This probably isn’t the kind of post you would expect from me – or maybe it is, I’m not sure – but I really had to think long and hard about writing it. I have written before about not being confident in my own body, I’ve written about struggling to diet in motherhood, but I’ve never really promoted weight loss (or gain) because I think we’re all very different and should be allowed to choose whether we want to lose, gain or change our bodies.
Lately, I’ve been getting more and more despondent with my figure, I used to be a lot larger than I am now and when it reached the point where I was really unhappy, I started to lose weight – I felt like a goddess when I managed to get down to my “ideal weight” and I then went on to have Toby and keep the weight off. I lost a tonne of weight after Edith’s pregnancy to look good (my idea of good anyway) for my friend’s wedding where I was a bridesmaid and then again so I would be able to look back on pictures of me in Disneyworld and feel good about myself… unlike the pictures of my wedding which I can’t even bring myself to glance at.
Since September, work has really picked up – in fact, that’s an understatement and I am REALLY busy, which is amazing and stressful as I am constantly fretting that I won’t maintain this level of work and be able to give my family what they have become accustomed to. I’ve been so busy that nit picking, eating a pack of jaffa cakes and then stress eating have just become my norm… It means that I have gained around 2 stone and I am back feeling desperately uncomfortable with only a select few clothes that fit me. None of them really suited to a body shape like mine, post kids. It’s left me in a rut to be fair. I read a post on my friend Kerry’s blog All About a Mini Norris, about not being able to accept the post baby body and it really resonated with me. I can’t accept it. I look at pictures of myself pre-Edith and I felt SO much more confident, healthy and vibrant. Yet I can’t seem to kick my bum into gear and let go of the vicious cycle.
I don’t really talk about weight loss too much for fear of being accused of not celebrating my post baby body, which seems to be the current trend doesn’t it? If you’re trying to change your post baby body, you aren’t accepting yourself as a mother or you’re shaming other mothers and promoting a poor body image. I hate the way that the media portray women as pieces of meat and that they should have a singular image – flat, smooth tummy, perky tits, bubble bum, long legs and the traditional hourglass… yet I WANT to subscribe to that image, be it for pre-conditioning reasons or just because I remember that I once worked so hard to get to that figure and then seem to have let it all go again. I follow Constance Hall religiously on facebook because I think she has an amazing tone of voice and she inspires me to feel better about myself as a woman and a mother, but I often feel frustrated that I DON’T want to celebrate my “queen” body – I hate it. I hate the extra flab, the saggy boobs (pretty much like dachshund’s ears at this point), the stretch marks (side note: to me, these are not tiger stripes because I’m fierce, they are hideous scars on my body. I really don’t think of them as anything different because someone decided to say they were something I should be proud of), the fact that my clothes aren’t fitting and the fact that my chub rub has now reached such an epic level I feel like I could start a fire running up the stairs. On the flip side is the “what’s your excuse?” crew who are in the gym 24/7, pumped up and asking other mothers why they feel they can’t lose weight when they did it. Like Kerry said, I don’t fit into either category, I am sat in the middle, wishing I was on or the other and seemingly floundering at being comfortable or doing something about it.
A follower on Instagram reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked me if I would be brave enough to talk about my feelings after I briefly mention on IG stories how I was feeling, but I haven’t really been able to articulate them properly. Can I say it’s ok to NOT be proud of your post baby body? To resent the tiger marks, the extra roles, the fact that your clothes don’t fit, that you can’t seem to find the energy or enthusiasm to do anything about it all? I think I can.
I’ve re-started my couch to 5k this week, lots of followers recommended it to me and I just laughed, but I really want to prove to myself that I can do this to be a healthier me AND to reclaim that body that was mine before the kids arrived. I want to lose weight, and in no way will that make me less proud of what my body has given me in the 5 pregnancies it has been through, but it will make me feel happier in myself. I won’t be giving in to that desire to be the yoga queen on Instagram, because that isn’t me either, but I do feel like this middle ground, tainted by all the expectations, isn’t working out for me either.
Perhaps then I will be happier with my post baby body.