I rushed down the stairs to answer the door, greasy hair pulled back into my usual mum-bun look. I eagerly signed my for my parcel and raced with it upstairs into my dark bedroom. The whole thing felt a little like a dodgy drug deal. I tore it open, squeezed my body into the luminescent blue fabric and stood in front of the mirror to view myself.
There I stood, in my first bikini post-children. The day before I had had all kinds of hopes and dreams about my almost supermodel physique that the “tummy control” and “bust enhancing” features would certainly give me. Instead staring back at me all I saw was back fat, stretch marks, untamed pubes and pasty white skin that has yet to see the sunlight this year (or the last four if we are being honest). I hastily removed it and shoved it into the back of my draw for the ever elusive “one day in the future when I’ve lost weight”, but not before I had taken a picture to send to my best gal pal with a message along the lines of “FML *vomit faced emoji*”
I proceeded to start my summer dieting forthwith and managed to avoid chocolate or vino for precisely 2.5 days. Herein lies the problem – I like them. In fact I love them. And they make me happy. I started to feel dissatisfied with my plan and I could sense my resolve wavering.
A few days later during one of my many Instagram sessions of the day I was scrolling through my feed and noticed a vision of pure sex appeal in a leaf print bikini. Clemmie Hooper (@mother_of_daughters) was penning my exact thoughts about her self. Yet when I saw her I thought how INCREDIBLE she looked. Over the next few days Clemmie Telford, Style Me Sunday, and many other fabulous women were appearing on my timeline and looking absolutely stunning. Their confidence overwhelming and their messages honest, brave and inspiring. I felt a little tingle at the hype of the movement within the community. It is catching, confidence that is.
On The Motherload® Facebook community we are used to picking each other up in a way I wish the rest of the world did all the time. Suddenly it hit me like a freight train. The realisation that when I see these women and their amazing bodies I do not look for their stretch marks hidden under a filter, or the odd stray pube. Because I am looking at their amazing racks, stylish wardrobe and amazing smiles. Why can I see this in them and not in myself?
All this got me thinking. I have many a time proclaimed in both inner monologue fashion and out loud “I would give ANYTHING to not have this body”. But would I? I wouldn’t give up my date night Camembert. I wouldn’t give up my glass (bottle) of wine on a Saturday (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, maybe once or twice in the week) night. I wouldn’t give up a cheeky Nando’s or Dominos pizza when I just cannot be arsed to cook. Most importantly I wouldn’t give up the amazing babies that it created, grew and carried for 9 whole months TWICE – or the process of making them *wink wink nudge nudge*.
The idea that one day, these amazing babies that I made, my beautiful daughters, will stand in front of a mirror picking themselves apart honestly breaks my heart. I will feel no greater shame in the whole of my existence if I fail them and make them feel anything less than the perfect version of themselves.
So I am trying something new. I love my babies, so I should love my body, shouldn’t I? Instead of judging myself so critically I shall judge it in the way I think of others. And I know I wont succeed every day. And will almost definitely still have the dreaded menstrual bloating which makes us all gain 20 stone, eat like a pig and feel repulsive. But I will get over these things, there will be new days and new feelings and it all starts with sharing a little positivity.
So for other women, for ourselves and for our daughters let’s get rid of this body shaming nonsense and start spreading the love. Warts, stretch marks, leaky tits and all.
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A normal mum living a chaotic, gin infused life with my two daughters, lovely Fiancé and our two sausages. Spending my life standing on My Little Ponies and Shopkins. Instagram and scented candle-obsessed. Occasional hippy and serious shopaholic. Passionate about politics and lipstick.
Image credit: Rowan Lawfull/The Motherload®