Mommy blogger Laura Mazza, who goes by "Mum on the Run," might not be as thin as she was before she had children but that doesn't mean she isn't healthy. In fact, now with cellulite and stretch marks, she's finally ready to celebrate and accept her body for all its worth.
"No, this isn't a before and after shot of weight loss," she captioned a side-by-side image that has been shared almost 2,000 times. "But it is a victory story."
The left side is pre-babies. "No stretch marks or scars from belly button piercings," she wrote. "A belly button that was high. A flat stomach."
Her body currently, which can be seen in the photo on the right, has stretch marks and cellulite. Which, according to society and the influx of digitally altered advertisements and editorials, is "not a body to be admired."
And it's because of this that she didn't love her post-pregnancy body, and instead, believed she needed to be skinny. "The scars and stretch marks and jiggly tummy is because I made humans," she wrote. "But for some reason, I didn't love this body ... 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."
"THIS body should be celebrated and admired."
Before she had children, Lazza used to take progress images, like the photo on the left, because it meant she was closer to a weight that allowed her to love herself. "I loved it because I was losing weight rapidly and the more bones that protruded the more I valued myself," she wrote. "I remember people asking me what my exercise routine was ... They admired me. I admired me! I bought a whole new wardrobe. I was so proud. I showed off my body."
But she realized that she didn't need anyone else's approval of her body or to fit in with one ideal image of beauty and, in the post, emphasizes that just because she had a thin physique doesn't mean that her body was healthy. She said, "I want to be skinny. But shit, when I was, I wasn't happy. And I certainly wasn't healthy ... I have achieved more with this body then I have with my old body ... 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 ... No matter what size you are, a size 6 or size 60. You deserve to celebrate it."
Over 300 people have commented on her Facebook post, with many voicing their support and sharing their own insecurities.
"Love your body, because you truly, really, really only get one."
"I hated myself for so long. Then I decided I couldn't keep hating 'me' because my body is a part of who I am," one wrote. "I needed to read this to remind myself that my body is legendary and deserves to be loved by me, regardless of the fact that my body is getting bigger much, much faster than with my first," said another.
"Thank you. [A] great message that cuts through the opposing messages our culture bombards us with every day of our lives," said another commenter.
Mazza joins a growing group of mommy bloggers and influencers like Constance Hall and Chrissy Teigen attempting to remove the stigma and expectations associated with post-baby bodies. Because not everyone is able to — or wants to — get their old body back or immediately "drop the baby weight."
"Love your body, because you truly, really, really only get one," Mazza wrote.