‘I remember this guy said I had a ‘tight rig.’ I never ate much, I glorified my thinness. I was valued. I was funny, I felt pretty.’

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“I want to show you how much children change your body.

I remember this guy said to me I had a ‘tight rig’ … I never ate much, I glorified my thinness… I felt like a valued person. I was thin. In my mind, I was valued. I was funny, I felt pretty. I fit into whatever I wanted.

I met a guy, we fell in love and we wanted babies.

Three kids, two vaginals, one cesarean, muscle separation, postpartum depression, anti-depressant weight gain, and life later, this is my rig.

I hated it. I would say it was broken.

The stretch marks, the scarring, the weight gain…it’s not the person I valued anymore.

Other people noticed it too… ‘Wow, remember your body before kids?’ ‘Oh hun, can I tell you about this weight loss supplement I’ve been taking? I can send you a sample now that you’re done having kids.’ (3 days after I gave birth to my now 5-month-old). I was no longer valued. In my mind, I was no longer valued.

Then someone asked me, what would I say to my daughter about body issues… and I said that she should never base her worth on her body. That she should always value herself no matter what the scales or her body looked like. I said that. But I didn’t believe it.

I felt like, I’m the same girl on the inside if not way more, so why did I stop feeling valued? Why did this ‘new rig’ that has been through SO much, stop deserving love? Why was it this new body would recoil at my lovers’ touch or cover up and hide in intimacy? Why is there so much freaking talk about going back to what you were before kids? Or only being valued when your body is unmarked with the sketch of a child.

What would I say to my daughter? That she is only as good as the number on the scales?

I want to show you how much children change your body, but I also want you to know that they changed everything for me.

They gave me the guts to fight through my depression.

They made me want to finish my degree and study a masters.

They taught me empathy and kindness and how wonderful life is helping others. They made my life worth fighting for.

And they made me realize that my body is important, even now, because it made the three most beautiful things that could have ever happened to this rig of mine. So, my body may never be the same, it’s changed a lot, but so have I, and I am more than okay with that.

For all the women who have ever felt less than, not valued, or felt the harsh words of someone wanting them to get back to what they were, your body tells a story of you, of your life, of how far you’ve come, of what you created and what you’ve loved, and in my mind, that is so much to be valued.”

Side by side of woman's body before and after having children in mirror selfie
Laura Mazza

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run, where it originally appeared. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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