When mum-of-three Laura Mazza found a photo of herself on her husband’s phone, she was horrified.
“I was flicking through my husband’s photos looking for a photo he took of the kids when I saw it,” the blogger told Mamamia.
“I think my reaction to it spoke volumes. I cringed, and I thought ‘God, I look disgusting’.”
But for Laura, coming across the photo that initially left her feeling “self conscious” soon inspired her to accept her body and influence others to do the same.
Sharing the photo of herself in a swimsuit on Instagram, Rachel described how seeing the photo her husband snapped reminded her of the times people have made her feel unhappy about her body in the past.
“It reminded me of when I took a photo of me and my newborn son and someone asked me if I wanted to try a scrub that got rid of acne scars and a cream that rid me of dark lines under the eyes – I had been in labour for 14 hours,” Laura wrote on Instagram.
“But it made me feel bad about myself, even though I was feeling euphoric.”
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I saw this photo in my husbands phone, and I said “why the hell would you take a photo of me at that angle?” I became so self conscious. But why? It reminded me when I took a photo of me and my newborn son and someone asked me if I wanted to try a scrub that got rid of acne scars and a cream that rid me of dark lines under the eyes – I had been in labour for 14 hours. But it made me feel bad about myself, even though i was feeling euphoric. I also once had a girl tell me quietly that my dress would look better if I had some spanx on – I had a cesarean three months prior to that. I loved the way I looked in that dress. I asked a Facebook group about the best physio for muscle separation and was bombarded with sales for stomach wraps. I asked a friend to help me find bathers and she said “right, straight to the plus size section, they have the best Tummy control” All of these were women. I don’t blame them. I’m not angry. This is what society has taught them, this is what cultural pressures have led them to believe and so much so, that they feel it’s okay to say it to their fellow sisters as if it’s helping us. It’s hammered into us, you give birth. You bounce back. You don’t? And you’re lazy. You’re not trying hard enough. You have to justify yourself to everyone of why your body has changed so much… but the reality is, it’s because you had a fucking baby. Why is that so shameful? I have cellulite. So does most of the population. We all have uteruses, and organs and some of us have evidence of a place where a baby once lived, and that’s why our bellies are the way they are. Imagine if we just spent time appreciating all that we can do, the amazing life creating vessels that we are, instead of trying to scrub, wrap, and hide all that we have done? Imagine we valued ourselves and each other like we deserved to be. Imagine how better we would all feel? Body confidence starts within, but our surroundings are responsible for it too. So my husbands response? “You looked so happy!”… that’s all he saw, not my cellulite, not my imperfections. He saw a happy wife enjoying a moment, and he was right. I was happy. I am happy, That’s all that matters.
The blogger, who runs website The Mum on the Run also noted that mothers are often expected to immediately ‘bounce back’ after giving birth.
“It’s hammered into us. You give birth then you bounce back. You don’t? And you’re lazy. You’re not trying hard enough,” Laura wrote.