Sometimes you don’t know what you need until it’s staring you in the face. The new ad campaign from Mothercare is a simple, powerful celebration of post-birth bodies that’s unexpectedly united new mums more than any sassy slogan sweatshirt can.

Of course, pictures trying to make us feel good about the vessel we recently expelled our babies from aren’t actually anything new – they’re a regular feature of the body positivity movement that’s been all over social media for a few years now. So, why has this particular campaign got people talking and, crucially, smiling more than those that have gone before? It’s probably because these are clearly and unapologetically just very normal mums – not celebrities, not even influencers – doing what we do every day, but looking a lot happier and less self-conscious about it than most of us.

But but but but but aren’t ads supposed to be aspirational, rather than reflecting our own boring lives back at us? Well, perhaps the power of this campaign, which Mothercare have called Body Proud Mums, is that it is aspirational, in that it’s made us realise what we really aspire to: love and contentment, even if they do come with a side order of stretch marks. It’s fitting that it took a brand as old-fashioned as Mothercare to remind us of this – until now, their naff name has evoked the drudgery of changing nappies and sterilising bottles, but perhaps it’s really about self-care too and a nudge that we should all try to love ourselves as well as our babies.

So, next time we’re running around the house in our underwear at 6.23am, clutching the baby while desperately trying to find some matching socks, we’re going to try and take a moment to look in the mirror and appreciate the lumps, bumps and marks that she’s responsible for (along with all the lumps, bumps and marks that are more a result of our first love, our sweet princess Nutella).

Of course, there’s always criticism. A moany minority think that the ad is cliquey because it fetishises motherhood and suggests a flawed body can only be considered beautiful if you’ve had kids. We get it, we do, and we’d love to see more campaigns like this that make all human beings feel good, but for now, can we just have this one? Because we need it, we really really need it.

Also: thanks Mothercare for the reminder that black underwear totally rules. Simple, chic and nobody will notice if your bra and knickers don’t technically match.

Pics: Mothercare