Alanna Fong (29), Gabe (10), Sebi (9), and Skylar (3)
Trinidadian raised in Toronto
Alanna shares -
Even before motherhood, before the stretch marks, before the extra weight and saggy stomach, I never felt comfortable in my own body. For as far back as I can remember it has been me versus. my body.
To say this was intensified after becoming a mother would be putting it very lightly. I was seventeen when I got pregnant with my son, got stretch marks, and spent countless hours trying to massage them away with oils and lotions. I was eighteen when I had him and I realized that no matter what I did they would never go away, that my body had changed, for good. I was so ashamed, embarrassed, disgusted by myself. I had all these ideas in my head about what I should be and what I should look like and never meeting those standards made me hate myself.
I was twenty when I gave birth to my second son. I joined a gym and started working out two weeks later. I was awful to my body, viewing it as this hideous thing that needed to be fixed, instead of the wondrous thing that it is, that has brought forth life. I was twenty-five when I had my daughter and I don’t really know what it is that truly sparked it, but this was when my view began to shift. Maybe it had something to do with nursing her (as I had not nursed my first two children), the expanding, contracting and leaking of my breasts, the all-consuming bond between us that it brought forth. It made me feel like a mother in a way I never had before, and it changed me. Or maybe it was that she was my first daughter, and I began to think about life as a woman much differently.
Somewhere through this thought process I began to realize how shallow I had been, how shallow everyone around me was, and how shallow our societies ideals were. Maybe it was just because I was older, I had grown up so much since having my first child. But I slowly started to let go, of everything that I “should”. How I should look, how I should feel, all the shoulds went out the door, one by one. And I realized how much it really didn’t matter how my belly looked, what really mattered, what matters, is what it gave me, my three best friends.
If I could I would absolutely go back in time to tell my former self, simply: that I was okay. I am okay. Exactly the way that I am. There was nothing wrong with me, I didn’t need fixing.
Years ago I fell in love with 4TBP’s Instagram page of tiny joy filled squares. Seeing all these strong, beautiful, vastly different mamas embracing their bodies, loving their babies, and being so brave, it was so moving. I have always wanted to participate.”