The lovely Helen Tiplady pops her blogging cherry for our 11th Love Mum Body post, sharing her journey from desperately wanting to become a mum, to trying, really trying, to love her mum-body eight and a half months in...

I have always had issues with my body. From a teenage eating disorder to a twenty something paranoid, to a thirty something worrier, I have spent a lot of time in front of a mirror not liking what I see.

I think in all honesty being a dancer has heightened this body consciousness, and now I am in retirement at 32 (!) I must admit I am very unfit and flabby round the edges, and there is a part of me that is really enjoying that!

I have always wanted to be a mummy. When we decided to start trying for a baby, who could have predicted the years of planning, temperature measuring, weeing on sticks, counting days, endometriosis, crying, wishing, praying and shagging it would have taken.

skinny HelenOver the past five years, I have spent a lot of time stood side on in the mirror pushing my tummy out to see what I would look like pregnant. And every month would have that crashing, devastating monthly caller that meant no baby. 

After a long wait we were just about to start IVF when I found out I was already pregnant with Ethel. Uncanny timing. Apparently it happens a lot.

It was the strangest and most amazing feeling. I literally could not believe it was really happening to me and I went into a strange dream like state. 

I did seven tests just to be on the safe side, and after going for an early scan (I had a history of ectopic) they proudly confirmed I had a “viable sac”. Our little Ethel was 3mm big, and already perfect.

As my tummy started to swell and the puke started to flow, I felt amazing. Every time I was sick it made the pregnancy feel more real, and every time clothes got a little bit tighter I knew everything was OK.

I had an idea in my head that I would be one of those skinny pregnants, only putting on a tiny bit of weight with a little neat bump out the front….and that I would do loads of pregnancy yoga…..yeah right! I was like a classic text book of symptoms, sick every day right into labour, and massive swollen ankles (I could only get flip flops on in November) But I LOVED being pregnant, not only because I was growing our baby, but because I didn’t have to worry about how fat I looked.

gorgeous bumpEveryone knew I was pregnant and it was OK to be round. I wore clothes that I would never wear now, showing off my new curves and I felt amazing. I loved going out as I knew I could wear anything and just look pregnant, it was amazing!

I had not really thought about what happened to my body after having Ethel. It just hadn’t crossed my mind. With being so into being up the duff, and thinking about the birth, I just hadn’t thought about what I might look like afterwards.

I have been really lucky with stretch marks (I did buy shares in Bio Oil) with only a few stripes on my boobs and bum. But I hadn’t taken into account how long it would take me to get back to “normal” and 8 and a half months on I am still not there.

I know that it is going to take some serious pilates, giving up at least one of my chocolate bars a day and, cutting out the two sugars I now love in my tea in order to get back to my pre-pregnancy self, but I am not sure what that pre-pregnancy self really is…

I am not dancing anymore so will presumably never go back to being really fit and skinny, and I am not sure I can be bothered... So for now I guess it's try and shed a few more pounds so that I can go back to that feeling of not worrying about my size and being able to choose things in a size that I’m happy with. (Or get pregnant again, which would be a MIRACLE!)

Simon just looked over and asked what I was typing, so I said a post for the story of mum website called love your mum body. He said ‘I do love your mum body and I love our little girl’

So there we go, he loves it, so I should love it too. And I must admit I am trying really hard. As I look down at it now, in all its pyjama’d glory I am trying to love it, I really am trying!


This is a picture of my view now…my stretched belly button from two ops for endometriosis and a mosquito bite from the Port Eliot festival!


 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.

If you want to have a go with a gang, you can join our twitter 'make date' using #somum from 8.30 - 9.30pm BST (world times here) on 25 July 2012 or 'make date' in Canada with @hisveganmama, coming soon. 

For some more inspiration, check out the guest posts we’ve had so far:

My Body Is... Pippa Best @storyofmum

My Mom-Body in Poetry: Sonya Cisco @sonyacisco

Honouring all our Mama-Bodies: Lyndsay Kirkham @hisveganmama

I Earned My Stripes: Becky Gower @mummyadventure

Post-Baby Perfect? Adele Jarrett-Kerr @AdeleJK

Worrying about Nipples: Tattooed Mummy @Tattooed_Mummy

When you can't love your Mum-Body: Emma @TheRealSupermum

Love it. Period: Lisa Hassan Scott @lisahassanscott

Baring my truth: my mummy tummy: Ericka Waller @ErickaWaller1

You show me yours...: Chelsea Williams @MsMummyofTwo

What's not to love?: Kate Ladd @MakeshiftMummy