A popular and occasionally debate provoking subject.
In this Instagram fuelled day and age we’re all aiming for the perfect image. But what is perfect. Does it even exist? It took me years to feel confident in my body. Which in hindsight was such a waste of time. I have always been slim, slight, with very little curve to me. When I was at school it seemed that this was not what girls were striving for; they were in their boob growing glory, sharing details of when they’d come on and embracing their femininity in this respect. And there was I, tiny boobs (I do believe some twat of a boy nicknamed me “coffee table” – no doubt he had a tiny nob and is now bald), skinny legs and faking period conversations because I didn’t even get mine until I was 17. I spent my teenage years dressing entirely wrong for my figure, hiding it under baggy clothes, and one of my saddest memories was at my sixth form ball; I wore a spaghetti strap slinky dress that couldn’t have a bra worn with it (so no cleavage for me or those curious lads) and in a colour that totally drained me of complexation. No one asked me to dance, and I wasn’t surprised.
Fast forward 15 years and here I am, feeling the most confident I ever had in my body. Confidence that if you’d said to me back then I’d feel in a few years time, I’d have laughed at the audacity of it. As I type this I am clad in another spaghetti strap dress, requiring no bra, although this time it’s just a pretty sun dress. And it’s one of the outfits I feel the most confident in.
Of course as we get older we do learn how to dress for our figures, we work out which shades of make up suit us and what we should avoid. Do I love everything about my body – no of course not. As most women do, I always pick at something about myself (usually my ridiculously pointy chin). But do I respect my body; Oh yes! 100%. It’s been through pregnancy, labour, an operation when it became apparent my baby had (what felt like) the worlds biggest head and had to be hoisted out through the sunroof. It’s kept my baby boy safe, warm, and nurtured for 9 months. I have always been fascinated by pregnancy and all that it entails and that has only increased since going through it myself. I was fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed for 13 months and again this only increased my respect for my body. And I’m not going to lie, I bloody loved my pregnancy and post baby boobs; they’re went up to a D from B and I relished in it. Of course now they are back down to a B again and look very different to pre- pregnancy, but I am so proud of how they gave Josh a great start in life.
Of course I have days, like we all do, where I feel like shit. I feel ugly, or hate my figure or I just can’t find anything nice to wear (we’ve all been there). But sometimes I try to cut myself some slack; at the end of the day this body that I occasionally moan about has created a human. It’s a walking, talking miracle! When you think about what your body has achieved it should make you sit back and realise what a bloody legend you are; you’ve created humans! Of course, it is much easier said than done at times. We are forever having pictures of celebrities who have “snapped back” in the space of three weeks of having a baby. What we don’t always realise or remember is that these celebrities have personal trainers, nutritionists, dieticians and stylists who are paid a very pretty penny to make said celebrity look back to their “perfect” self.
This is not real life though. This isn’t something we should compare ourselves too. Each of us is in a league of our own. We have all been through different trials and tribulations when it comes to our bodies. We’ve all overcome our own battles with confidence, and having other peoples (often unasked for) judgment. But what we must remember is that it’s OUR BODY. Trust it. Own it. Respect it. It’s helping you keep your tiny people alive! I remember a very close family member said to me, when I was pregnant, to curb how much I was eating. I smiled politely and nodded along whilst mentally devouring a magnum thinking “piss off”. I was already aware of how much weight I’d put on, how it was completely average and nothing out of the ordinary and quite frankly, between the restless legs and 7 months of sickness I was going to eat what the fuck I wanted! But because we are in a media driven world (which I must stress, I don’t resent; as a blogger I embrace it, but in a sensible manner), it is the norm now to achieve a Jessica Alba style flat stomach 6 weeks post partum. If I remember rightly at 6 weeks post Josh, I was in H&M stocking up on leggings and crying at basically anything that remotely bothered me thanks to some delayed baby blues. If a dietician and a personal trainer had happened to have turned up at that point then the PT would have been sent on a “run” to the nearest Dominos and the dietician would have been set to work on finding me food that helped keep my milk flow going. Because the “perfect” body was NOT my priority.
My idea of perfect is Josh. OK, realistically he’s not perfect; he’s an overactive bundle of mischief who spends his time making a mess and refusing my home cooked meals. But he’s mine. My baby. That my body (with the initial “help” from the husband) created. To me, that’s perfection. I am no longer the person who found perfection in a can of St Tropez, aiming to get the bikini tan of Rachel Stevens (my 00’s gal crush). I’m no longer the person spending half her money on padded bras so I didn’t look so flat chested compared to my friends. I’m no longer the person who was somewhat ashamed of my skinny legs; because now I love them and are (along with my bum) the part of me that I am most confident about.
Becoming a Mummy, seeing my body change and work hard, has made me a better person. A stronger person. A far more confident person. In fact my husband has told me that he fancies me more than ever as time’s gone on; I like to think that’s because my confidence has grown and I am happy with what I have.
We are allowed to like our bodies. Flaws and all. It doesn’t make you arrogant, or big headed. It’s a respect for yourself and your perfect imperfections that you should carry with you always. Accept yourself, embrace yourself, look after yourself and love the new Mum bod you have; it and you are beautiful.
**Credit to the ever amazing and positive Ursula at Mumbelievable for these wonderful confidence cards.