Before finding out the wonderful news that I have been shortlisted as a finalist for the Best Baby blog in the Tots100 MAD blog Awards (I don’t think I’ve mentioned it much have I?? 😉 ) I was wanting to write about how I am becoming more accepting of my body now I’ve had my babies. However the thought of being at an Awards ceremony with people I have only conversed with over various social media platforms fills me with a little bit of angst. Best start breaking out the Spanx again.
No in all seriousness I am becoming more accepting and less worried what other people may think about my post-partum body. You know what? I bet no one else actually thinks about my post-partum body except me but you know what I mean, in a world where we can filter EVERYTHING to perfection, it’s no wonder we all feel a little self conscious from time to time.
So in the past year since I popped out the littlest one I have been living my life in spanx, afraid and disgusted in myself to let the belly hang out. I was never one for the smooth washboard kind of stomach pre-children, I was always on the squidgy side of life but it was still slim and I could easily wear a size 10, 12 at my largest. Since having had two babies in very close succession my poor tummy has not had the chance to spring back to its pre pregnancy squidgy self.
Unfortunately I wasn’t blessed with good genes when it came to stretch marks either, not that they are hideous because they aren’t but I do have a good set of tiger stripes, no amount of oiling and massaging was going to help these from forming.
And its not just my tummy area, what were a lovely pair of pert full boobies which I was quite proud of in a vain kind of way are now spaniel’s ears, empty socks with tennis balls in the end. I was at the breast clinic the other week and the consultant was trying to tell me in the nicest possible way that because I was coming to the end of breastfeeding (14 months woo woo – where are my new boobies as my consolation prize???) the breast tissue was thinning and I was losing volume “so spaniel ear boobs then?” I said, the consultant couldn’t help but snigger….but then agreed!!
I have spaniel ear boobs and a wibbly tiger stripe tummy, add that to the wrinkles which are furrowing deeper around my eyes that I need a trowel to fill when I apply my makeup and the poor brain that is losing more and more brain matter with each sleepless night, I am becoming a shadow of my former spritely self. Add all this to the fact I now have to have physio on my hip as having two pregnancies in close succession and carrying small people has misaligned my hip joints and causes my leg to collapse randomly – Yeah a total young spring chick me.
However I have chosen not to get bogged down in it too much, some days I feel bloated and hideous and wish to hide away, other days I am proud of what my body has achieved. It carried two babies – not very well as they were both prem, but I carried them, I’ve fed them (expressed with eldest for a year and still breastfeeding the youngest). I have carried these little bodies around on me for days on end, even now I am carrying two small people around me at the same time – Just call me Wonderwoman.
Although I don’t have the figure to die for, I am the healthiest physically I have ever been – apart from the dodgy hip. Since having my youngest I have been running and have managed to reach a total of 15 km – not something to brag too much about but for someone who could barely run to the end of the street at the beginning 15 km is pretty impressive.
And who’s approval do I need to have to feel accepted? No-one’s apart from my own, there’s so much pressure to spring back and look better than you did pre pregnancy that we can get bogged down in trying to lose the weight, look better, impress others with our transformations that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Who care’s what you look like, is that how we are remembered in life? by how quickly we got back into our size 10’s/12’s/whatever.
If I could have a word with my younger self when I used to cry in the mirror at how ugly I felt I would tell her to stop finding the flaws and look for the beauty, tell her to snap the f*@% out of it and stop being so vain. The hours I wasted feeling down and hating myself because my thighs touched at the top, because I felt short and dumpy, because my shoulders are broad and I don’t have slender arms, because my hips are rounded and my waist is soft, because my legs had thread veins and cellulite, because my teeth weren’t straight. And that’s just what you can see! Then there’s the hating that I can’t hear very well so always feel on the outside of the conversation, or that I don’t think I’m particularly funny or interesting, I never feel like I have anything exciting to say – put me on the spot and my mind goes blank. I can list flaw after flaw, imperfections litter my figure and my self confidence can sometimes be rock bottom but can I find the positive?
I’m not out to blow my own trumpet but I like my eyes, I think they are pretty and it’s something I look at when I meet a person, I can be totally absorbed by peering into someone’s eyes…then after that I start to struggle, I like my smile as long as its captured from my left side (seriously check out my pictures….I’m almost always on the same side posing away, unless I’m pulling a stupid face)
That’s it I’m struggling to add anymore but I know I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
It’s not only our thoughts about ourselves we need to change, but also the way we judge each other, I’m not going to claim that I haven’t gasped at the magazine covers littered with the ‘Look at her now’ kind of pictures and sometimes exclaim at the figure portrayed in front of me and how could they let themselves go like that. But then I am quickly bombarded with the air brushed, photo shopped images of what these celebrities looked like before they were papped not looking their most glamourous self. We are in a world where everything has to be picture perfect, not just in the way we look but also in the way we live our lives and the influence that has on young girls and boys for that matter is scary. Being a teacher where I deal with young teenagers every day opens your eyes to the pressures that they are under to be like ‘everyone else’ to be ‘perfect’. It’s not right.
I am all for supporting the plus size model (although I hate a size 12 being deemed plus size?!!?), the real model with their flaws and imperfections, the showcases of mum bods post partum etc. I think we need more of the world portraying reality rather than a delusion – its not an illusion but a delusional warped version of what reality should be.
So yes I’m not perfect, my thread veins and cellulite, my jelly belly and poor lifeless boobs (they are not that lifeless really I’m being melodramatic), they are not the trademarks of a picture perfect body but I’ve never been picture perfect, I never will and that doesn’t matter because I’m me and there’s nothing wrong with me, just as there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s time to be more forgiving towards ourselves and learn to love what you’ve got and appreciate who you are as a person. Whether you think you’re not good enough, clever enough, pretty enough etc there will be someone looking at you wishing they had what you had, it’s time we learnt to love ourselves.
Amazing what a filter and good camera angle can do for confidence bring on the awards ceremony…only if its filtered of course 😉