Mothers don bikinis in body acceptance protest after mom taunted - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Mothers don bikinis in body acceptance protest after mom taunted

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A mother of five was ridiculed earlier this month because of the stretch marks on her stomach. (Source: CTV Network/CNN) A mother of five was ridiculed earlier this month because of the stretch marks on her stomach. (Source: CTV Network/CNN)

EDMONTON, Alberta (CTV Network/CNN) - A mother who says she was taunted at the beach for her belly-baring bikini is getting support from dozens of women.

They held a rally in Edmonton Wednesday to send a positive message about body image.

These women, many of them mothers, proudly showed off their flawed bellies.

"I wouldn't normally be doing this because it is kind of intimidating being out in public and be showing your tummy," Kristin Heimbecker said.

For some, it was the first time they'd ever worn a bikini.

"We have strength in numbers, so that's what we thought that moms are going to feel way more comfortable if we get together and do it, so that's why we did it this way," Keimbecker said.

The women went out of their comfort zone to support Tanis Jex-Blake, the mother of five ridiculed because of the stretch marks on her stomach.

"I put myself out there,” Jex-Blake said. “I was vulnerable, and you kicked me when I was down."

"My mind still goes back there,” Jex-Blake said. “But the support is helping."

That support helped the self-conscious mom strip down to the same pink bikini she was wearing that hurtful day at the beach.

"I think every mom out there is kind of afraid that their turn will come that somebody will be scowling at them, whether it's breast feeding in public or showing skin or anything like that," Heidi Taphorn said

Scott Gray was at Churchill Square with his kids, not for the rally. He says the ridicule is ridiculous.

"I think women should be allowed to dress with what they want I guess,” he said. “Like I got a wife with three kids, too, and she's got stretch marks, big deal. That was just totally nonsense, I think."

For Jex-Blake, the attention is still overwhelming.

"I don't know any of these people, but they've all come out to show their support, and they're all rocking their bikinis,” she said. “I love it."

"We really want people to realize that they should be loving their body for what it can do rather than how it looks, because our bodies are amazing,” Taphorn said. “They grow babies. We run marathons. We do all these amazing things, and all we care about it is how it looks."

Organizers hope those who couldn't attend the bare your belly rally will spread awareness by sharing words of encouragement and photographs on social media.

Copyright 2014 CTV Network via CNN. All rights reserved. 

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