The following post was written by Joanna Venditti of Nesting Story, who shares her adventures in raising her four kids. As her twins reach the seven-month mark, Joanna shares her thoughts on her own body image and what it means to be healthy.
Isn't it incredible what the human body can do? Or better yet, what a woman's body can do? I have had four children, including twins, in the span of five years. Yes, my body did that! Today our youngest, Mia and Everly, are seven months old and I am trying to wake up every morning to work out before everyone else is up. Most days I succeed and I am actually starting to see my body come back. But it has been through a war.
Since I was young I struggled with my weight, always being a little on the heavy side. I would tend to compensate with my bubbly personality and spend a lot of time on my hair and makeup. Finally, while in college, I reached my goal weight by working out and dieting A LOT. Back then my sole purpose was to turn heads. I know, that's pretty shallow, but it's true. I was already dating my now husband Mike, and knew that he would love me whatever size I was, but I still craved walking into a room and having all eyes on me.
Although my weight fluctuated, I knew tricks on how to lose 10 pounds scarily fast, especially for our wedding and honeymoon. I wouldn't say I ever had an eating disorder, but I know that my weight control was coming from a place where I felt I had to punish my body.
Getting pregnant and watching my belly grow while expecting our first two kids was so exciting and I was able to drop almost every one of those 50 lbs I gained with each pregnancy… but again it was coming from this negative and frustrating place.
When I found out I was expecting twins I couldn't wrap my mind around how enormous I was going to get. I was already well known for having huge basketball-size bellies whenever I was pregnant, but growing two babies at once??? To be honest, I was kind of freaking out about it.
I finally made the decision that I would disassociate my body from my mind during my twin pregnancy and think of my body as a vessel. Guess what . . . that worked! In-fact anytime I'd start panicking about my size I would say to myself "you are a vessel, you are a vessel". It became my mantra.
Although I coped with my size and weight gain really well during my twin pregnancy, after having my girls was a different story. My postpartum body was literally bruised and battered. My distracting enormous but adorable baby bump had been deflated and I was left with mush, bruising, swollen ankles and healing from a C-section. I had this sadness for my body. I felt so badly for it with the state it was in and at the same time was so grateful for what it had done. It had safely created two humans and carried them for 37 weeks and 4 days. It had been touch and go at times but my body did it!
I made the decision to be kind to my body from now on. Eat healthy foods, indulge here and there and not beat myself up about it. I also wanted to get in shape again, especially knowing I was finished having children. I would take my time. But this time is different. I have simple goals that are for me and no one else. I want to be strong. I am over hurting my back when I pick up a baby. I want to be flexible. No more pulling my neck while reaching for a pacifier that has fallen under a crib. I want to go to my closet and feel good in whatever I put on. No more pulling at waistlines and being limited to leggings (although I will never entirely give up my leggings).
I get it, I am the something mom now with four kids and I am really proud of that. I am so much more confident with my body than I ever have been before. Anytime I start doubting my new curves or war wounds I look around the room and ask myself, how many other people in this room grew two people inside their body at once?