Celebrating Motherhood: Nina
In this series, we hope to offer insight and support for mothers going through bodily changes during pregnancy and postpartum. We want to highlight the incredible ways our bodies can adapt and transform while preparing to become moms. This week we want to spotlight Nina, a mother of one, and soon-to-be two! She is an inspiring creator located in Vancouver making strides in the postpartum body positivity space.
My mother always told me that I was vain. I was curious about fashion and make up from a very young age but I think it was scary for her to see me wanting to grow up so fast. In high school, we fought every morning and she would say “you’re going to school, not a fashion show”. I didn’t know it at the time but that consistent criticism taught me to feel shame in caring about how I looked.
By the time I entered my early 20s, I became well aware of the inner voice that echoed my mother’s. But awareness is just the first step and I wasn’t sure how to move past just this recognition. I was stuck here in this state of awareness and confusion for a long time. And became a mom.
During my first pregnancy in 2019, there was no escaping how I felt about my body. Years and years of shame, judgment and self-loathing bubbled to the surface and I had no choice but to confront the severe discomfort I felt towards my changing body. My belly, butt and thighs grew and grew until my skin could no longer stretch and the stretch marks formed. It brought me right back to being 13 years old.
I remember coming home from middle school one day and looking down to find stretch marks in my inner thighs. Mortified, I asked my mother what was happening to my body. She told me, “don’t worry I have them too from when I gave birth to you and your brother”. Her answer made me so angry because I was just a kid, I hadn’t given birth, what did I do to deserve this? Google told me the same thing. I felt so betrayed by my body. Envious of other girls my age that didn’t even know what a stretch mark was and what I wouldn’t do to go back to that place of blissful ignorance.
I look back and I want to give that little girl a hug. I wish someone had told me that my worth is not defined by how smooth my skin is or how small my waist is. My body will always change – there is no stopping it and acceptance of this simple fact would have relinquished me from years of negative self-talk and wasted energy and time on wishing I was something that I am not, which is healthy, beautiful and strong.
These scars tell a story – a story of struggle, triumph, love and pain. I only have one body and it’s a wonder what this body has been able to endure in just 28 years of life. I would love to say that done are the days of shame, judgment and self-loathing but that little voice will always find it’s way back to me on my lowest of days but now I have a stronger conscious voice that knows the truth about my body – one that can clap back, hold space for my wounded inner child and help me move forward on my healing journey.
As a mom, I am so hyper aware of never wanting my children to develop that internal voice that tells them they are not enough. But at the same time, I have come to understand that my own mom did the best that she could. She passed down generations of judgment because that was all she knew. And as much pain as that messaging has caused me, it’s probably hurt my mom a whole lot more throughout her lifetime.
I am very much in the middle of my journey to self acceptance and some days are harder than others but I hope that the women in my lineage are looking down at me with smiles and pride that one of us can finally start to break from the harmful narrative we’ve been fed about ourselves and our bodies.