It's easy to believe that losing weight, especially after a pregnancy, unequivocally constitutes "progress." After all, the idea that shedding baby weight and slimming down ASAP permeates coverage of celebrity mothers and oozes into everyday conversations. But while there's definitely nothing wrong with being thin, women are realizing that it doesn't have to be the golden ideal, nor is it worth sacrificing some of life's greatest pleasures — namely, uh, cake and wine. One woman beautifully illustrated that point by proudly showcasing her pre- and post-kid "mom" body photos on Facebook, along with a truly empowering message about why she's more than happy with some cellulite and sag.
Mother of two Laura Mazzo posted the side-by-side before-and-after mirror selfies to the Facebook page for her blog, Mum on the Run, last month. For those of us conditioned to assume that a woman would publicly celebrate a change in her body only if the transition was from flabby and dimpled to sleeker and flatter, the "before" photos appears to be the "after" one. But that's not the case, and Mazzo is emphatic about why she's more that OK with that, calling hers "a victory story."
"The scars and stretch marks and jiggly tummy is because I made humans," Mazzo wrote. "I ate a little more cake, I drank a little more wine."
The Melbourne, Australia-based blogger describes in the text accompanying the photos that before she had her kids, she dieted aggressively and based her self-worth on her ability to achieve the body she believed was "socially acceptable." Two pregnancies later, she's learned to embrace the way her body looks now, which she characterizes as having being "thicker" with "[s]tretch marks" and having "a droopy belly button."
But for Mazzo, the body that society tends not to envy has been the one that's brought her the most joy, and she now knows that neither a flat stomach or a jiggly one defines her:
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.
I should admire myself. I should love myself.
I get it now. Celebrating all body types. All body types and the stories that go with that body. Above all, THE person should be celebrated. Healthy bodies should be celebrated. Healthy should be what we strive for. Healthy minds, healthy journey's and however that reflects on to our bodies, we should admire it.
Honestly, Mazzo's impressive ability to eloquently and effectively challenge social norms around the relationships that women have with their bodies is empowering for all women, not just moms. It reminds us that we should spend less time worrying about how our bodies look to others and more time examining how we feel, and what we can do to maintain our mental and physical health and happiness.
It's an important assertion — that we should spend more quality time with the people we love, indulge, and appreciate ourselves for all our positive attributes, not a number on a scale.