Pregnancy is no walk in the park, especially when you live your life in the public eye. In today’s world, we’re curious about the lives of bloggers and internet personas as we are about the lives of celebrities. We talked to Rita Dahdah Fawaz, a Lebanese-Nigerian lifestyle blogger and a new mama about all things pregnancy, health, and self-love.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I like to refer to myself as a life and style blogger. I blog and share photos/moments about my personal style and everything related to my daily life: my family, travels, interests, places I enjoy going to, thoughts, etc. I have a background in both marketing and fashion styling. I lived in several countries, including Nigeria, Lebanon, Morocco, New York and Qatar, and I feel this has had a great impact on my personality, style, interests and how I see the world.
How did you maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy?
Haha, I actually did not! I ate what I felt like eating and barely exercised, but I enjoyed every second of my nine months. I figured, we are each going to have to diet and workout at some point, and in my case, I preferred to do so post delivery instead of stressing about looking thin and fit during my pregnancy. I preferred to spend that time connecting with my baby and doing what’s best for him, including staying away from stressful people, situations, and thoughts. I ended up gaining 25 kilos (I was quite thin before my pregnancy). Now, at five months postpartum, I have already lost 18 thanks to breastfeeding for the first month, followed by healthy eating, slimming massages, and swimming. I still have 7 kgs to lose!
We know that being in the public eye can sometimes be challenging; what are some challenges you’ve faced as a public persona?
I’ve been blogging for 8 years, 5 of which have been quite public for me. The day I decided to put my life out there, I was prepared for all types of things exposure could bring my way; both the good and the bad. Last year, I guess I pissed some people off, and I became the victim of online bullying and made headlines all over regional publications spreading false news about it. It was a challenging time for my family and me, but once it became a legal matter, with the court issuing an order in my favor, all those publications had to revoke the false news they circulated and issue an apology. What I noticed is, the more public you are, the less of a voice and opinion you start to have. For me, having a voice is the reason I started blogging in the first place. But I must accept that my honest opinions will sometimes offend some people, who will either choose to unfollow me or create fake accounts to constantly bully me online. In both cases, the best thing to do is rise above it all, ignore the negative energy, focus on the good aspects of social media, and keep doing you.
How did you keep a positive mindset and a healthy body image during pregnancy?
I never really had curves until I got pregnant. I couldn’t believe how beautiful my stomach l looked. I was so round and big, and I just wanted to show it off. I wore crop tops, tight-fitting clothes, and bikinis any chance I got. I just felt the most beautiful I had ever felt in my life. Maybe because it’s such an honor to get pregnant and carry a life inside you. I always joke to my friends that my pregnancy chapter was probably the highlight of my social media existence. I carried it with such confidence that many followers and even other influencers began to inspire from my pregnancy style, embrace their bump instead of hiding it, and feel confident about their new curves instead of dread them. It’s such a wonderful time that we only get to experience a couple of times during our lifetime if we’re lucky. That alone is enough reason to celebrate and embrace every minute of it.
We’re seeing how you have your healthy mode on these days post pregnancy- tell us a bit about how you’re tweaking your lifestyle to get back in shape.
I was a very active person pre-pregnancy, but I haven’t been able to go back to that pace because I’ve literally taken on the role of a full-time mom – and it’s not easy to find time for yourself at this stage. For that reason, I’m taking it easy; step by step. I do slimming massages twice a week, I swim twice a week and I’m in a healthy, balanced calorie diet because I wake up at 5 am every day and need the energy to take care of my baby. I always remind myself what my body has been through and how much my baby needs me to stay healthy and happy. This all goes back to finding the right pace and balance for your lifestyle, and everything else will follow naturally.
What advice would you give our readers who are struggling with body image issues?
Forget what you see on the media. Most perfect bodies are retouched, and most of those women with “perfect bodies” have so much they’re insecure about too. Nobody is perfect, and everyone has an insecurity. The first step is to start by loving yourself, and loving everything about yourself that makes you different. We are now living in a time where “different” equals cool; where “flaws” equals beautiful. Take advantage of that, and wear your “flaws” proudly. You have no idea how many lives you can touch, and just how far self-confidence will take you.
To catch more of Rita’s life, make sure to follow her on Instagram!