Welcome to my new guest post series ‘My body is beautiful because…’
I originally set up Muffin top mummy 3 months after having my first baby as a way to track and motivate weight loss.
I wasn’t happy at all with how I looked.
I’d consumed rather a lot during my pregnancy (like most of us probably do) and was irrationally shocked that it didn’t all drop off again by 6 weeks postpartum. After all, aren’t we bombarded with images of celebrities and Instagram stars ‘bouncing back‘ (as they say in the media – not entirely sure anyone gets to go ‘back’) just minutes after producing a human?
As it turns out, it’s not always as easy as they make it look. In fact, their methods are probably not safe for the average new mother either. Give me a personal chef, trainer and full-time nanny and perhaps we’d be in business. Otherwise, it’s often a bit more of a mission to get back into shape.
My body is beautiful – my story
I’m now heading towards the magical mark of 9 months postpartum and two major things have changed:
1) I’ve eaten well and exercised regularly, taking me to nearly a 2 stone weight loss
2) I’ve realised that my ultimate goal is not to change my body, but to fall back in love with it
Now, these two points may appear to contradict one another, but let me explain.
I’ve been working towards losing weight in a healthy, safe way not simply because I want to be ‘thin’, but because once the baby was out, I was overweight. My BMI was not ideal, and so regardless of how I looked, I wanted to change that and become healthy again. I’ve also always been somewhat fit and active, so returning to exercise was non-negotiable.
But I still don’t look like I used to. I’m still around a stone heavier than I was before I had my beautiful daughter. I still don’t fit into my pre-pregnancy wardrobe.
And do you know what?
I know now that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Maybe I’ll get there one day. Perhaps I won’t and I’ll settle somewhere in-between. I’m fine with either scenario. I still think my body is beautiful.
Because I’m fed up of being told I should be worried about it. I lived and breathed the idea that I should be a certain size or look a certain way until I realised that it wasn’t going to change the way I feel.
In fact, when I look back now on pictures I took of my slimmer self, I find the whole situation ridiculous. At the fittest I’ve ever been, instead of strutting about and owning my bad-ass self, I was looking at a picture and thinking I needed to lose ‘a bit more’. I did not. I looked pretty damn good (if I do say so myself).
When I stopped obsessing
In reality, I’ll never be happy with myself until I just let go and allow myself to be happy.
Once I’d stopped obsessing about ‘getting my body back’, I was free to focus on all of the things that were far more important to me than whether my hips were too wide to wear a skirt. I’ve pursued my dream of kick-starting a writing career. I have built up my training to comfortably run 5k again. And I’ve fallen deeply in love with a little girl who is my absolute best friend.
If I do not fit your definition of ‘beauty’ – I don’t care. If you look at me and pass judgement – great, judge away. The only opinions that matter to me now are my own and my daughter’s. And even more importantly, the only thing my little girl will ever hear is how happy I am with myself.
Even if I cave. Even if I have a day where I have a wobble and forget everything I’ve just said. Or if I start to resent my lumps of bone and skin (because that’s all they are at the end of the day – seems a bit silly to get worked up about it really). Whatever I feel about myself, my daughter will only ever know that I am happy and confident. I’ve spent way too long on the other side of that relationship to know exactly where she’d end up otherwise.
All bodies are beautiful
On the flip side to my own body confidence revelation, I appreciate that not everyone feels the same. It’s incredibly hard to let go, especially when insecurity is all you’ve ever known.
I want to tell you that no matter what you think, you are beautiful. But some random woman on the other end of a keyboard is not likely to convince you of this fact.
All I ask is that you try. A body is a body at the end of the day – there is so much more to life than worrying about what anyone else thinks of it.
And guess what….?
My body is beautiful because I say it is.
I’ve got some wonderful posts lined up in this series – the first of which will be featuring on the blog next week.
I’m so excited to host a variety of bloggers and brave souls sharing their own personal take on the phrase ‘My body is beautiful because’, so please allow them the space to open up and offer only kind words of comfort, compassion and solidarity. Our bodies are beautiful and it’s time we acknowledged it!
If you’ve got a “My body is beautiful because” story to share and would love to be featured, then I’d love to have you. Get in touch and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for some more information and join us as we celebrate and commiserate together!