I went naked sunbathing the other day.
Now there is a way to begin a blog post. Don’t panic I have not got arrested for public indecency I was solo at a cabin, on a hill, in the middle of nowhere in Scotland.
I put on suncream.
Why do you want to be reading this and forced to imagine my wobbly bottom surrounded by heather? Because it was an achievement for me, as is being this frank about my own body.
I have never been comfortable with my figure, prior to having children I have been unnecessarily unkind to my body and self. Struggled in my own skin. At times, I have felt so gratingly self-conscious, have wept in changing rooms amongst piles of brightly coloured clothes.
Body confidence is something I have never had.
Now I look back on the pre mummy size four pictures of me, with boobs that did not need industrial scaffolding, no sign of a stretchmark in sight and wish I had worn more miniskirts.
It was not vanity, more because of self-doubt. It is hard to put it into words. I knew I wasn’t fat but I just saw disappointment staring back at me in the mirror. I was not pretty enough, not good enough, those negative thoughts surrounded me until that was all I was and all I could see.
In my teenage years this persistent dissatisfaction with my body spurned an unhealthy relationship with food, although I don’t think I realised it at the time. Nowadays I munch through three meals a day, plus the leftovers on my son’s plate and a snickers for good measure. Then I would get through the day on diminutive salmon stir fry. I avoided dairy and gluten. It sounds healthy but it was not. Because of my negative thought processes, because of the reasons why I ate what I ate…or did not eat. I wouldn’t have labelled it an eating disorder, but I would now and that is difficult to face.
Life is too short to waste time berating yourself, but such negative voices are a desperately hard thing to move past.
My pregnancy was a shock. Weighing just under 8 stone I recall the midwife discussing the possibility of taking some build up shakes. I immediately resolved that I would shelf all of my preoccupations, the guilt shame and anxiety to ensure my baby was healthy. I put on four stone whilst pregnant. Yes that demanded some very stretchy leggings.
For the first time in years I enjoyed eating and wanted to do it. I did not count calories and I think I gained so much weight because my body held onto it like a sponge in fear that I would restrict it again.
Post birth I was shocked by how jellylike my stomach was, goodbye muscle definition. I looked like a beige dollop of playdough that was pretending to be a zebra. Darn stretchmarks. My traumatic birth meant walking was difficult for months so attempting proper exercise was an impossibility.
I breastfed for a while and ate healthily as I needed to have energy and to be healthy for my son. It is something I have maintained since and I am proud of that. As time ticked by I did not diet, I ate well, returned to work when my son was eight months old and he was a tornado toddler so the weight came off naturally. Well most of it, I am happily teetering around nine stone and a size 10.
Not that numbers matter anymore.
We as women are flooded by pictures of ‘perfection’. As mothers we are met with comments such as ‘when are you planning to lose that baby weight?’ and images of celeb mums in size six leather hot pants two days after having their children.
I had yet to have a shower or brush my teeth two days after my son was born!
When you are an emotional wreck from a thousand hormones singing through your veins you DO NOT need that extra pressure. That said I also won’t berate those who do want to lose the baby weight. I hope they are doing it for them and no one else. And those that bounce back to looking uber svelte after having little ones, you amazing women you.
But for those of us whose body will not look the same again…you look beautiful, you carried and nurtured another human being.
I respect my body for that.
My hatred of myself has dwindled and faded into the odd disgruntled comment about my mummy tummy.
I don’t foresee myself as someone who looks in the mirror in the morning and whoops at my reflection, or does not care, just a little, that my hips like to poke out over my jeans…but I will embrace it.
It took 4 stone, stretchmarks and a little boy for me to be happy with my body.
This sounds a lot like me! I gained 4 stone the first time, and only ever lost 3.
I still have my moments, I’d like to be firmer again. But I don’t care enough to stop eating like I once did! I have a much healthier relationship with food and exercise, and with myself, than before pregnancy.
I definitely felt more confident in my skin after having my daughter. I suppose you change your perspective of what is important once you’ve produced another human being! I struggled more after having my twins because the stretched skin on my tum from the mega-bum is pretty bad! But slowly I’m getting there, thanks for the reminder, great read 🙂
Thank you lovely, carrying twins is an amazing achievement! And thank you for such a kind comment xx
I absolutely love this and can relate to it massively. I have lived with anorexia since the age of eighteen and it actually wasn’t until I had my fifth baby sixteen years later that I finally felt happy with my body. Now, I’m bigger than I have ever been, I eat pretty much none stop, and I have finally stopped worrying about my weight. I always say that my babies saved me, it just took me a while to realise. #Brilliantblogposts
Thank you 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed the read, it was a hard one to write! It took me a while too but I feel the same about my little boy xx
Well done, be proud!
Fantastic! What a great post and so lovely to read!
Thank you so much for such a lovely comment x
I love this. I wouldn’t say that I am happy with my body the way that is it – a running joke in our house hold is that whenever my inquisitive toddler lifts my t-shirt it’s to play with mummy’s beige playdoh – but I 100% appreciate it and am thankful that it is the way it is. It nurtured and sustained life, it bore what many women’s bodies cannot and it undertook one of the best and most important challenges of natural life. I have stretchmarks, but none that I am offended by. I love my body now more than I ever did before regardless of how lumpy it is, maybe I just wish I had respected it this much when I was younger too. Lucy xx
Such a lovely comment thank you Lucy..my son at this moment is patting my tummy saying ‘wibble wobble’! I too wish I could give my teenage self the same peace of mind I feel about my body!x
This is so beautifully written Jade, it sounds like one of those magic posts that write themselves because the emotions are felt so keenly. I have massive, very detrimental body confidence issues that I’m not brave enough to write about yet, but maybe I will one day. I do try and look at my girls and see how amazing my body is for growing them so good, but I’m not in the acceptance stage yet, I still feel huge amounts of shame when I look in the mirror and that’s wrapped up in a lot of my psyche, not just weight. Thank you for showing that there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Xx
I cant think of a gracious and well written enough response for such a lovely comment. I still haven’t been able to read the post back but I know writing it helped somehow. The day when you write about yours I will read the post keenly and know I will love what you write. xx
This is beautiful. You are beautiful. You were gorgeous pre pregnancy and you are gorgeous post pregnancy. That is because you are beautiful on the inside and it shines out to your gorgeous hot mamma outside. I’m so glad you finally see it too xx
Oh, Jade, you beautiful brave girl for writing this. I, too, look back and realise that I had what must be classified as an eating disorder in my teens – surviving on next to nothing all day and on some days prising myself for not having eaten a thing and almost loving the sound of my stomach rumbling – I now know that it was me trying to have control on some aspect of my life and I understand the reasons for that now – I didn’t then. But my relationship with my figure has always been a negative one but you are right – having children changes that perception somewhat and gives me a sense of pride that my body achieved that – I’m not entirely happy but a lot happier than I was as a young girl. Such an interesting subject – I could go on and on! Well done for writing this lovely xx
I think it definitely helps women realise how amazing their bodies are. Making a whole other human! Amazing things. I think getting older also makes you realise it’s such a silly thing to be bothered about! Xx
Jade, your writing is always so beautiful and this is no exception. You’ve moved me to tears as i relate to all of this. I’ve struggled with body confidence since my early teens, my sister and mum have such a different physique to me (I have boobs and ass compared their naturally slim build) and I always wished I was like my sister and hated my body. I did the same as you avoiding gluten and dairy for many years, convincing myself it was healthy but knowing deep down the problem was my self esteem and how I think of myself when I look in the mirror. This is a massive achievement and I’m so proud of you – let’s continue feeling confident of our bodies and stand tall with pride. Such a gorgeous and brave post xx
Yes, yes, Jade. I hear you! I have a love hate relationship with my own body and never really “respected” my body until I had my kids too. Then I realised how much I should love and accept my body, well, for myself. I am glad you have raised such an important issue.
One of my favourite blogs. This must have taken so much strength and courage to write in some places. Well done.
Some days i feel proud of the way I look, knowing i grew two beautiful children and other days I want to wear a paper bag over my head and a sack for clothing. Thanks for making me smile x
Thank you so much it was hard to write, some bits made me feel ashamed/embarrassed for reasons I am all together unsure of but I just wanted to send out some positivity to us mummy’s who go through so much and do so much. I definitely have sack days and good days but look at my son and think it was worth it xxx
Loved this Jade. I always love your writing. I’m glad you’ve found acceptance. I definitely have days where I hate my body and then days where I don’t. It’s so sad how much we all relate to this. It seems that no one is immune to negative feelings about their appearance.
Haha Min thank you darling, as I do yours…I think we are both masters of the long sentence and obscure references. I had a realist down with myself and had to question if the negative days come from vanity but I don’t think it does its all about confidence and being reminded that my wobbly butt is the consequence of making a human being..its pretty amazing 🙂 xx
I absolutely loved reading this Jade. You write in such an engaging way that I feel like you’re sat on the sofa telling me your story. Wish you lived a bit nearer, I know we would get on like a house on fire over a shared snickers. Ok no, I don’t share snickers but we can have one each! Anyway I really relate to the battle with self image and it’s so refreshing to see you have manage to conquer it! X
It was not an easy conquer and I still get a bit down on myself, but I have a beautiful boy to look at if my eyes feel a bit sad. Ha I would love to live nearer..I would buy a snickers multipack xxx
Love this! Our bodies are never going to be the same after having a baby – but they shouldn’t be, should they? Our bodies created life. We pushed a person out of our nether regions. All pretty impressive stuff that we should be proud of.
Hehe nether regions! I love that descriptive…We should definitely be proud it is an amazing achievement! xxx
This is so gorgeous Jade. I love how candid you are and I think you’re spot on – new mothers shouldn’t even be thinking about their weight or dieting. Our bodies are so strong and impressive, we should be proud. They aren’t going to snap back to how they were before and why should they? They tell a story.
If you’ve not listened to it before I think you’d like Hollie McNish’s poem – Wow. Xxx
Ah Ellen I love a bit of spoken word…I am not against those who diet but I am against the fact that socially I know I felt like I should like I should look like a goddess 2 days post birth..that looking so wobbly made me depressed…when actually I had earnt the right to look wibbly and stripey..and I am proud I do now 🙂 Big love lady xx