La Tela di Carlotta
it en es

Do you like your mommy body? (ie, when you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror after pregnancy)

May 20, 2019

This is a photo I would have never thought I’d publish. Or even consider publishing. Or even take. A photo that strips me not only of my clothes, but of my confidence, as well.

It is not a before/after transformation photo. This is same day, same body, difference confidence.

The dressed body is a body I recognize. I can deal with the couple extra kilos when wrapped in fitting clothes that look good on me, that highlight the best and hide the worst.

The body in underwear is a body I appreciate. It’s a body that grew two babies and underwent a mind blowing transformation. Twice. In two years.

BUT.

That’s not my body. My body has a small waist. Round, hard buttocks. Fit arms and a flat stomach. My body was like in this video the year I got pregnant with Oliver, four years ago (not because I did anything special, only because I ate well, I ran, I danced, I worked non stop, and I did stuff like in the video ;-).

I showed this picture to two friends, and they see a good body (I love you, too!). My husband sees beauty. You might see an OK body.

Me? I see a pear-shaped butt. That skin roll on my back. An inexistent waistline. I see cellulite, which is more than you can appreciate in the photo. And then I turn around, and I see raisins when my boobs used to be. A bloated belly that replaced my ever-flat stomach.

I see all the imperfections. The stretch marks on my hips from the pregnancies. The scars from the unexpected surgery. The double chin when I look at my belly. The chicken wings under my arms. Even the grey hair that increased tenfold in the year and a half of sleep deprivation.

For four years now, I’ve kept thinking of getting back my fit, pre-children, hourglass body, but I could never find the motivation to do what it takes to get there.

Motivation. I always thought motivation was the problem, and a very understable problem—hello new mom life, two babies, then toddlers, terrible twos, threenagers, a job and no sleep! Duh!

Then I found Sarah @thebirdspapaya and even if she wrote about bodies that I objectively couldn’t relate to, she touched some deep chords inside of me.

She made me realize that the problem had nothing to do with motivation, and everything to do with acceptance. Even though I wasn’t unhappy with my mommy body, I never truly accepted it. Even though I didn’t take the gift of life for granted, I never really stopped to appreciate what my body did to look the way it looks today—it expanded and stretched in every direction to give life to two PEOPLE.

Little by little, one Instagram post at a time, she helped me start a new inner dialogue with my body. She introduced words like body-positive, self-love and self-worth in my dictionary. She taught me the importance of normalizing bodies that don’t fit into the impossible standards we’re all faced with in the society we live in.

Little by little, one Instagram post at the time, I started connecting the dots: I couldn’t change my body starting from a dialogue of hate—I hate my hips, I hate my cellulite, I hate my buttocks, I hate my belly. No positive change can come from hate.

I had to first change my inner dialogue. I had to start from a dialogue of love.

So I took action. I threw away the scale—I think I weigh between 64 and 70kg, but who knows! I started looking at my body in the mirror, instead of ignoring it because I don’t like what I see. I started focusing on what I like about it instead of what I hate about it. I like my shoulders, my back is sexy, I love my long neck, my tummy is not that bad, my eyes are big and deep, my mouth is full and rose red. Even my raisins are kinda cute.

I started saying to myself, “you look great” leaving out the “for having two children” part. I look great, period.

And then something unexpected happened.

I stopped eating sugar. I started running again.

For the first time in my life, the reason was NOT to lose weight. NOT to look more fit. NOT to be in shape for the dance show. NOT to be bikini ready. But to give my body LOVE. To feed it RIGHT. To see its WORTH even when it’s not at its best—whatever “best” means.

My spontaneous reaction to my newly-found love for myself was eating healthy and exercising, because I believe that’s how we show love to our body, how we take care of it. The same way we show someone that we love them by hugging them or dedicating our time to them. Only a dialogue of love can generate healthy behaviors: when you talk to your inner self with love, healthy choices are not only a lot easier, they are the only possible way forwards.

So that’s where we, mothers, start after a pregnancy: from our dinner dialogue. We change the words we tell ourselves in our minds. We accept ourselves, we appreciate ourselves, we love ourselves, we value ourselves, we forgive ourselves. We train our mind first, our body later. We take action from love, not from hate.

We don’t hide behind big sweaters and baggy pants to hide our body. We don’t feel ashamed of taking our clothes off on the beach—even if we feel insecure inside, we stand tall, shoulders back and head up. We don’t criticize every little inch of our body in front of the mirror, we try hard to find something that we like. We push away all the thoughts about everything we need to change in our body. We bend forward without worrying about that belly roll that we won’t be able to hide. We mentally slap ourselves when we change our sitting position so our thighs won’t look so big.

And we take care of ourselves. We get a haircut every two months, and a manicure once in a while. We apply some natural oil on our skin before going to bed not to avoid wrinkles in the old age, but simply to show love to our skin. We put on a nice dress, especially when we feel down. We leave the kids with daddy and have lunch with a friend, join a yoga class, read a book on the beach, take a weekend away alone.

We show love to ourselves the same way we show love to our children, because at the end of the day, only love can teach love.

Comments

Georgia • May 20, 2019

What a raw & beautiful post. "Only love can teach love" - how true.

Lucy • May 20, 2019

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, loooooooovvvvveeeeeee this post

🌸 Carlotta • May 27, 2019

Thanks, love! It means so much coming from you! Love you!

Liliana • Jun 12, 2019

Bella e brava! Troppo daccordo con te! Love your vulnerability! Spread the word!

🌸 Carlotta • Jul 8, 2019

Grazie Liliana! 🥰

Erika • Aug 3, 2019

I am currently catching up on your blog and first of all... big ups for just the courage to put into words what 99,9 % of women think, moms or not, and what every human on this planet should read. And I'm so glad you mentioned Sarah! Did you know she recently started a podcast? Check it out, I'm sure you'll like it. Also, I have to mention the "Approachable" podcast, I think you'll find some good topic there too! (yes I have a thing for Canadian girls, can't help it)

🌸 Carlotta • Aug 6, 2019

Hey lovely! Haha, yes, I follow everything Sarah does 🤣 , I like her a lot! But I actually don’t know approachable, and now I’m curious… I’ll check it out! Thanks for stopping by and dropping me a line… I love it, do it more often!!!! 😍

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Terrible twos
The organs of the body: workshop for kids
Kids understand if you give them honesty
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

Nov 19, 2020 • 25m
Pene e vulva: normalizziamo le parole
Con questo episodio inizio una serie di conversazioni a tema sessuale, perché credo che in Italia se ne debba parlare di più, soprattutto tra famiglie con bambini. L'educazione sessuale è un aspetto importante dell'educazione dei bambini e deve iniziare da piccoli. Un ottimo primo passo è proprio quello di normalizzare parole "imbarazzanti" come pene e vulva e sostituirle alle più comuni pisellino e patatina. Nell'episodio dico che non avevo trovato la storia originale in spagnolo della "gall...
16
Nov 13, 2020 • 13m
"Non sono cresciuto Montessori e sono venuto su bene lo stesso!"
In questo breve episodio rifletto su una frase che ho sentito/mi è stata detta spesso per difendere l'educazione tradizionale (da genitori che crescono i propri figli con metodi più tradizionali come le minacce, i castighi, le punizioni ecc). Ti suggerisco anche come risponderei io. La citazione che menziono nell'episodio è una frase che disse la madre di Jane Goodall, antropologa inglese che ha dedicato la sua vita allo studio degli scimpanzé: "Se le persone non sono d’accordo con te, la cos...
15
Nov 6, 2020 • 16m
La rabbia, le urla dei genitori e una storia tibetana
In questo episodio sono stata ispirata da una storia tibetana a parlare di rabbia e del perché urliamo quando siamo arrabbiati. Riconoscere i perché e analizzare le mie reazioni quando urlo è stato per me il primo passo per imparare a gestire la rabbia. Nell'episodio menziono questo articolo: Spiegare come funziona il cervello aiuta i bambini a controllare le loro emozioni. Mi trovi anche su www.lateladicarlotta.com e su Facebook e Instagram come @lateladicarlottablog.
14

Instagram

I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.