Joanna Venditti was in for a surprise when her blog post "What Having Four Kids (Including Twins) Has Done To My Body And My Confidence" became viral and attracted both positive and negative comments on the Internet.
Venditti's blog chronicled her experience before, during, and after her third pregnancy. She was carrying twins.
She recounted how her belly expanded to basketball size during her first two pregnancies, and when she found out she was having twins, she knew her belly would be enormous.
In her blog, she writes, "When I found out I was expecting twins I couldn't wrap my mind around how enormous I was going to get. I was already well known for having huge basketball size bellies whenever I was pregnant, but growing two babies at once??? To be honest, I was kind of freaking out about it."
So how did she deal with it? It was simple: she decided to remind herself that her body is a vessel, that it was not just her own but she was carrying her twin babies inside. Every time she started to think about how big she got, she told herself, "You are a vessel, you are a vessel!"
And it worked. Eventually, she was able to accept and enjoy her body. As a result, she began to feel confident about her body, even more confident than she had ever been. She said, "Anytime I start doubting my new curves or war wounds I look around the room and ask myself, how many other people in this room grew two people inside their body at once?"
This new mindset helped her even after the twins were born. While she worked to trim down her postpartum body, she did not beat herself up about it. She used to have the "perfect bikini body," but now she says, "I get it, I am the thirty-something mom now with four kids and I am really proud of that."
Her blog, in which she also shared photos of herself before, during, and after her pregnancy, received mixed reactions. Many readers applauded her candidness and were inspired by experiences. However, others said she was being self-important and made too much fuss about being pregnant with twins.
Venditti says to Yahoo Parenting, "My message was: There's this mentality of 'get up and get your body back and hide until then.' I was trying to say that yes, I was important because I had twins. Women who've had babies have done something important. I hate when people miss the message."
The mother of four has learned how to deal with her critics by not addressing any particular commenter; instead, she wrote a general response to the negative comments.
She writes, "Having self worth is important to having self acceptance... I think its okay to be proud of your strengths and accomplishments and find peace with your weaknesses."
It took a while before she was able to overcome the criticisms. Of her experience with cyber bullies, Venditti says, "Of course there will be people who disagree and want to challenge what I have to say. That is not only expected but is good to create conversation. But, I have learned that there are adult bullies out there and am learning how to take a breath, let it go and move on."