Having a baby is an amazing process for a body to go through. We spend months and years anticipating the swell of our bellies and the arrival of our bouncing babies but if you’re anything like me you didn’t give much consideration to how your body would be in the months following. It took me a long time to accept my weight and body shape through my teens and early twenties, but it was good preparation for the mindset I needed to be able to fully embrace and love my post baby lumps and bumps.
Prior to conception of Cheeky Monkey I had spent many years working at losing weight and subsequently regaining. The yoyo-ing of my weight has done little for the elasticity of my skin, or the creep of lightning bolt stretch marks across most of my body. Add to that a 20kg gain through pregnancy and the general picture is barely that of a covergirl
My belly is criss-crossed with now faded tiger stripes, and it just kind of *hangs* there. My always deep belly button is now a bottomless cavern which oddly slopes with the gradient of my tummy. I was comparing post breastfeeding boob shape with a friend last week: she happily identifies hers as ‘tacos’ and I’m rapidly approaching tennis balls in socks. Yet I don’t think I have ever felt so comfortable within my own skin as I do now.
There is so much media conversation surrounding body image and the impact on our mental health, but I feel like just discussing amongst ourselves can go a long way to acceptance. Do people really expect to avoid stretch marks and sagginess after pregnancy? I went into it fully expecting much worse than I walked away with. Maybe that expectation (or lack of) is why I’m perfectly ok with my super squishy mum-bod.
I figure I’d much rather spend my time each day trying to enjoy being with the pure ball of energy which is my Cheeky Monkey. I don’t want to be worrying about how many calories I’ve eaten, how long I need to spend at the gym, or why I gained this week instead of losing. Perhaps my nursing has given me perspective too on what’s important- when my elderly patients discuss their life achievements and greatest loves, they unfailingly put time spent with loved ones at the top of the list. Invariably, at some point over time your boobs will naturally take a downward journey, your skin will wrinkle and sag. What’s to worry about?
Perhaps we start viewing our bodies as a reminder of what our lives have given us instead of what we’re told they should look like. My legs are strong, and have supported me through every step of my life’s journey, my belly sags because it grew an entire human, my boobs point down instead of up because they fed the human I grew exclusively for six months and continue to provide valuable nutrition and immunity, I carry extra padding because I enjoy the yummy recipes my grandmother gave me, my stretch marks are testament to the growth I experienced as a woman and every freckle is reminder of sunny summer days. I’m quite content to wear those memories each day, and look forward to what else my body will say of my life’s path
I’d love to hear what your body says about your journey so far.
Mrs Toby xx