Mia Redworth delivered her first baby, Austin, in January 2016. The proud mom and Instagrammer immediately took to social media to post her happy status.
But after giving birth, reports Huffington Post, Redworth was surprised at the way her body looked after the pregnancy. Like many new moms, she started thinking negatively about her appearance.
In an interview with Independent Journal Review, Redworth said she had always been obsessed with her weight as a teenager, but she wasn't very healthy.
Before she found out she was pregnant, she didn't work out and to stay thin, didn't eat much.
But all that changed the moment she saw the positive pregnancy test:
“I started eating three meals a day plus snacks to be healthy. But I never stopped myself eating what I craved, which unfortunately for my pregnancy was sugar! I knew I wouldn't be the same weight after the baby. But seeing how big I did get during pregnancy was such a shock.”
After Austin was born, she felt uncomfortable with how she looked. She felt prompted to work out as soon as her body would allow it, which was around eight weeks after her Caesarian section.
Redworth decided not to measure herself by her old standards anymore and just started working out when she could.
Being a mom made her realize something new about herself:
“Before being pregnant I would get so depressed about the way I look. But now I have far more important things to stress about and I really don't want Austin growing up to ever feel bad about his body, or think it's okay to because he sees me doing it.”
She caught herself comparing her body to that of other people on Instagram and started posting positive things about herself to counter her own negativity.
It helped her to see her body more positively:
“I think everyone compares themselves to others, especially when you find yourself in a horrible place hating your body. You go on apps filled with Photoshopped pictures and celebrities that have a lot of money to enhance their beauty. Even though you tell yourself it's not real you still think, 'Why don't I look like that?' It's a slippery slope and very hard to overcome.”
By December, Redworth recognized the progress she had made physically and mentally. She posted a revealing picture of herself from after pregnancy next to a recent photo.
She wrote, in part:
“My body has changed more than I could've ever imagined this year. The first picture is at 8 weeks postpartum, I hated my body and the shock of realizing what the MAJORITY of women look like after a baby hit me hard! You never see anywhere especially Instagram what is the biggest possibility after having a baby [...] I love my body in all of these pictures because it gave me the most perfect little boy.”
The reason she felt comfortable posting a picture of her postpartum body was to fight her own negative body image:
“My body made a human, so if I have stretch marks or some extra fat who cares! In time stretch marks fade and you can always change your body if you want to, but letting the way I felt about my body affect my child's life was something I was never willing to let happen [...] Now I live my life for me and to only make myself happy, I really don't care what anyone thinks and I really want this for others, loving yourself and not worrying if you are a certain size or weight is a much easier life.”
This week, a year after her first workout, Redworth tried on her old skirt from before pregnancy.
It still didn't fit. She wrote, in part:
“My fitness goals have never been to get back to my body before a baby because I had no booty and no muscle and with weight lighting I'm going to be bigger, I'm building muscle and THATS OKAY! I tried on a old skirt for fun a few months ago and I couldn't get close to closing it but yesterday I could do up almost every button!”
Redworth doesn't expect that she'll ever return to her pre-pregnancy body, and she doesn't really want to.
More than anything, she hopes that her story from the past year can teach other women that it's okay to be happy and love your body.
“It doesn't make you vain or a bad person,” she says. “It makes you a better parent because you can teach self love and body acceptance to your children. You're beautiful with all of your imperfections. So smile, enjoy your life, and enjoy raising the perfect human you created.”