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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Making peace with my body

Quote - You are imperfect. Permanently and inevitably flawed... and you are beautiful

Before I was pregnant I had a love/hate relationship with my body. There were some areas I loved but some areas I really hated. Overall I had a rather diminished sense of self esteem. Even though I was only a size 8 I still wanted to have a flatter stomach. Looking back now I realise I was quite delusional. Now I wish I could get that not so perfect wish it was flatter tummy back. I look at photos from before and want to scream at that insecure girl and tell her she is beautiful and to love her body because one day she will want it back.

Pregnancy is a massive change to go through both emotionally and physically. A lot of women detest their pregnant bodies because of the bloating, weight gain, swollen feet etc. I wasn't one of them. I loved my pregnant body. Its the only time in my life that I have totally and utterly loved my body and had a positive attitude towards it. I was the heaviest I have ever been and yet I didn't care. I was just so happy that my body was finally doing what I had always wanted. It was doing the most amazing thing ever, giving me the greatest gift possible. I was so proud of my big swollen belly.

I'd love to be able to say that I felt just as good about my body post pregnancy, but unfortunately I didn't. The first few weeks I did, but I'm pretty sure that was a combination of being hyped up on hormones and delirious enough from sleep deprivation that my reflection was actually some kind of miraculous hallucination. You know big breastfeeding boobs and a flat tummy. After a while I realised my tummy was not flat, but just appeared this way compared to the bulging belly I had before. Once everything settled down and adjusted I realised my body had changed forever.

My new body includes bigger, but more deflated boobs. How is that even possible? Wider hips. Thicker thighs (the gap is well and truly gone). And a nice little pouchy stomach complete with a million stretch marks (ok not quite that many, but it feels like that). Like many women who've had a baby, I have to admit I am less than impressed with my new body. For some reason I thought I would be a rubber band and just snap back into shape as soon as the baby came out. You know like all the supermodels/celebrities/imaginary people seem to be able to do. Unfortunately instead of strutting around feeling like a supermodel right now, I'm still walking around in my maternity jeans five months post-partum. In my defence they are skinny jeans (but they have that awesome belly band at the top). I was even asked yesterday if I was pregnant again already. That was great for my self esteem let me tell you!  Um... no, I'm just fatter than usual, thanks for pointing that out.

I have actually lost 15kg of the 18kg 20kg I gained during pregnancy, but those last 5kg seem to have made a permanent home on my thighs and in my kangaroo pouch. Ok if I'm completely honest I lost all but 2kg and then I put another 3kg back on within the first month. My bad. Since then the scales refuse to budge despite a healthier diet and exercise. Normally I would assume the scales were faulty, but they're brand new so I can't really use that excuse. I've come to realise over the last few weeks that this may just be the new me. This is my new normal. So I have decided to get on with it and accept it. I'm embracing the new me.

Surprisingly enough there are unexpected benefits that come from my flaws new-found appearance. Cleavage is great for catching crumbs, as are my now touching thighs. Actually cleavage is great, period. I also have a permanent tattoo on my belly and I didn't have to get jabbed by thousands of needles to get it. I know some people call them tiger stripes, but I like to affectionately tell my daughter that she was so clever she drew a drawing on my belly while she was still inside. I also have a legitimate excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe (that's every girls dream... right?).

Seriously though, any time I get down I just remind myself that my body is amazing because my body has created life. There are so many people who will never get to experience that. I don't despise my body, I respect it. Instead of wasting time thinking about the past, I focus on all the things my new body has given me. A best friend to keep me company each day. A beautiful little mini me who I get to teach, nurture and protect for years to come. An endless supply of cuddles, kisses and smiles. A refreshed excitement for life and the chance to see the world through the eyes of a child. An immense amount of happiness and a never-ending source of unconditional love.

If the price for all of that is a few physical battle scars then I'm more than happy to pay it.

I'm accepting myself for who I am now and it feels good.

Toni x

Would you like to comment?

  1. Beautiful honest post Toni. I have had similar feelings with my body at all these times too. Must say though five months is very much early days! Took nine months for your body to grow bubs, so minimum nine months to return to close to before is what I was told :) It actually took 12 months first time for me, 18 months the second time. Of course my body's not exactly the same but that's how long til I felt I had regained my core strength. I too remind myself just how much my body does each day and how amazing my body is - it's given me my two gorgeous girls who are my everything xx

    1. Thankyou Elisa! I know I need to slow down and realise that I have ages to go to get back to my pre baby body. I think thats they key, I'm starting to realise that so I'm not wasting time obsessing over when my stomach will look decent again.

  2. Yes! And if we could only take the time to see ourselves through the eyes of our children, we'd exactly just how beautiful we are.

    1. So true - and I'm sure she couldn't care less how flat my stomach is or if I have stretch marks :)

  3. Toni, I hope you'll keep that perception. That you're fine just as you are.