Let’s talk about sex (baby) and body confidence.
To fill you in briefly in case you haven’t seen it, I’ve gained rather a lot of weight in the last 2 years. I lost almost all of my baby weight after I had Edith and I worked really hard to get myself to a position where I felt my “best body” and I was the weight and body size that I wanted to be for a friend’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid and I didn’t want to be uncomfortable on the day. 6 months it took to get “back into shape” although to be fair I think I had started to lose touch with the “shape” I wanted long before I was pregnant with Edith. I now stand at a heavier weight and larger size than I was when I was full term with Toby. Yes, full time. I can’t seem to get back into the habit of cleaner eating and whilst I often think I feel physically worse for eating all the chocolates and the sugary things, instead of the veggies I used to snack on, I’m happier within me than I ever have been really. What I will note is that I feel sluggish every afternoon and I can hardly function properly between the hours of 2 and 5, then I’m wide awake. I think a lot of these struggles come less from the weight gain (which has plateaued completely) and more from the lack of movement. Yet still, despite knowing that I’m mentally much happier than I have been when I was crash dieting and I was obsessed with my weight and body shape, I find body confidence to come in fits and starts, and elusive little bugger at times. Times when I REALLY want mu cup to over flow with confidence.
When I was clean eating and I was in a job where sitting down wasn’t an option I felt AMAZING. I felt vibrant and healthy, I had glowing skin, I had lovely hair… I just felt the best me that I could feel like… on the outside and from a physical perspective. Emotionally I was still incredibly insecure and I would frequently remark that I didn’t feel happy – though I felt sexier. Then slowly I started snacking again, I started gaining weight and not really being that bothered. I was still sort of fitting in my jeans, then not in those ones but the ever-so-affectionately termed “fat jeans” for the bloat days. Those became my constant wear and now? Yeah, now they don’t do up and I am back in clothes that I made myself promise I would never wear again. Most days, I don’t mind. I am worth more than my body.
It is something that I really feel so conflicted about. I’m not interested in dieting and I refuse to go back to the mentality I had before – Monday I would start a healthy eating routine (read: obsessive diet that often meant one small portion of veggies in the evening and nothing else), Wednesday I would give it up because I was so hungry. By Saturday its take out and chocolate cakes. Sunday you may as well present me with a trough because I’m going to cram as much food as I can because the ever popular tomorrow I’m going to make a difference and break the cycle. The shame and the diet culture didn’t help – I can guarantee that I spent years being the woman searching on Pinterest for a crash diet that promises a huge loss in 7 days. Then the rebound happened and I was back where I started. It’s a horrible cycle and one I have no interest in ruining my mental health to own the body I once thought made me a better me.
What I have noticed the most in this ridonkulous weight gain, weight loss cycle that I have steadily allowed to consume me, is that I am no longer as confident with my husband or my body in any way. I often don’t feel sexy at all, to be told I am instantly makes me want to holler “Who the devil are you looking at buddy, because it sure as shit ain’t me!” I don’t feel the same sex drive, there is always that blocker there reminding me that I should probably turn the lights out for this one because no one wants to see marshmallow man getting a good seeing to. I confided in a few girlfriends that this is how I feel about myself at times, and they instantly said that they felt the same, especially post children. A quickie is fine but if they want to get that extra some-some then the self doubt creeps in like a ninja with a big placard that screams “You’re gross, no one is going to enjoy this, least of all you!” It’s SO unhealthy, and yet I can’t seem to break away from it in a relentless cycle of being body confident and being down on myself. Society has raised me to be a product of diet culture and frequently, especially when you discuss body positivity online, you aren’t allow to have a backslide.
When it does come to the deed, I frequently can’t seem to focus on the act at hand rather than worrying about my thighs making seismic ripples and my tits flopping to the side like dachshunds ears. Adam has reminded me I’m beautiful to him relentlessly since the day we met – not a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me this – when I was a size 20 to a size 10 and even when I was pregnant and post splash-down. All this time I’ve had this wonderful support but I swear to you it doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t able to love yourself and see yourself. From masturbation to sex to trying on new clothes to sitting and eating a meal, none of these perfectly normal things will feel right when you are so low on yourself.
This post isn’t going to culminate in a revelation – I don’t have one. Some days I am body ambivalent, even confident, and I feel that my size is a small, unimportant and frankly boring part of who I am – my brain and my kindness is sexy, and then other days I wonder how on earth I could see myself as anything but a lump.