Leah Messer shared a candid body positivity post on Instagram on July 14 in which she showed off her stretch marks during a beach day.

Leah, 29, posted several photos of herself rocking an orange bikini with her stomach and stretch marks proudly on display. In a lengthy caption, the Teen Mom 2 star opened up about body acceptance. 

She began her caption with thoughts she’s had about herself and her body. “What you see vs. what is real,” Leah wrote. “‘I should get the tummy tuck. I’m so embarrassed by my stretch marks. I don’t like my nose. I should be more toned. I should try that laser removal.’ The list could go on.”

“All of these I’ve told myself far too many times. But why? Is it social media? Is it the century we’re in? Is this society conforming to the ideology that we have to meet a certain criteria of perfection eternally,” she continued. “What is it? Why do we tell ourselves these things?”

The mother of three added, “It seems far too often that I see or hear of women speaking so negative over their bodies/appearance. I say all of this because it genuinely breaks my heart and I want you to know that you’re not alone.”

“I pray that every woman out there knows that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL despite anything your mind, society, or anyone else’s comments might try to convince you,” Leah said. She then urged her followers to tag her in a photo challenge she called, “What You See vs. What Is Real.”

“I’m definitely stepping out of my comfort zone with this one BUT let’s make real the new social media trend!” she concluded her empowering post, before adding the hashtags “ILY,” “Go Higher With Purpose” and “Make This A Headline,” along with a kissing face with closed eyes emoji.

In May, Leah opened up about her health and exclusively revealed to In Touch that she had a breast cancer scare. She explained why it was a “difficult” decision for her to share her medical journey on the MTV series.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to film, and I was afraid that they would make that my entire season. And it just was something that I felt like I wanted to handle in privacy, alone,” Leah said at the time.

The West Virginia native revealed that a conversation she had with daughter Addie’s paternal grandmother is part of the reason why she decided to film after all. Leah is mom to daughters Addie, 7, Ali and Aleeah. 

“She’s a breast cancer survivor herself,” Leah said. “And she was like, ‘Leah, this is something that I think you really should talk about on camera.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I’m doing it for you all.’ It was difficult. And it was concerning. And it was a lot of emotions that [were] coming up for me around that time. So, I just, I don’t know. I think it’s important to talk about [it] when it revolves around women’s health. And it’s something that I’m very passionate about having three daughters, so.”

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