Dema #holdbabieslovebodies

We are all in a different part of our journey to #holdbabieslovebodies. Dema tells us about how her childhood, life before motherhood, and her postpartum journey led her to #holdbabieslovebodies:

Mother holding toddler in a green ring sling.
“This is me.”

Growing up, I have always struggled with my body image and with being overweight. I have always had a hard time loving it, respecting it, and treating it with the kindness it deserves. I was constantly reminded by those who were entrusted to raise me that my body wasn’t perfect. I was also always being compared to my size 0 sister and how I should be more like her. I wasn’t taught to love and respect my body no matter what it looked like. 

“It has always been so easy to look at myself in pictures or in the mirror and instantly start criticizing everything I see.”

I can’t even count how many times I have cancelled plans last minute or deliberately came up with excuses for not attending an event or meeting up with friends because I just hated the way I looked. I hated how my clothes looked on me. I hated how I could hear the voices of family members whispering in my head telling me I’m not pretty enough or good enough because I was overweight. At one point it got so bad that I didn’t want to leave the house anymore and whenever I did, I wore oversized t-shirts or hoodies (even in the scorching Florida heat) in an attempt to hide my body. 

Mother holding toddler in a green fin sling.

“Becoming a mom has made me so vulnerable and strong at the same time.”

It’s made me vulnerable in the sense that it’s easy to go to that place where I “hide” behind my postpartum body by using my two back to back pregnancies as a reason as to why I look the way I do. I weigh more now than I did in my early postpartum months. Clothes that fit me when I was just 4 months postpartum are too small on me at 11 months postpartum and that’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes. 
However, becoming a mom has also made me strong in ways I didn’t know I could be and has taught me so much about giving myself the grace that I needed while I was growing up to be kind to myself and love the skin I’m in. There is nothing wrong with wanting to change the way you look, but it is important to still value where you currently are in your journey. I do plan on working on myself but right now it just doesn’t feel like the time. I don’t feel motivated to do it no matter how much I want to. The thought of committing to any type of weight-loss routine in order to see physical results is just too much for me to handle mentally, emotionally, and physically. While I love being active and being outdoors, a weight-loss routine is a different ball park as many of us know. 

“...for the first time in my life I can smile and say that’s OKAY.”

My journey to motherhood wasn’t the smoothest and nowhere near my expectations. Saying I struggled is an understatement. I struggled with PPD for 16 months and a second unplanned pregnancy before getting help and getting medicated. After about 9 months of being medicated, I can finally say I feel some resemblance of ME and it feels so freaking great to feel in control after 16 months of dying on the inside. With that being said, adding pressure on myself to lose 50+ pounds right now and jeopardizing the progress I have made isn’t something I want to do and that is OKAY and for the first time in my life I can smile and say that it’s OKAY. 

Mother holding toddler in a ring sling.

I chose to participate in #holdbabieslovebodies because it was an opportunity to be raw and true in showing how far I’ve come in my journey of loving myself as I am. I want my kids to only know love, respect, and kindness towards their bodies--something I only started learning as an adult.