IN LIFE

Words by Luana Thomas
Linograph prints by Grace Bouchard

Luana Thomas is the founder of www.getoffmyback.co.uk a platform to help mums-to-be to reduce anxieties and fears around birth. She loves all things pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood.

Motherhood is a pivotal moment in a woman’s life. The transition from woman to mother is massive. Some people say that on the day your baby is born, so do you. You will be born together.

Pregnancy comes with huge changes in our bodies from hormones to the growing and expanding of our physical body. To accommodate the life of another growing body. Which can be a hard transition to come to terms with in its own right. Your body in a way is no longer just yours. Your organs not only move out of the way, but you also grow a new organ.

The feelings and emotions of seeing yourself grow is not always easy. But to know that it is you and your body that can not only grow but nourish a little human is not only mind blowing but a very complex thing to do. We forget how powerful our bodies are with such a big task. The task of life.

The birth of your baby can be an awakening. It is an amazing, shocking, transformative experience. The only thing I wish I knew much sooner is that I didn’t need to feel so ashamed of my body before that moment. Before my own awakening.

If we stop to think about it. If you’re a woman. All our eggs are already made by the time we are born. Around 1 million eggs. We are all one egg and one sperm out of millions of possibilities. We are all different and that is the beauty of life. To be unique and yourself is the most important thing we can do as human beings. Instead of trying to be an image we see in a magazine or comparing ourselves to who we want to look like. If we all just became who we are meant to be, we would all have a much more fulfilling life. And a lot less heartache because trying to be something we are not is draining.

I grew up feeling very inadequate as a woman, because I had small breasts. I was embarrassed and always thought I’d be rejected by guys because of it. I did what I could to try and enhance what I thought I lacked. Chicken fillets, even herbal pills that promised growth (waste of money, they didn’t work), two bras. The shame was real. The reality was that was not the case.

What I failed to realise is that, no I am not to everyone’s taste and that’s ok.I had no self acceptance. I had no self love. I had no confidence.

I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time of my life with that. It’s a shame I couldn’t appreciate me for who I was.

It has taken me 9 months
to carry life to begin to understand that meaning of life. That I am more than just the size of my breasts. I am so much more than what I look like. My looks is only a small part of the whole picture.

It is now, how my baby looks deeply into my eyes when I breastfeed that I truly know how irrelevant and superficial all of that was. She doesn’t care if I don’t brush my hair, or have no make-up on, or have stretch marks, or small breasts, or have a bloated belly, or if I’m curvier, or if my legs are thicker, or if I don’t look like someone from a magazine or tv show.

She loves me unconditionally because my body carried her, it soothed her, it nourished her, it mothered her as nature intended. My stretch marks are my lighting bolts of life, that has shown me what my body is capable of. I am proud to say I now love my body more than ever before.
I accept the new me. The new body. The new mind. The new strength. And I hope my daughter grow up doing it too.

It’s interesting how we can only see what’s on the outside but everything else happens on the inside. Hence it’s so important to check in with ourselves.
To forgive ourselves. To have self compassion. To realise I am a human being and therefore I am not perfect.

It has taken me 28 years to realise this. Three of those was in therapy. They were the most insightful part of my life. Together with a lot of self development, for me to come to this point. And that’s ok. We all learn at a different pace.
But I hope my daughter doesn’t need to wait until she becomes a mum to realise how powerful her body and mind are. I hope she has self compassion and love from a young age. I hope she respects herself
for who she is because that is what makes her beautiful. That is the true beauty
of life.