I wrote this over ten months ago but it’s something I still feel is worth sharing. Because before having Pip I would never have posted this photo but here I am, three months postpartum, with a squishy and pillowy tummy and bigger hips. But I am holding my little sunshine and really feeling rather happy with myself. Not all day every day but in general I’m content with my changes body and I’m proud over what it has achieved, both before and after Pip’s birth.
I had very bad anorexia in my teens and despite being well and truly recovered I didn’t know if a pregnancy would bring back the body anxiety I’ve worked hard to leave behind.
To go from someone afraid to eat a spoonful of rice I am now someone who’s loves my healthy food as much as I love stuffing my face full of chocolate but I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the twenty plus kg that I put on during pregnancy (thank you bread and butter with hot chocolate, I thoroughly enjoyed you!). Would I feel like I had let myself go completely? I was so scared of the anxiety I know can come crushing down when you look in the mirror and don’t really recognise yourself. But it was all fine, and not once did negative thoughts about my body bring me back to a place where they became all consuming.
I loved my growing body, even when I thought nothing fitted and I looked like a beached whale. It didn’t send me back into disordered thoughts of restricting or going on a diet and I didn’t stop enjoying that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, not even after getting a shock in the midwifes office when I saw a number on the scale that previously would have sent me into absolute panic mode. I still loved myself and I loved that my body, after five months of fertility treatment was carrying this little human that I couldn’t wait to meet.
I also knew that I didn’t want to let the “lose the baby weight” thoughts consume me post the birth of our darling girl. I quite enjoyed my pregnancy just because my body wasn’t just my own, it was creating this new life and I clearly needed the extra portion of pasta or mashed potato and extra serve of ice cream after dinner to do so, even though the books say you only need so and so amounts of calories extra a day per trimester.
Because as much as I want to wear those jeans now after Pip is popped out I still want to eat until I am full (quite often a bit over full too!), because I am breastfeeding and I’m hungry and because I think food is fun. I also want to eat all the cake, not because I need it but because a LIKE it and it makes this sleep deprived milk cow.. I mean mum.. happy. I want to fuel my body with good things and I do want to fit into my pants again, but not if it means that’s all I can think about.
Because most of all want to be a good role model for my daughter, I don’t want her to grow up thinking she needs to look a certain way to be happy with herself. She can be happy regardless of being a size 2 or 12, I know I wasn’t happier weighing as much as a paper weight. It made me miserable and it didn’t matter how much people commented on my skinny legs and arms by the size of a toothpick, I still thought I was fat.
It takes a lot of effort to be happy with ourselves the way we are but it’s worth it. It’s a continuous journey for me to be happy with the way I look but I hope I can install some kind of body positivity in my girl and that she can use her body as a tool to do things such as surfing, playing with her friends and go horseback riding in Sweden.
I hope that Pip won’t see her body as something she needs to manipulate to be “perfect”. I want her to be able to enjoy cake because it’s bloody tasty and vegetables because they are both yummy and good for her. I hope that she never has to feel anxious about eating a potato and that she will learn to love liquorice all sorts and buttery raisin toast just as much as her mum. And that she will be happy just being who she is, that’s the most important thing. Because, to quote the famous ad, she is worth it.