When blogger Laura Mazza posted side by side pictures on Facebook of herself in her underwear from before and after she gave birth to son Luca, 2, and daughter Sofia, 8 months, she acknowledged that hers was not a success story of weight loss. "But it is a victory story," she wrote.
"I pick up magazines, flick on the TV, or go on social media, and I'm constantly bombarded with thin images of beautiful women," Mazza told TODAY Parents. "These women are celebrities and they are glorified, and they are beautiful — nothing against them. However, it's imprinted into our heads in order to be loved or admired, we have to be just as thin as them."
Her body before she had babies, Mazza pointed out in her post, was free from stretch marks or scars, and she had a flat stomach. "I was always on a diet back then. And this was the best diet I went on," she wrote. "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. I ended up hating meat, and was always suffering from heartburn."
Mazza, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her children and husband, Domenic, wrote that her new, postpartum body sports stretch marks and eats a lot more than meat. "Fruit, vegetables, carbs; pasta, rice, cakes, chocolate. Sometimes 20 chicken nuggets," she said. But "the scars and stretch marks and jiggly tummy is because I made humans," she wrote. "I ate a little more cake, I drank a little more wine. I made mug cakes at 9 PM and snuggled on the couch with my husband."
But though she has struggled with accepting her new body — "This body didn't 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," she admitted in her Facebook post — she realizes now that although she was skinny before, she wasn't happy or healthy, and she wants that to change.
"I have achieved more with this body than I did 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 said.
Mazza told TODAY Parents that she has battled depression and anxiety for years, and she now takes medication, which also affects her weight. "But I'd rather be a good mum than an unhappy person, and I think mothers and women deserve to feel good in their skin and live their lives happily," she said. "Healthy looks different on a lot of people, and we should really remember that a person's mental health is just as important as their physical health."
She also hopes her children will treat their bodies better than she has treated her own in the past. "I want them to both love their bodies and be proud of their bodies, and I want them to know that they are capable of anything by using their brains and nurturing their bodies in healthy ways," she said.
Mazza's Facebook post now has over seven thousand Facebook likes. "I think women just like when other women say it how it is and get real," she said. "We are always pressured to be, act, or look a certain way, especially mothers. We are forced to be perfect, so it's refreshing when someone goes against that and says you are just free to be you!"
"No matter what size you are — a size 6 or size 60 — you deserve to celebrate it."