It's taken me a while to decide to write this post as I wasn't sure whether people would understand. There are so many body positive people around and I hate to admit it but I still can't get on board with loving my post baby body. In fact I hate it. I am the least body positive person you will find and when I see people loving their post baby shape and embracing their bodies, i'm jealous. I want to feel like that. So why can't I?
This is a question i've been asking myself for a long time. I see images on instagram of amazing mums embracing their shape, going to the gym, the healthy eating images, mums eating boxes of chocolates etc and they are all confident and happy with the way they look. However, when I take a picture I can honestly tell you I scrutinise it for about an hour. Millions of silly questions and thoughts pop in to my self doubted mind. Do I look fat in it? Oh my god look at my chin! My legs look massive. I look huge in that coat. I am never, ever wearing that again. Why can't I just look at the picture and be happy? Why do I sit there and tear myself apart like some deranged, hormonal, high school chick. I thought the days of worrying over how other people view me were left at the school gates 15 years ago.
It doesn't just stop at photos. We have a long mirror in our bedroom. Every time I walk past it, I stand there and analyse myself, from the front, side and back. Why do I keep doing that? Nothing will have changed in the couple of hours since I last checked. I'll get dressed in the morning (which by the way takes ages as i'll have spent the best part of half an hour finding something that covers my mum tum and jumping up and down to squeeze into my jeans) and then I stand there and criticise myself from top to bottom. My husband constantly tells me off about this and has threatened to remove the mirror as he's sick of seeing me body shame myself on a daily basis.
Here's how I view other mummies and their take on their post baby bodies. You either get the chai eating, smoothie drinking, in the gym 24/7 mummies or the I am embracing my curves and scars and my body is beautiful mummies. Why can I not be in either of these categories? So as a nearly 32 year old mum of 2, one naturally and one through caesarean I am the mummy who hates my stretch marks and scars, hates my curves and hates my extra weight gain. There i've said it and I feel better for saying it.
I've written this post to hopefully show other mums who feel like me that it is actually ok to say it. It is ok to say you know what, I feel and look like shit. I bet there are other mums out there who put on a front but deep down they feel like shit. I'm saying it's ok to say it as I've honestly come to the point where now I've said it out loud i'm going to start making a change to help me learn to love myself.
But back to the original part. Why haven't I been able to accept my post baby body? When I sit down and really think about why i'm so unhappy it's pretty clear that I had very unrealistic expectations of what I'd be like after having kids.
I'm not gonna lie, I expected to look like an instant milf after giving birth. I imagined the photos of me holding my newborn with a bouncy blow dry and glowing skin with make up on. I imagine waltzing out of the hospital, holding on to the car seat and owning the corridor like it was a catwalk. In reality the glow on my face was sweat, I had a nighty on from Primark with was a size 16 and something that my great nan would have worn back in the day and my outfit for leaving hospital resembled the tracksuit trend from the 90's. Don't even get me started on the walk. The only thing I was owning was a John Wayne impression. Not to worry, i'll be in the gym in no time and sipping coffees with my friends in my skinny jeans wearing my sunnies. Wrong!!
I wasn't expecting to still be in maternity jeans for months down the line or hideous over sized nursing clothes. This is not what I imagined. I was expecting to have the sass and confidence that matched Kim Kardashian. When we went to a wedding I was expecting look as elegant and graceful as Kate Middleton, truth be told I looked more like Mrs Blobby.
And that is where the problem lies. The expectation and the pressure that is put on us by the media and every day life to bounce back into shape and look as good as you did 9 months previously. Our cultures obsession with weight is draining. It makes me so angry that I've spent the best part of four years obsessing over something that is insignificant. I should be focusing on motherhood and setting an example to my girls. Do I want them to scrutinise themselves over their weight the way I do? Hell No!!! It would break my heart if I saw either of them analysing themselves in the mirror. It's time to change.
Nobody tells you how hard motherhood is going to be. How tiring it's going to be. How somedays you won't even be able to leave the house, let alone get dressed and look and feel a million dollars.
Don't get me wrong I love exercise and healthy eating but I should be doing that because I want to do it not because i'm hoping it'll make me some sort of size 6 queen.
It's going to take a while but eventually I will be a body positive mum. I will embrace my curves and I will find myself sexy again. I've just got to remember that very point. It will take time!!
I've got to stop being so hard on myself and realise that my truly amazing body not only grew, developed and looked after 2 babies, it then managed to safely bring them into the world. It has also never failed me during my years of motherhood. Ok there have been some blips and a couple of minor operations but it managed to feed the girls, get me up in the middle of the night, carry them when my arms were exhausted and keep me going when I was sleep deprived. Having a mummy body is a miracle really when you think about it! Mum bodies are awesome!
So there you have it. Four years down the line my journey to accepting my post baby body has just begun.