In May I decided I was going to write a book, in June I dedicated 4 weeks to writing 32,500 words. I wrote most days, between being a mother of 4 and everything else that came along with it. It wasn't hard, I felt like it was something I was called to do, I could see the heart break of so many mothers as they ached over what their body 'once was' and determined to get their 'pre baby body back' and their mental health would pay the price.
I wrote this book for me, because I know it's something that would have made an impact on me and if it can make a difference to any new or experienced mum and help them learn to love their body then I will be content and happy.
I am extremely nervous about sharing this, but I would love to know what you honestly think, here we go, your first extract of 'Stretched'
From the beginning
You’re disgusting. Your body will never be the same again, you will never be able to wear a bikini, your body is ruined. I remember looking at myself in a floor to ceiling double door wardrobe mirror as I was house sitting just a few weeks after having my first child at just 20 years old, these evil thoughts about my new postpartum body popped into my head. I felt so vulnerable looking in that mirror. All I saw was completely alien to me, I was so caught up in the moment of just how different I look I had forgotten what my body had been through.
Nine months of carrying the most precious person to me, keeping him safe and growing him strong and healthy as well as keeping myself alive, getting through a semester heavily pregnant at drama school, still being very physical and coming out the other end with a perfect tiny human (well not so tiny at 9.5lb and 3/4).
However, all I could see were the raw, dark stretch marks spread across my overly stretched skin on my stomach and the mummy tum, the pouch, the mum gut (whichever you use to describe it) with the swollen uterus which was a total surprise.
I mean I never really knew what to expect from a uterus and thought my stomach would just deflate like a balloon! In that moment I thought I was going to look like this forever, hating my reflection, putting myself down and feeling ashamed of who I had become. I didn’t know about postpartum (to be honest I didn’t even know the word “postpartum” existed until I was going through prenatal (also a new word) classes) and how your body changes.
I remember the amount of takeaways we had for convenience purposes, looking after a new baby and forgetting to look after myself as a new mum. I had grown up around babies and children being the eldest of four, people always said it would be different when it’s your own, the sleepless night, the constant feeding, the dirty nappies, and it was but what I wasn’t prepared for was that I actually longed for my pre pregnancy body. The body which I had spent most of my teenage life hating on for being an unbalanced pear shape, big butt, no boobs and constantly calling myself fat.
I stood as a new mother staring into the mirror longing for a figure I had spent years mentally and physically abusing.
I'd love to hear from you, how did you or are you finding your postpartum journey? Whether you've got a new born or your baby is fully grown and flown the nest you are still postpartum, it's a never ending beautiful journey. Here's to you mama.
With love & gratitude,
Ana Louise Bonasera
Confidence & Clarity Coach
Ana Louise Bonasera, mum of 4 boys, girl power enthusiast.