'You are a vessel': Mother of 4 shares story about accepting her post-baby body
Writing from her own personal experience after giving birth to four children, including twins, a Milton, Ont., mother's blog post about how childbirth has changed her body has gone viral.
Joanna Venditti runs the parenting blog Nesting Story. The 32-year-old isn't afraid of sharing some of her real-life experiences about what it's like raising four children.
"I just decided one day that I am going to put it all out there," she told CTV Toronto. "It was a spur-of-the-moment thing."
Earlier this month, Venditti openly shared how having four children has changed how she feels about her body -- even posting photos of herself during and after her pregnancies. The post on Facebook has since garnered nearly 350 "Likes" and has been shared more than 3,100 times.
In the post, Venditti admits that when she was younger, she struggled with her weight, and sometimes resorted to extreme measures to shed a few pounds.
"Although my weight fluctuated, I knew tricks on how to lose 10 pounds scarily fast, especially for our wedding and honeymoon," Venditti said in the post. "I wouldn’t say I ever had an eating disorder, but I know that my weight control was coming from a place where I felt I had to punish my body."
After having her first two children, Venditti said she was able to bounce back to her pre-pregnancy body, but says her attitude about her body still hadn't changed.
"Getting pregnant and watching my belly grow while expecting our first two kids was so exciting and I was able to drop almost every one of those 50 lbs I gained with each pregnancy ... but again it was coming from this negative and frustrating place," she said.
'You are a vessel'
That negativity, however, finally shifted when Venditti learned she was having twins.
"I finally made the decision that I would disassociate my body from my mind during my twin pregnancy and to think of my body as a vessel," she says in her blog.
"In fact, anytime I'd start panicking about my size I would say to myself, 'You are a vessel, you are a vessel.' It became my mantra."
Venditti's youngest children, Mia and Everly, are now seven months old. She says after giving birth to them, she initially felt "sadness" for her body, but that eventually turned around after realizing what she had accomplished.
"My distracting enormous but adorable baby bump had been deflated and I was left with mush, bruising, swollen ankles and healing from a C-section. I had this sadness for my body," she wrote.
"I felt so badly for it with the state it was in and at the same time was so grateful what it had done. It had safely created two humans and carried from for 37 weeks and 4 days."
Venditti then embarked on a new journey to love her body.
"I made the decision to be kind to my body for now on," she says in her blog.
"I am so much more confident with my body than I ever have been before. Any time I start doubting my new curves or war wounds I look around the room and ask myself, 'How many other people in this room grew two people inside their body at once?'"
Since sharing her post-pregnancy story, Venditti says she has been getting a lot of positive feedback from other women and parents.
"They see that I am not putting this after-photo out there, rail thin with a six-pack, blemish free," she told CTV Toronto. "And they see that’s attainable too and that includes the curves and the postpartum body."
With a report from CTV Toronto's Dana Levenson