Australian blogger and mother of two Laura Mazza recently posted a before-and-after picture to her blog and Facebook that's taken the internet by storm. In her post, she explains that prior to having kids she had a body that many admired, a very thin figure that she maintained with an unhealthy diet. Two children later, her body is softer, marked with the hallmark of having given life and enjoyed food. In her words, the image “isn’t a before-and-after shot of weight loss. But it is a victory story.”
And this image has clearly resonated with moms from all over the world. As of this writing, the photo has had over 7,000 shares on Facebook and 15,000 likes. For the most part, moms everywhere have been encouraged and inspired by her brave post. But, as with all things on the internet, there are always the trolls. Luckily for Mazza, she has pretty thick skin.
Did you expect the response that you have received when you first posted?
I actually wasn't going to post this because I thought people might think I was a douchebag, but I decided that I must always be free to be me and just post for myself and whatever comes, comes. I had no idea I would be getting interviewed by lovely parenting sites from America! I'm overwhelmed and thrilled and so honored that people have reacted so positively to it.
You mentioned you were very critical of your "before" figure, was there something about motherhood that helped you love your body?
Postnatal depression and depression and anxiety has been a long journey for me. I'm always apologizing for my existence to people—as in I always say "sorry," even to myself. Then one day I was staring at my children and I felt a rush of awe and thought, "I created this, I am amazing," and with that mindset I looked in the mirror and said, "This is me, why can't I love me?"
I don't want to be sorry when I'm on my last breaths that I didn't live because I was waiting for life to begin when I looked perfect! I achieved so many perfect things now, I should never be sorry for that!
You're perfectly imperfect and imperfectly perfect. Your children love you for you!
Have you had any negative feedback? If so how have you handled it?
Yes, so much! I've been told I'm glorifying unhealthy living, that it's not me, that I'm a bad role model for my children, blah blah blah. I love to talk, so naturally I love to say things back to these people, and sometimes I do, but in reality they don't know me. I've walked a hard long journey in my life. I've battled things even as a kid that no kid should battle.
I know me, I know who I am. I know my intentions.
I want to do good in this world. If people aren't happy with themselves they'll comment negatively because they want to put you down so it makes them feel better instead of seeing things for what they are. All I can hope for is that they find happiness and love in their lives so they can see the good in people which, in these days, is so needed.
What do you hope other moms take away from your post?
You're free to be you! You're perfectly imperfect and imperfectly perfect. Your children love you for you! And you will never look back when you leave this earth wishing you ate more kale, so live it up! Spend every moment loving yourself because you deserve it.
What do you hope to teach your children about body image?
That no matter what gender you are, you should be free to own your body and to love it, and do with it as you please. That you should nurture it with good foods so that you grow healthy and have a healthy mind so you can live a fulfilling life. That beauty is truly skin deep and living is so much more than what you look like on the outside.
If you could go back and tell your "before" self anything, what would it be?
Eat the damn Nutella, and have no regrets because life is too short.
Photograph by The Mum on the Run