This Blog Post was originally written on April 22, 2015
The impossible happened - I became a cover model. I would have never imagined that this would happen, and definitely not in my underwear, being the largest I've ever been (when not pregnant), and with my two kids in my arms. But it happened, and I'm proud.
Body acceptance is a very important topic for me. I grew up in the Philippines with almost all of my friends being very petite and although I was mixed race, I was always compared to their size. I always felt big - no matter what size I actually was.
Then I got pregnant for the first time and all of a sudden, I felt beautiful. You know that glow that pregnant women apparently have? Well I felt like I was beaming! Never in my life had I felt more confident and comfortable in my body. After the birth, I was on such a high over what my body had done. Then as the months passed, with my son exclusively breast fed, I gained a new appreciation for my body that I never had. I was amazed that I grew, birthed and nourished my child solely with my body. That is powerful stuff!
My mind wasn't concentrated on loosing weight after my first. I was just so focused on my new role as mom and didn't want to be away from him a second longer then I needed to. After about a year, something just clicked and I wanted to put myself and my health back into focus. I started to work out and eat very clean once again. By the time I got pregnant with my second, I was in the best health I had been in years.
Now 10 months postpartum with my second, and my focus is starting to go back to my health. My goal is never going to be skinny. That's not important to me. My goal is to be healthy and happy. Most importantly, my goal is to be proud of my body, no matter the size.
When I began going to births, my love for a woman's body in particular grew even more. There is something just so powerful watching a woman birth her baby.
I wish that it could properly explain to all my clients just how marvellous they are and their bodies are. I wish they could have seen the power they possess. I wish one of the first thoughts post baby was not how squishy their bellies now are. I wish I could help mothers everywhere believe that those stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed of, but to be celebrated. I wish I could have some magic words to let every mother know that they are beautiful.
Instead, I decided how better to share my message of self acceptance and body love then by joining in on The 4th Trimester Body Project? If you are unfamiliar with it, please go check out the website and see all the gorgeous photos of mamas of all different shapes and sizes.
When I found out they were coming to Vancouver, I had to join in. It was such an inspiring experience! When I found out that Today's Parent wanted to feature my photo in the magazine, then found out I was going to be the cover, I have to admit I was petrified. It was one thing being on the 4th tri website, but to be the cover of Canada's largest parenting magazine?! That's still crazy to think about! But I decided to go ahead and do it. No not everyone is going to be a fan, but I know there will be moms out there who will see themselves in that photo and that's important. I am not the normal type of woman we see on the covers of magazines. I'm just a normal mom. But I'm also a loving mom, a supportive wife, a passionate doula and a good friend. I am like so many other moms out there. Perfectly imperfect. Let's have our moment in the spot light. Let's celebrate the power of our bodies. Let's celebrate the power of the woman!
Most of all, I hope one day when my kids start noticing their bodies, that they can see this photo and see a mom who is proud of who she is and of her body. I hope my kids grow up comfortable with themselves and knowing that we are all beautiful, in our own unique way
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Samantha Garcia Gagnon is a birth worker in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. She has a special focus on supporting physiologic home births and shares her years of experience and knowledge in this blog.
Proudly supporting home birthing families in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam. Port Moody, Langley,
Surrey and New Westminster.
Filled with gratitude to be living and working in the unceded and ancestral home of the Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Matsqui, Kwantlen, and
Semiahmoo First Nations.