About two dozen women gathered in Churchill Square Wednesday to bare their bellies in support of a mother who was mocked for her stretch marks last week.

Tanis Jex-Blake was sunbathing at Alberta Beach in a bikini when two men and a woman started talking about her, making comments about how “gross” her body was.

The mother of five said the people were hovering over her, pointing and “pretending to kick me as I laid there.”

It was the first time Jex-Blake had worn a bikini in 13 years.

“I was stretch marked and saggy, so I didn’t want to wear a bikini,” she said. “I could have easily gone home and cried and never worn my bikini in public again.”

bare bellies churchill square

One of the more than 20 women who bared their bellies in support of Tanis Jex-Blake. (Lisa MacGregor/CBC News)

Instead, Jex-Blake expressed her frustrations in an open letter on Facebook. Soon, the post went viral and her Facebook was flooded with messages of support from people around the world. The open letter has been shared by thousands online.

“[People were] saying you’re beautiful, and I appreciate my mom so much more because I read what you’ve written,” she said.

The women at Churchill Square on Wednesday wanted to bare their bellies proudly, just as Jex-Blake did.

Lindsay Verhagen just had her first baby seven months ago and is proud to be in a bikini.

“Everybody comes from some mom’s tummy,” said Verhagen. “I have to be proud of those so-called tiger marks.”

Jex-Blake, who joined the demonstration, offered advice for the many mother’s out there who are afraid to show off their bodies.

“Wear your bikini,” she said. “You should be proud. Your body has done amazing things.”