Dear Body Image
So far I have written to the Body Image of my 5 year old self and the Body Image of my 15 year old self, so when Pippa over at Story of Mum asked me to contribute to the Love Mum-Body Month I thought it deserved another post.
I am worried I am going to sound smug here, but there are no two ways about it, I love my post natal body, since I have had both my children my body image and self esteem are very solid, sure I have the odd wobble but generally I have never been happier in my own skin.
My body isn't perfect, in fact it is covered in many scars, and will never be skinny but I am just not bothered by it like I used to be. I'm tall with a big frame (or proportionate build as the police like to say). No amount of dieting will ever make me less than a size 14 hips unless I want my entire pelvis shattered and rebuilt! Likewise I'm always going to be a 34/36 back unless I have my ribs removed and I am totally fine with that.
I know how we can all have a tendency to focus on the negatives rather than the positives - I used to hate my big nose, large frame, big feet, knobbly knees but now they just don't bother me like they used to because I stopped fixating on them and now I focus on me as a whole - an overall positive, rather than my minor niggly bits which ultimately don't really matter and I think that has helped me massively.
Also I think it is important to celebrate the positives of your body - I love my eyes, my cheekbones, my skin, my legs, my fingers (freakily long fingers), I just try not to worry about the rest and I have been very lucky that my body has not changed much at all since I became a mum, in fact if anything it has improved considerably postnatally!
As long as I can remember I have had a pot belly, it has never been flat but sometimes it is rounder sometimes flatter. Before kids I was always careful about what I wore so I didn't look pregnant. I loved being pregnant because finally I could wear dresses and answer yes to the "are you pregnant" question
even if I was only 7weeks and not showing yet. I have also been somehow blessed with very stretchy skin- I do have some faint stretch marks on my hips from puberty but that's it- not a single pregnancy stretchmark from either of my two pregnancies and I didn't moisturise after a few sticky icky bio-oil attempts after which I decided I couldn't be bothered. I was very lucky.
Somehow I am a bizarre freak of nature in that I lose a lot of weight when pregnant. I grow a bump at the expense of my arms, my arse, my thighs, best of all I get defined cheekbones (and the glossy pregnancy hair), and this weightloss continues when breastfeeding so since becoming a mum I have probably actually been at my thinnest, (albeit not healthiest as I do have a tendency to eat too much junk food- something I am working on!)
I have never managed to stick at a diet for longer than a week but so long as my BMI is in the normal range then I am happy - having been 3 stone heavier in my late teens and classed as overweight, I personally would not be happy to go back there so I do need to keep an eye on my ginger cake addiction. Unfortunately as breastfeeding is reducing now my baby is sort of sleeping through the night, then I do need to start watching what I eat or have another baby as a bizarre, yet very effective for me, weightloss strategy!
I suppose part of my good body image is down to luck and genes, I know that, but it also is because I have worked very very hard on my self esteem, after a rough few years in my early twenties I made a real effort to be more self aware and not so self critical and although I am still a work in progress in some areas, I have managed to achieve a fairly zen like calm about how I look these days - I think that is also partly thanks to being too busy and frazzled to care.
I need a haircut, I am often covered in baby vomit or bits of pureed vegetable and bogies (the toddler thinks it is funny to wipe her nose on me), and while breastfeeding I rarely wear a bra as I can't be faffed, but I don't care - I am a mum- my belly grew two beautiful kids, my breasts nourished them,
my vagina gave birth to them, my arms cuddled them, my thighs spent hours walking and jigging them, my hands stroked them, my mouth kissed them, my eyes watch them grow up into incredible girls. I love my body and I love my girls and I hope my daughters will grow up to have the same positive body image I finally managed to achieve, especially if they have inherited my figure and not their dads skinny one!
Lots of love
P.S I couldn't find any playdoh to do my model (the toddler must have eaten it) so I cheated and took a picture of my wedding cake topper I made (check out my big nose and cheekbones :)). That is the day I felt like the most beautiful woman in the world marrying the most wonderful man in the world. The happiest and best day of my life, knowing LordCurd loves my body exactly how it is also really helps me accept my body, wobbly bits and all.
About Love Mum-Body
This month on story of mum, we’re sharing photos of how our bodies have changed since we became mums and grandmums. You can photograph your actual body, or you can shape your body in plasticine. We don’t mind how you share it, as long as you do your very best to love it.
For some more inspiration, check out the guest posts we’ve had so far: