Young mum posts 'shocking' photo of sagging belly covered in stretch marks, gains support from netizens

PHOTO: Facebook/Doreen Ching

Stretch marks - or a mother's 'tiger stripes' as they're sometimes called - are the bane, or worry, of many mums-to-be.

Despite the stigma, one woman in Malaysia bravely bared her pregnancy scars online, attracting some mean comments but also an outpouring of support from netizens around the world.

The 23-year-old Malaysian woman bemoaned how the loose skin on her belly and deep stretch marks have caused her to suffer emotionally and gave her an 'inferiority complex'.

In the photo and caption uploaded to her social media pages on March 15, Johor resident Doreen Ching described how the skin covering her stomach was no longer the same again after the birth of her quadruplets more than two years ago.

壬辰纹以上很多人都误会 但我要澄清一点 那是我的肋骨 生完孩子肚皮松弛 所以很容易看到肋骨 角度问题

Posted by Doreen Ching on Thursday, March 15, 2018

Said Ching, who is a seller of weight-loss and beauty products: "You can't see it in photos, but when you see my stomach up close you'll get a shock... This is the price to pay. Even if you have money you won't be able to erase the marks.

READ ALSO: Skin woes during pregnancy

"I thought to myself, I'm only 21, will my tummy be forever scarred?

"After birth, the first thing I did was look at my tummy and I burst into tears.

"The scarring is so severe, it has basically destroyed my skin's structure. Laser treatments can't do anything as well.

"Till this day, after more than two years, I still find it hard to accept that it's still like that and it gives me an inferiority complex.

"The hardest thing in the world is to be a mum. Why do we suffer to get pregnant? Why do we go through so much to give birth? Why must women go through the suffering? Why not men?"

At the end, she even asks her husband to "return my tummy to me".

Her post, which garnered more than 23,000 reactions and has been shared more than 12,000 times, struck a chord with many netizens, even among men.

While some expressed shock over her "scary"-looking marks, many praised Ching for her courage and sacrifice as a mother.

Despite the encouragement, not all reactions to her photo were positive.

In a follow-up post the next day, Ching said she'd received mean comments on her photo, calling it 'ugly', 'disgusting', with someone saying it 'made me feel like vomiting'.

当昨天我发了一篇生了四胞胎后的丑肚皮👦🏻👦🏻👦🏻👧🏻 看到很多人评论 很多人评论很丑啊 很恶心啊 很想吐啊 还有些男人直接说 就是你们女人那么爱生 等等的话语 想想世界上应该大把有壬辰纹的女人吧👩请你们尊重全世界的女性 你妈你老婆也是女人...

Posted by Doreen Ching on Friday, March 16, 2018

She added that some men even put the blame on women for wanting kids.

To these men and haters, she said: "Think about it, there are probably many women around the world who have stretch marks. Please respect them. Your mum, your wife, they are all women who can bring children into the world, can you?"

Ching's post has since gone viral online, attracting media attention around Asia and across the globe from Thailand and Taiwan to UK, Germany and Spain.

candicec@sph.com.sg