#strengthfromwithin, in collaboration with Rock The Naked Truth.
Today we have Denise, 26, who shared with us her journey of becoming a new mom, and a new struggle with her post-partum body.
There’s so much more to a women than to be defined by the dress size she’s wearing.
May her story inspire you, as much as it inspires us.
When did you start struggling with your body/weight? Did it get worse over the years?
I feel that I’ve always been quite conscious of my body weight, especially when my own family members would say that I look fat in certain outfits, my thighs are getting bigger etc. And when I got pregnant and gave birth, body weight definitely became a even bigger struggle!
What and when was the worst of your body struggles?
I feel that the months after giving birth were the worst! & especially when I had the expectation that I would get back to my pre pregnant weight pretty soon but it didn’t happen.
What do you think caused you to feel so insecure about yourself?
Having a job that depends heavily on how you look, family members that won’t hesitate to give comments on your body are all contributing factors that made me really insecure.
In your life, were there any traumatic incidents or major adversities that happened to you? What happened and how did you cope with it? Did it affect your body image?
When my cervix didn’t dilate during my labour & I had to go through an emergency c sect, it was something that hit me really hard and it made recovery much much slower for me. And I couldn’t get around to exercising until almost 6 weeks post partum & occasionally I still feel pain at the scar area, even until now. Also having the scar right at my pelvis made it difficult to lose the “belly fat” in that area.
When was the turning point where you started to think differently about your body?
It took me very long and I think sometimes I am still very conscious with how I look/ my body weight. But I have a community of mum friends that were really supportive & gave constant reminders that women’s body is so strong and nurturing.
Our body did an amazing thing when it carried a whole life in us and body image/weight should really be the least of our concerns. As long as we have recovered well from the childbirth, that’s all that really matters.
What is your take on body image now?
I’d like to think that body weight/ looking skinny/slim/ is not the same as being strong, and if anything, I’d like to have a strong and healthy body instead of my sole focus being on looking skinny.
Did pregnancy + childbirth affect your struggles with body/weight?
Definitely! It really added on to my insecurities. My arms were so fat, I hated wearing sleeveless shirts (and until now I still am struggling with this) but I try to cut myself some slack la. Being a mother makes me worry enough about my child, I try and tell myself I don’t need additional worries (about body weight). And when I started exercising after child birth, my core was so weak, I couldn’t even do a single sit-up. It felt so weird because i have always been a very active person and a girl, so I think it really fed to all these negativity.
Did becoming a mother change your look on body image?
Absolutely! You realise being healthy and strong is really what you need. When breastfeeding, your diet is so crucial. If I didn’t eat enough/drink enough water, it would really affect my milk supply. I couldn’t even consider going on a diet to lose weight. Right now, i work/take care of the house & baby and study as well, so my main priority is to keep myself healthy & have enough energy and time for work and studies.
What made you want to be part of this campaign? How do you hope doing this will help to empower other women?
I wanted to do this because RTNT is such an empowering community and I would like to be a part of it. I hope this will help other women to see that they are not defined by their body weight/ body size. There’s so much more to a women than to be defined by the dress size she’s wearing!