Real & Raw // "Learning to love my post partum body" by Hayley Garnett

Hey Mamas! This month at Plum + Sparrow we are focusing on loving our post partum bodies and we interviewed the amazing Hayley Garnett about her relationship with her body post pregnancy and how she came to love her body for what it can do. Thanks for being a part of our Sparrow Village and we hope these words will lift and inspire you!
What was your relationship with your body like before pregnancy & how did it change post pregnancy? 
This is kind of a loaded question for me because I did struggle with an eating disorder before getting pregnant with my first baby.  My eating disorder stemmed from not only an unhealthy body image but also from the need to control that aspect of my life.  Once I had my son I found someone else to focus on and to pour my love into.  Additionally, I was left with stretch marks, a c-section scar and a bit of loose skin.  These were all things that were out of my control.  I didn't see a really huge change in my body until after I had my twin girls.  I was left with a much greater number of stretch marks and much more loose skin.  But rather than focusing on what i saw as flaws, I started to feel empowered by what I saw in the mirror.  I started to see these marks as reminders of my successful pregnancy, my three sweet babies.  What started as a  feelings of disgust have now fully morphed into feelings of empowerment and pride!
Was there a turning point for you where you had more or less appreciation and love for your body?
Yes. One day my son asked me why I had all of these marks on my tummy and I tearfully told him that they are the most beautiful reminders of how I carried my three babies inside of me!
What does the term "body positivity" mean to you? 
So personally I feel that body positivity doesn't JUST mean that you like how you look.  Body positivity is also about caring for yourself and caring for you body in ways that it needs.  Our appearance fluctuates constantly in all sorts of areas--including weight, skin care, hair care, etc.  If we hold onto how we look in one specific photo or one specific moment in our lives- I believe that it sets us up for disappointment and feelings of failure if we strive for that look and never achieve it again. So basically what i am saying is that body positivity includes the celebration of a fluid appearance and journey!
What advice or words of encouragement do you have for mothers struggling to accept their postpartum bodies?
You are not alone! Your worth as both a human and a mother does not diminish because you may appear differently than you had before. The people who love you now, won't love you any less than they did before. I truly believe that you can get to a place in which you feel pride when you look in the mirror.  All it takes is for us to keep "showing up". Going to the beach?  Wear that bikini with pride. Have a blast with your kids. Swim in the ocean! Wear your marks with pride!
Are there any practices you have that encourage a close connection with your self and promote self acceptance?  
For me, exercise is something that helps me stay in tune with my body. I love how strong I feel and it makes no difference whether I've got marks on my belly or skin hanging over my pants. It doesn't take away my strength!  In addition to that I also make sure to surround myself with positive influences and inspiration on social media.  
to follow hayley on instagram click here

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