Post Pregnancy Body Confidence | Loving, Not Loathing, The Lumps
We women aren’t so good with being kind to ourselves and body confidence isn’t something we’re that comfortable with. I’m guilty of it: I’ve lost count of the times I’ve moaned about my legs looking nasty, and the cellulite jiggle on my thighs. Feeling good about my body tends only to come after an intense regime of hair removal, moisturising and blemish concealing, and even then I’m seeking reassuring approval from my partner or friends. When did body confidence come down to second opinion and why are we inherently not worthy of being seen in public?
I never had an amazing relationship with my body. I hated puberty and grew up embarrassed and ashamed of my body, Why? I felt vulnerable because I felt different and the body I was developing didn’t feel like me. And being constantly teased and bullied by both the girls and boys at school just fed my insecurities, making me think that others knew better and I ought to heed their much qualified ‘advice’. That’s when we learn how to deal with our own body confidence, and when we perceive ourselves as inferior because of our highlighted flaws, our validity as a human is challenged. To be accepted we go with the crowd and if the crowd doesn’t like you then public opinion overrides and and the consensus is just to hate yourself.
Skip forward several years and as your independence into adulthood grows so does your confidence, but not entirely. The playground taunts are behind you and the more mature world around you diminishes your flaws. Only now you’re still aware of your ‘gross bits’, the parts you’d definitely get reduced or enlarged or removed altogether. This is adult body confidence – it’s all in your head, no one really cares or notices, and no one’s entitled to an opinion if they do.
Pregnancy is just like puberty: it’s an exciting change, you’re hormonal and every new weird thing your body does makes you paranoid as hell. Unlike puberty, I don’t remember my tummy expanding to the size of a small house and while yes, my boobs grew, I never secreted from them and it didn’t turn me into a waddling, blubbering wreck. Here I was, a fully grown 34 year old woman, and just as insecure as I was at fourteen.
Strangely though, whether it’s age, learned wisdom or by miracle, I’ve responded differently to my pregnancy and post pregnant body. I was the size of a house but felt like the most gloriously curvaceous whale you’ve ever seen! I’d gone up dress sizes and felt womanly. My tenancy expired tummy now soft, squidgy and stretched is proof I nurtured and held my baby so close, with tiger stripes like a badge well earned.
Pregnancy changes you and I know my body’s different. I know I’m flawed and I know getting myself back to a decent level of health, even with my pre-existing health conditions, will help me embrace what I lost. But no amount of cardio or toning up can change what you ultimately feel about yourself and I’m no fool to think a firmer tummy will give me super confidence. I’m content to admit my imperfections are what make me real – I LOVE my new body! – and being truly proud of becoming a mum is the energy behind my new found body confidence.
Curvy Kate is running the body confidence campaign #MyBodyMyBFF – an inspirational body positive movement encouraging and inspiring us women to love our bodies and treat them like we would a friend.
AdrianJune 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm
Follow on from Becky’s wise words, I’d implore ladies not to be excessively self-critical, because from my (male) perspective, there’s a very special beauty associated with the female form during and after pregnancy, and this is far too profound to be diminished by any stretch marks or sagging! As Becky says, such consequences should be seen as a badge (or why not make it a medal!) that the human body has achieved something truly miraculous. There’s no great virtue in going to extremes to try and eradicate such changes at the earliest possible opportunity; most ladies will have far more important things to do!