By Rebecca Drew
AFTER years of ‘DROWNING IN HATRED’ over her body, this mum of three finally feels free and is posting pictures of her LOOSE SKIN online to inspire others.
Office manager and photographer, Hayley Garnett (31) from Columbia, Missouri, USA, always knew she wanted to be a mum but before she fell pregnant with her first child, Archer (5) she struggled with an eating disorder where she would spend hours in the gym everyday and would restrict her food intake.
At 5ft tall, Hayley dropped to just 6st 5lb and struggled to get pregnant because her cycle became irregular. However, things started to change for her after she gave birth to Archer, as despite being self-conscious of her scars and weight she never resorted back to her eating disorder as it was no longer important to her.
After later giving birth to her twins, Ruby and Ramona (2) Hayley felt freer than ever before and finally felt at peace with her body as she realised that her family and husband, Cody (32) were what made her happy, not the reflection in the mirror.
Hayley is proud of her body and what it has achieved in bringing her children into the world. She decided to start sharing pictures of her postpartum body, loose skin and all on Instagram in November 2017 after having her twins.
Now Hayley is 1st 1lb heavier and she hopes to be an inspiration to other mums to show them that they are not defined by their imperfections and can be comfortable in their own skin.
“Before I became a mother, I actually struggled with an eating disorder. I would spend hours in the gym and starve myself for days on end. I dropped down to 6st 5lb and struggled to get pregnant because of loss of my cycle. I truly felt like i was drowning in hatred for my body,” said Hayley.
“I only expected to have one or two kids maximum, but my second pregnancy was a huge surprise- twin girls.
“After having my son almost six years ago I just felt so much different about my body after he was born. I was self-conscious of the scars and the weight, but I didn’t revert back to eating disorder mode – it didn’t feel important.
“Once I had my twin girls, I really felt even freer because I had realised what makes me truly happy and content in life, being grateful for the health and happiness of my kids and husband.
“Not only does my body look much different but it feels so different too. I actually struggle with diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and an umbilical hernia which both make life a bit difficult. Pelvic floor physical therapy is also something i try to advocate for because it really helps women to heal after pregnancy and birth.
“I am so proud of my body. I’m also frustrated by the limitations, but I am so amazed by everything my body has done to carry, birth and nurse my children. I am a petite woman who carried twin girls until 37-and-a-half weeks – I feel like a warrior.
“I got the idea to share my postpartum body back in November of 2017 right after I had my twin girls. I felt like the more I shared my truth, the less shame I would feel – and it worked.”
Hayley shares her beautiful body positive pictures on Instagram and is often inundated with messages of love and support from other mums from all over the world.
“Oh my gosh my biggest hope is to be a positive inspiration for other mums. I don’t want anyone else to feel alone. I want the stigmas to end, and for us to feel comfortable being in our skin wearing what we want and not hiding away,” said Hayley.
“The reactions I receive on social media are almost all positive. Some women love what I share but don’t feel comfortable doing so themselves, but I’m really trying to build a community for us and encourage the mainstream media to drop their notions on what makes a body worthy of love.
“The most difficult part of this journey is that it isn’t a straight path to a destination. It’s not linear and there will be bumps and hurdles. There are still some days that have me frowning at myself before I remember that my worth and beauty is not defined by my flaws or ‘imperfections’.
“You are worthy. You are beautiful. You have grown. It’s so important to work on ourselves and how we both speak and think about our bodies – we need to do this for our children – the future.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/th3littlestavenger