Sports Illustrated model Kelly Hughes has become the first-ever woman to show off her C-section scar in the magazine – as she proudly flaunted her postpartum mark in a skimpy bikini.

This will be the first time this has ever happened in the the iconic magazine's 58-year history.

Sports Illustrated Swim collaborated with pregnancy and postpartum brand Frida Mom for the empowering beachside shoot as part of its new Pay with Change initiative.

Kelly posted one of the swimwear pictures from the magazine to her Instagram feed and opened up about how much it meant to her in her caption.

She said: "'I am speechless and so honoured to be in @si_swimsuit 2022 as the FIRST woman to expose her C-section scar in [the] magazine's history!' she wrote.

'This partnership with @fridamom #paywithchange partnership to normalise and embrace the changes with a woman’s body, especially when becoming a mum is so amazing to be a part of.

'I struggled with insecurities from my scar being that I’m a model and my incredibly difficult recovery but it wasn’t until I "embraced my scar that I experienced the true power in it."'

She also spoke about how personal this shoot was to her in her Instagram stories, noting: "We all age, we all have insecurities, we all have things in life that we would maybe just change, but when it comes to birthing, that scar means so, so much to me because it's my son,' she explained. 'It's everything that means everything to me.'

Another image from the shoot shows her posing next to a palm tree in a pink string bikini with low-cut bottoms that reveal her scar.

At the time, the model though that a C-section was the "worst thing that could have happened".

The model is constantly posting pictures of her beautiful baby boy on her Instagram so that fans can follow her journey.

After giving birth to her son is 2018 she wrote: "Motherhood has already proven to be the most beautiful selfless act of love possible.

"I wanted to share my birth story because we all have a plan and no matter what it is when it comes to birthing nothing really matters in the end except a healthy baby and a healthy mummy."

She explained that she studied hypnobirthing and planned on a vaginal birth, but after 38 hours in labour, she still wasn't dilating past 7 cm. Her doctor decided to do a C-section to keep the baby safe.

Kelly said: ""To me a C-section was the worst thing you could tell me.

"I had a healthy pregnancy, studied this amazing plan, gone to classes, recommended this plan to many friends and believed in it.

"I had a vision of how birthing was going to be and I was so excited to experience it.

"I was willing to cave on some things but a C-section was not one I even thought of being a possibility

"'Nevertheless my baby was born absolutely perfect so I forgot all about it."

Kelly's spread in the upcoming issue of SI Swim is meant to show the beauty of all paths to motherhood, especially C-section births, while normalising the conversation around postpartum recovery and bodies.

Chelsea Hirschhorn, Frida founder and CEO, said in a statement: "Joining Sports Illustrated as its first official Pay With Change brand partner is a perfect fit for Frida Mom because they have a valuable platform to disrupt the traditional narrative around women's bodies — especially those they feature who are mothers.

"We’re thrilled that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit appreciates the importance of highlighting these women authentically — C-Section scars and all — and welcome the progress we will make together as a result of this shared commitment."

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