My body is a beautiful disaster.
A few years ago I had to face a reality that a woman would never face. I remember I was totally
After one of the gynecological examination which periodically I undergo, I have tested positive for
HPV, and I was diagnosed with cervical cancer.My world was crumbling all around me. Since I was a child, I dreamed of becoming a mother and for an istant I saw my future fading away.
The surgery for the removal of “the vile” from the medical point of view was fine, even if the
gynecologist kept on telling me to hurry to have children, because the “problem” could recur and
that the solution could be more complicated than that. For me it was a very bitter bite to swallow.
I also believe because of this, I reacted by becoming very critical about my body. I was always
looking to improve my physical appearance and I was working hard to get better results, more
firmness, more definition of the forms; I took care of feeding with a good diet.
Until the day when, after a few attempts, I got pregnant! I cried so much for this joy! The future
almost impossible that I had longed for, was about to come true!
During pregnancy, unfortunately, I let myself go. The hormonal impact sent me a little ‘down: I felt
frustrated at the changes that “I suffered” (especially in the last quarter), not so wanted by my
partner (physically), in my opinion precisely because of these changes. I neglected the good
nutrition that had led up to that moment, trying to comfort my sadness and loneliness with food
and I took 27 kg.
My childbirth was the best thing that ever happened to me! The situation more intense and
exciting that I have ever experienced! It took 32 hours from the braking of water. During which
most times I felt fall in, believing of not making it. But I have always raised and it took all the
strength I had! Also the new one built just during that experience!
If mentally and spiritually I came out enriched, at the physical level I lost a lot. Something had
changed and I fear that it won’t be as before, even though I’m working on. An important loss of
blood and a good amount of points for tearing me bedridden and in positions that were not
comfortable for a good start of breastfeeding.
The nurses have unfortunately worsened the situation, using invasive methods for me and my
little to make him sucking (pinched my nipple to add strength to the mouth of the little one). I left
the hospital full of fissures and extremely painful for me it was impossible to sit and stand so
erect, also for muscle pain in the back and in general to all my body. The milk didn’t come yet,
despite my commitment to face the breast pain during feedings waiting for the milk arriving. My
worst nightmare was the awakening of the child and the need to satisfy his need for food and
I was confused, in pain and insecure. I have to add formula, but how much and for how long? Milk
would come? Would I be healed?
With the help of breasfeedig consultant, my partner, my family and my little Filippo, in two weeks
after returning from the hospital, I was able to heal the breasts from fissures, I eliminated the
formula addition and now I’m brestfeeding exclusively with joy and excitement!
Even though I can not sit peacefully. What I see in the mirror is now a body almost deformed, full
of stretch marks everywhere, falling. I find it hard to accept me externally. I’m looking at my photos of early pregnancy and I think how I was foolish to claim to be “fat” and not fit at that moment.
I would go back in time just to take better care of myself and assess pregnancy with foresight,
understanding that there is also an “after” in relation to that wonderful big belly and that this is
not just about the arrival of a baby to love for the rest of life, but also about the woman who gave
I wish I had remembered that first and foremost I am a woman, I have to respect me and love
what I see in the mirror; that just a function of my being a woman, I’m strong and are able to
overcome the critical moments, with the knowledge that they are fleeting, and I first have to put
my commitment to fix them.
Chiara DeMarchi is a regional photographer for A Beautiful Body Project based in Italy! To book a shoot with her, visit her website by clicking any photo in this article!
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