magic, strength and beauty that women possess and the amazing, incredible things our bodies are capable of. Having a newborn baby is a wonderful time but it’s also stressful…when you worry about every little thing and find one worry replaces the last. Or maybe that was just me! From the retailer’s point of view, they cleverly remind us that they don’t just consider the baby and mum is right up there too.

It also serves as a reminder that all too often we see images of post-baby bodies on social media that are unrealistic and serve to only put undue pressure on new mums to bounce back to their original shape in unrealistic timeframes. Yes, a bit of glamour or an aspirational image is no harm, it’s escapism and gives us a goal in terms of fitness and health but in this case, Mothercare has nailed it. Mothers are amazing, they have achieved something incredible. As mums, we should be proud of what our bodies can do.

When we see an ad campaign like this one you can’t help but wonder why there aren’t more. Dove did something quite refreshing recently when they used women of all shapes and sizes in their ad campaign and they were definitely commended for it.

At the other end of the scale, Smart Water was criticized for the hideous, not-so-smart tag line, ‘smart is the new sexy’ where they featured a gorgeous image of Jennifer Anniston. I’m sure Jen would be mortified if she saw that tag line. I’m pretty sure smart has been sexy for quite some time!

Interestingly I googled the ad campaign and it was tricky for me to even find one of the images with that tag line. The US versions seem to say ‘smarter’ things like ‘Sip, Pour, Connect’. Not quite as cringe.

So, in summary, I’m not suggesting we don’t get served up glam pics and aspirational images but it would be nice to see more REAL advertising that we can all relate to, feel good about ourselves and celebrate the beauty of motherhood. More honest advertising, please.


Check out my article on Herfamily.ie