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Mar 22, 2018
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.
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.
"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'.
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.