Laura Mazza, who blogs at The Mum on the Run, shared a before-and-after photo of herself that showcases two drastically different body types, but it's not for the reason you'd expect.
The Australian mother of two posted a side-by-side photo of herself to Facebook. On the left is an image of herself before ever having children. In it, she's thin and fit. On the right is her body after having children. At first glance, someone may see the photo and yearn to have Mazza's body before childbirth, but the message that accompanied this photo encourages moms everywhere to love both their before and after baby bodies.
Before she got pregnant for the first time, Mazza went on a diet she describes as the "best diet" she has ever tried. "I ate no carbs, and barely any vegetables. Just meat. But I loved it because I was losing weight rapidly and the more bones that protruded the more I valued myself," she wrote in the Facebook post. "I ended up hating meat, and was always suffering from heartburn. But still I looked at this photo, this image of myself, like I was fat. There was nothing wrong with the way I looked. My body was mine."
Mazza goes on to explain that people admired her body and she was greatly proud of it. She treated herself by buying new clothes and showing off her body.
But, after childbirth, Mazza's body changed. "On the right is me now. Stretch marks. A droopy belly button. Thicker, not many bones protruding, but more dimples that represent cellulite. People don't want to see this photo. All of a sudden it's not okay. It's not pleasing to the eye anymore. It's not a body to be admired," she wrote. "The scars and stretch marks and jiggly tummy is because I made humans. I ate a little more cake, I drank a little more wine. I made mug cakes at 9pm and snuggled on the couch with my husband. But for some reason, I didn't love this body. It's sad."
Mazza did not treat her post-baby body the same way she treated her thin, all-meat diet one.
"This body didnt deserve sexy underwear, or a new wardrobe. Sometimes I didn't even want to take pregnancy photos because I was ashamed of how big I looked. I didn't admire this body," she wrote. "I want to be skinny. But shit, when I was, I wasn't happy. And I certainly wasn't healthy."
New mom or not, most people struggle with loving their bodies for all of their imperfections. Gaining weight can feel like failure, but Mazza decided to change her attitude about her new body.
"I have achieved more with this body, then I have with my old body. I've eaten more good foods. I've lived more, I've given more, I've enjoyed more. I've made life. This body, THIS body should be celebrated and admired," she wrote.
Our bodies are going to change in both big and small ways throughout our lives, but Mazza's post reminds us that we should work to love our bodies at any stage. Even if we're on a mission to change our bodies by getting in better shape or eating healthier, we can still find reason to be proud of the skin we're in.
Mazza admits that looking at that old photo of herself is not easy. "I still want to look like the first photo, no doubt. I miss that body, it makes me sad. But I want to get there in a healthy way, mentally and physically. I want to be proud and at peace with this body. And I want to like what I've got now," she wrote. "No.. I want to love what I've got now."
"No matter what size you are, a size 6 or size 60. You deserve to celebrate it. Sexy underwear AND a new wardrobe. So love your body, because you truly really really, only get one!"
Mazza's message has been shared nearly 700 times since she first posted it to Facebook just a few days ago, Hopefully, other moms who are learning to learn their postpartum bodies will find comfort and inspiration from her post.