As ladies we're meant to love shopping right? But not every woman finds it as exhilarating as the stereotype would make out. Especially those of us who've had children.
After my first child I pretty much went straight back to how I was before (don't hate me!) My second child, however, was bigger and stretched my tum to capacity. He left me with a wrinkly, stretch-marked midriff that is taking much longer to reduce in size and I fear has changed my shopping experience forever.
I made the ever-so-slightly stupid decision to go clothes shopping two weeks post-birth and funnily enough did not enjoy the process. Depressingly I had to buy two sizes bigger than before. I immediately invested in some tummy control pants which have since made the experience more enjoyable!
5 months later we went on holiday and a day before we left I decided that maybe I would brave a bikini after all (mainly due to my husband's remark, 'surely you are not just taking that frumpy all-in-one'). So I had to face shopping again - this time with no tummy control pants in tow. I had a two hours with two kids to find one. Brilliant. I set myself up for failure, picking skimpy bikinis with no support, eyeing up what the younger, pre-baby versions of myself were choosing.
As time went on with no success I felt more and more depressed that no matter which bikini it was, I could not hide my newly acquired mum tum. In the end I chose one with a specific bra size and separate size bottoms which you can only find in a store that those pre-baby ladies are certainly not shopping in.
On holiday no-one seemed to care what I looked like anyway. There were other mums with stretch marks and loose skin and I realised that I'm not alone. And I guess it tells a story.
So the reality is that shopping looks different now. Pre-babies it consisted of; do I like it and can I afford it? Now not only am I lugging around a small child, and more to the point a huge buggy with me, I can't just pick whatever looks good on a hanger and expect it to look good on me.
I also have to ask; does it cling to my tummy, is it breastfeeding friendly, will it be easy to get baby sick/purée/snot stains out of? It's knowing and being ok with this reality that makes shopping easier. For example, I now look out for floaty tops and high waisted trousers which are always a winner.
One of the most attractive things about a woman is body confidence. So I'm going to work on finding clothes that I think - hey, me and my mum tum look good in that!
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