The most unexpected thing motherhood has taught me is that whilst my body isn’t perfect, it’s still pretty awesome. That’s not to say that I'm all: 'Ooh my, look at these lovely lady lumps, I'm smokin'. I would describe that changing room mirror moment as more: 'Wow, you made human beings, that's bloody amazing'.
OK, yes, I can see a saggy pair of large but deflated boobs (mildly drooping is an understatement, forget a pencil, I can hold a pencil case under mine). There’s also a tummy with gouged-out silvery lines running across it. It has a little pouch, sometimes cruelly called a 'gunt' (I’ll leave you to work that one out), which does need to be tucked in to my pants.
Overall, my reflection shows a bedraggled woman whose make-up is settling into the creases that somehow arrived when my back was turned; and does nothing to cover the bags underneath my eyes.
But as I look in that changing room reflection, I also see a threenager trying to open the curtain and a toddler grabbing my feet and demanding to be picked up (yes, I naively thought I could take my children clothes shopping if I was quick!) – its then I see past the self-delusion of my youth and know reality is very different.
When I look photos of myself ten years ago, I can see that I was slammin' then and I wonder why I didn't appreciate more what I had. But the irony is that in ten years’ time, I know I'll be thinking the same about this ‘Mum-bod’ I'm currently rocking. This body has achieved so much more than that 23-year-old body ever did.
I certainly wasn't expecting this new type of body confidence with the arrival of the aforementioned 'Mum-bod'. Don't get me wrong, I'd still love to be able to click my fingers and have a body like a Victoria's Secret Model. These days, though, there are more important things in life than being skinny.
Let’s face it, I wasn't skinny pre-babies: so with sleep deprivation, the lack of motivation to exercise and a habit of excessive-biscuit-dunking in cold cups of tea – what chance now?
I lose my confidence at times and feel deflated when the garment I'm trying on doesn't look as I'd imagined. Then I remember it’s not all about me anymore. This saggy body has grown and kept two tiny humans alive; so what are a few war wounds between pals?
These days I'm confident I work well with what I've got; and above all else, I want to instil a body confidence in my daughter that transcends what the media tells her is ‘beautiful’. What you look like is only a small part of the picture.
After all self-confidence is the most beautiful thing a woman can possess.
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