Danisha Lestaevel is a social media influencer and self-love advocate. After coming across one of her posts on Instagram, we reached out to the proud mama, who penned a personal essay about her journey to accept her postpartum body and how she uses her platform to defy society’s definition of the snap back.
To be honest, pregnancy is hard. It’s not what the world always makes it out to be. My last pregnancy, with my youngest daughter, took a toll on me mentally and physically. I went through depression, which is very common, but not many people discuss those aspects of pregnancy.
I feel it’s important to put that out there for future mothers — that it’s not always going to be beautiful. Sometimes the beauty comes after birth. I was happy to have brought life into this world, but I didn’t know the pregnancy process could be so detrimental. Several months after birth, the realization that my postpartum body didn’t “snap back” the way society expected compounded with my postpartum depression caused me to feel ashamed about my body. I couldn’t wear what I wanted to without fear of being judged. I didn’t feel like I fit the beauty standard.
I underwent surgery to remove excess tissue that had grown over my uterus and attached to my pelvis due to having multiple cesarean sections. The procedure caused a massive amount of pain and restricted my ability to walk. By the end of last year, I realized the power and strength my mom bod holds. I got inspired by another mom who’s tummy was similar to mine that pushed me to recognize that I am Beautiful and I don’t have to look like how I did before pregnancy to be beautiful.
Motherhood looks different on everyone. You should embrace every stretch mark and every bit of loose skin. Our tummy’s were once a home. I felt inspired to be that voice for other women around the world. Free the belly! Once I did that I realized I wanted to start spreading more positivity surrounding the image of a mom bod and how you can take back control of your body.
I received a lot of feedback about the content I was sharing. There was a lot of positive feedback and handfuls of negative comments from people who said my postpartum body wasn’t normal and that I should “get it fixed.” It inspired me even more to continue to be vocal and speak on postpartum bodies.
I woke up one day and decided, today’s the day that I will take back my body. I finally accepted myself and it was just a matter of getting through the fear of judgment and opinions from others. I finally put on that bikini I wanted to wear for years and I felt free. That feeling was all it took. I wasn’t turning back. Of course there’s always going to be those looks and stares, but only if they knew the self-love journey I had gone on. And why should I care about them anyways? Society expects so much of woman.
On my journey, I fell in love with being kind to my body. I started exercising and taking more care of myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could transform my body naturally and so I did. I started waist-training and came across the Gel-V product that helped my stretch marks fade. I even healed my severe diastasis recti, I launched my own site fetchnfit.com with my fitness guides to help other moms with tummy’s similar to mine.
I have hope that I reach every mom out there struggling like I did and that it will inspire them to start their self-love journey so they can too pass on the inspiration to another in need. My tip for any mamas struggling with self love is, know you aren’t alone and what you’re feeling is completely normal. We should empower each other instead of tearing each other down. If you see another mom struggling reach out and be that voice.
Follow Danisha Lestaevel on Instagram @ mama3x__ and visit her website, here.