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    I’m sure every mom will agree with me when I say that having a baby can be life-changing. For many, the changes can be overwhelming and amazing at the same time – which is probably why Hollywood actress Penelope Cruz had this to say about having a child:

    “All those clichés, those things you hear about having a baby and motherhood - all of them are true. And all of them are the most beautiful things you will ever experience.”

    Like Cruz, having a baby (three in fact, plus one more on the way!) has also allowed me to experience many “beautiful things” –- and one of them was learning to accept my body and how I look. In fact, I came to realize that my body is one of the most beautiful things ever created.

    Yes, you read that right. My body image actually got better after I gave birth –- not worse. Allow me to share why:

    My breasts
    Confession: When I was younger, I used to feel insecure because of the size of my breasts.

    I thought they were too small and, thus, I didn't see myself to be as "attractive" as other girls who had bigger cup sizes. In hindsight, I realize that beauty is not based on our breast size -- or on anything else external for that matter — something I want my daughters to know from an early age.

    I began to have an even more positive image of  my mammary glands once I became a mother — breastfeeding my children helped me realize that my breasts had a “deeper” purpose in life: to provide nourishment and comfort to my kids.

    The truth is, whether a woman’s breasts are small or big, and whether her nipples are inverted or not (mine were!), breastfeeding is possible — and can be the most beautiful thing.



    My waistline
    My current waistline is certainly not what it was pre-motherhood, and I have learned to not be ashamed of it.

    This didn’t happen overnight though — I used to get mildly depressed about not fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes, until I realized that my body is the way it is now because it went through incredible changes just so I could bear my children.

    I know that with proper nutrition and exercise, it could go back to what it was (or close to it), but for the meantime, I will still rejoice in the fact that I have a “thicker” waistline now because I actually carried human beings in it!

    My stomach
    I had a pretty “flat” stomach before I gave birth to my first child. “Love handles” eventually became more evident postpartum though, and even if breastfeeding helped me return to my pre-pregnancy size at a relatively fast pace, stubborn spots still remained here and there — leaving me with a “pooch” of sorts in the stomach area.

    Instead of being ashamed of it though, I’ve learned to accept it —- something that would have been more difficult to do if I didn’t have kids.

    My “pooch” is a reminder of my bearing life in my womb; of carrying my kids around for nine months each. I’ll work it off eventually through exercise but for now, while it’s part of me, I will still find myself “beautiful” and “valued” — because I am a mother, and I have one of the most important jobs in the world.

    The truth is, I used to have a lot of insecurities when it came to how I looked, and though these lessened as I grew older, they would still crop up every now and then.

    Once I became a mom though, those negative thoughts and feelings were slowly replaced with a confidence that I didn’t think motherhood could bring about. I’m glad it did though, because I can proudly declare that I am happier with the way my body is now, mainly because it’s been used to grow, nourish, and care for beautiful human beings -- my kids.

    How do you feel about your body now that you’re a mom? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment!

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