This is one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. I feel silly even typing that, but it’s true. I’ve bared my deepest darkest thoughts in posts on my blog, talking about depression, anxiety and abuse, and yet it’s a post about my post baby body which has me hovering over the publish button.
I’ve managed to lose my baby weight since having my third baby back in October last year. I’m back down to my pre pregnancy weight, but I haven’t been exercising much at all and I’m not toned. My tummy is the part of my body I’m most self conscious about. I can’t help it, I just don’t like how it looks.
I have stretch marks, mainly from my first pregnancy, and with each subsequent pregnancy they’ve just got worse, more pronounced. My belly button, once stretched out with my pregnant stomach, is now sunken and wrinkled. It droops over my belly bar, the piercing I had redone to try and cover up the ugliness after my second baby.
Despite being fairly straight up and down, I’ve always carried more weight on my hips and belly than any other area. It makes me avoid wearing certain clothes for fear of how I would look. I wear ‘sucking in’ pants with almost every outfit when I go out.
With Channel Mum promoting body positivity this week, I decided to uncover myself and show my readers how I really look. I wanted to share my body in all its *almost unedited* glory in the hope that somewhere out there was another mum who maybe wasn’t confident of her body after giving birth who might find comfort in seeing what another mum’s tummy looks like under the clothes, but I also wanted to share it because I’m sick of people rolling their eyes when I say I’m not confident with how I look.
Yes, I’ve lost the baby weight, yes I’m slimmer than I was a few months ago, and yes I wear a size 8-10, which I understand is smaller than the national average, but it doesn’t mean I’m happy with how I look. It doesn’t mean I like what I see when I look in the mirror.
On our recent holiday to Spain I stuck to swimming costumes for the first couple of days. I didn’t want to get my belly out. I didn’t want to ‘compete’ with the other women around the pool who were bronzed and slim and didn’t have weird belly buttons or skin that bunched up in strange lines even when lying flat… and then on the third day I thought ‘sod it’. I wanted a tan on my body as well as my arms and legs.
I put on my bikini. I walked around by the pool in my bikini. I walked to and from the pool toilet in my bikini. And I swam in the pool with my kids in my bikini. This may sound ridiculous to some, but this was a huge thing for me. I didn’t feel confident. I didn’t feel sexy. But I was wearing my bikini and showing the world my mum tum, and it was ok.
When my mum took a photo of me in the pool I almost didn’t share it, I could see my tummy rippling under the water. It made me want to hide it away, to crop the photo. But I didn’t. I shared it. And the likes, loves and positive comments rolled in. I couldn’t believe that people were actually saying how nice I looked. And although I still couldn’t totally see it myself, it was good to have been confident enough in that moment at least, to share the real me, the natural, at ease me, rather than covering up.
I feel this post has rambled a little, but I just needed to get it out. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that being a mum is tough. It’s a blessing, don’t get me wrong, and I’m eternally grateful for my three children, but it’s a huge transition to make when you give birth, and your body is changed forever.
I’m not at the stage when I can say I’m truly happy with how I look, with my post baby body, but I’m proud of my body for all it’s done and for all it’s given me, and that’s got to be a step in the right direction.