1. What are your best qualities?

I think that I am really hard working. I went to work when I was 15 years old, and I’ve always been a go-getter. Even if it was in a class. I was never good at school, but if I was getting a C- I always made sure to pass in order to get to the next step. I’ve always been able to make something happen for myself.  When I was 19, I moved in with my boyfriend and my parents were so mad at me and they cut me off with money. I was like, “I am going to prove them wrong and make this work!”  And I think now, they have a lot of respect for me because I never asked for help, I just made it work. I’ve just always  been able to make things happen for myself.

2. What are your worst qualities?

I am pretty stubborn. I feel like when I am in an argument, even halfway through and I realize I am wrong, I won’t want to admit that the other person is right. Especially as a mother, growing up you think your parent is always right, but now that I am a mom I realize they are just people. They are not right! We are all people and just because you’re somebody’s parent doesn’t mean you know what your doing.  I hope that when Vera is older and I realize she is right, I can just tell her, “You know what, you’re right! Moms don’t know everything!" 

3. What do you love the most about your body?

Before my pregnancy, my breasts. Now, I am just learning to adjust to them changing so much. Like, inflating and deflating, you kinda just have to look in the mirror and laugh! 

4. What about your body are you working on loving more?

My least favorite part of my body has always been my love handles. I remember in middle school, when I'd wear jeans, I would have a muffin top. Now, I just embrace them and wear clothes that are flattering. 

5. When did you first start noticing your stretch marks?

I remember I first starting seeing my stretch marks going from 7th to 8th grade. Thats when my body really starting change. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted and then I remember not being able to fit into my size 12 jeans! I got stretch marks on my hips, and my inner and outer thighs. I remember being  really upset about it and crying. It was hard. And then my body just kind of worked itself through it. You just grow into your body and you have to let yourself grow into your body. Sometimes we’re not ready for those growth spurts to happen.  No middle schooler should be on a diet.  I am glad that my mom never made a big fuss about it.

6. Did you have an insecurity that went away or grew from being pregnant?

Going into being pregnant, I feel like I was at my best body I'd ever been at. So, I think just trying to accept the change that was gonna happen. Knowing I was going to have to work really hard to get back to where I was. I feel like before, I was really confident with where I was. Now, I am just trying not to be insecure about what my body is going through. I'm trying to look in the mirror and say, "Wow, you just made a baby. You need to give yourself a break!"

7. What has been the greatest appreciation you've gained after being pregnant?

Just the fact that my body grew this human! She (Vera) is so beautiful and perfect! When you go through your pregnancy, your body is changing everyday. Having to love it through all the steps; right when you first see that little bump - you're like, "Oh my gosh, this is so cute and fun!"  But once you start getting big and your belly starts getting heavy and uncomfortable, it's important to learn to accept it at every stage. -knowing that it's growing this human!

8. Can you talk about the unrealistic cultural expectations to bounce back after having a baby?

Looking on Instagram, there will be women that show their postpartum bodies a week later - and they look better than my body was before being pregnant! These social media platforms  are showing you these unrealistic expectations. I mean, there is the other side of it too, where you do see women embracing their bigger bodies - which feels more real and nice to see. But definitely, you’re seeing theses women that are dropping the weight so fast, and you feel like if she can do it then I can do it. I’m just trying to take my time and not push my body too hard. 

9. In your experience, is there a competitiveness amongst pregnant women?

I think so. Especially nowadays that everyone is on the internet, showing off what they can and can’t do. Seeing these women that are 8 months pregnant and look great, you think, “Where is the weight!?” I remember seeing pictures of myself when I was pregnant and looking at my arms. You are just gradually gaining the weight. I just remember looking back at pictures and thinking, “Wow my body has really gone through a lot.” Its hard to accept yourself gaining that much weight.

11. What advice can you give to first time moms?

Just be patient. Not just with your body, but with the baby too. You sometimes only see the good moments. Of course when you’re posting pictures, they are happy and everything seems super cute. But then you have those moments where you’re trying to get ready and the baby is screaming crying and there is nothing you can do! Be patient with your body too. 

10. How do you feel about your C-Section scars?

As soon as I got done with the procedure and looked in the mirror, it looked pretty scary. The first couple days I was kind of bummed about it. Not necessarily because of the scar, but because my body couldn’t naturally deliver Vera. However, as the days went on I was like, “Wow! This mark is where she was birthed!” I still gave birth to her. I think of the scar as a battle wound now and I love it. It is where she came from.  

13.What is something you wish you could of told yourself during a fragile states?

My freshman year of college I gained probably 15 lbs and I was always in workout clothes. I just remember one day I was putting on my jeans, and I couldn’t button them. I went through ten pairs of jeans and every single one I couldn’t button! I remember crying and thinking, “Oh my god what happened? How did I let this happen?” As soon as I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself, I started eating healthier and paying more attention. I got to a place where I wasn’t fighting it, but I just let myself loose the toxic weight.

12.What quality do you wish shined brighter than your exterior appearance?

How much I was doing while I was pregnant. I worked throughout my pregnancy and sometimes things got really hard. You have so many emotions throughout your pregnancy.  I was going to work all day and then cleaning the house and having to keep up on all these things and still stay sane with all these crazy hormones rushing through me. I feel like I was more emotional through my pregnancy then I have ever been. I am really not an emotional person, but I cried more through my pregnancy than I think I have in the last 10 years. 

15. When do you feel the most beautiful?

Just making this human. Throughout the pregnancy you’re like, “Wow I am making a human, I am making a human.” But you don’t really realize it until you see them. Especially now that she is hitting all these miles stones. Looking at her in the morning, she gives me the biggest smile and I’m like, “Wow, I made you!” Making her makes me feel beautiful.

14. What lesson do you want to instill in your children about body acceptance?

Never be too hard on yourself. Our bodies are so flexible and so fluctuating. Love yourself at every stage. Never give yourself a hard time. If you’re ever feeling bad about yourself, don’t feel bad about your body. Reflect on what you’re putting in your body and take care of it. It is so hard now, in today’s society. I hope that it changes. I hope society doesn’t keep staying this way with Instagram models and all that stuff. For her, I don’t want her to look at that and think she needs to look like them. I want her to know that her body is perfect however it is. 

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