July 15 2020 – Gianna Shawley
We are all in a different part of our journey to #holdbabieslovebodies. Ileana shares a little about how her support system and pregnancy led her to #holdbabieslovebodies:
Q. Did you struggle with your body growing up?
A. Probably as much as the average young female--always wanting what I didn't have. I'm half Vietnamese and my hair has always been pretty straight. As a kid, I was so envious of my friends with curly hair. I even talked my mom into letting me get a perm (which didn't take) and made my hair smell terrible for a year.
Thankfully, I had a supportive and unique group of friends throughout high school and did not feel pressure concerning my body image. Once I got to college, my body started changing more. I gained weight and some curves too. I viewed this very negatively at first, but now, especially after having my son, I'm so proud of what my body can do.
Q. What did you love about your body before becoming a parent?
A. In the last few years before becoming a parent I've really loved my eyes. They're one of my only features that hints at me being Vietnamese. They aren't very obvious, but they remind me of my bi-racial background (which has shaped who I am).
Q. How has parenthood changed that?
A. It hasn't! It only makes me happier to see traces of myself in my son's eyes. :-)
Q. Do you want something different than your own experience for your children?
A. I want to encourage them to embrace who they are from the start rather than realizing how special they are as an adult, which is how I feel about my own experience.