A mum-of-5 who was shamed on the beach for showing her stretch marks in a bikini, has written a heartfelt letter to the three people who ridiculed her in public.
Canadian Tanis Jex-Blake has published her letter on Facebook, and it's gone viral. When you read it below, you'll understand why.
Tanis was at Alberta Beach with her kids when she decided to sunbathe in her bikini. It was the first time she’d worn a bikini in public since giving birth to her first child 13 years ago. But instead of tentatively enjoying her newfound body confidence, the 33-year-old was left in tears.
"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 Canada’s Global News. "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."
Tanis managed to hold it together on the beach, but broke down in tears once she reached her car. Once home, she decided to write a letter to the people who had taunted her and then posted it on Facebook.
A Canadian radio station picked up her story on its Facebook page, and got an instant reaction, with many women posting pictures of their own stretch marks.
Tanis' letter has now gone global alongside a picture of Tanis in her bikini. The letter says:
"This is an open letter to the 2 guys and 1 girl who decided to skip work today in Sherwood Park where they were building a house, but instead decided to come to Alberta Beach to relax in the sun, enjoy the water and some beers.
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."
The post has since had over a million likes.
"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."
Do you have stretch marks? Do you cover them up or get them out on the beach? Let us know in the comments below…