Oh how I looked back at my 19-year-old body in photos with great gnawing envy only a few years ago. I looked great. But how did I feel about my figure at the time? Oh I hated it! Like most, (all?!), girls, I had such a hate hate relationship with my body. I hated my boobs, all my (imaginary) fat, my giant feet, my big lips, (who knew people would actually pay to be injected in the mouth for bigger lips one day!),
The list of things I would bemoan about myself was endless and makes me feel sad to think back on it. Pages pulled from magazines to adorn my bedroom walls to torture myself with, lying on my bed looking at the toned stomachs and miserably poking my ‘fat bits’, the pre-internet ‘thinspiration’. (Don’t get me started on how much I hate that word and all it represents!)
I entered my 30s as a Mum of two small children, everything had changed and now a few years on, I’m reflecting on how I feel about myself, mostly because at that tender age on 19, I firmly believed anyone over 29 was positively written off and I feel better and more comfortable in my skin than ever. Most relevantly to this post, I’m thinking about how I look. I am under no illusions that my body is perfect now, there are stretch marks, and wobbly bits, new wrinkles seemingly daily and saggy bits that I’m not sure any amount of squats can fix too, but I don’t hate it anymore. In fact, I love it!
What’s changed I wonder? I think it’s probably having my babies. It’s hard to feel hateful towards a body that not only grew, (I will never not be mind blown about how that happens!), but then subsequently fed, rocked, held and cuddled for years keeping two human beings alive, that’s miraculous!
My boobs created food, it’s hard to knock them after that, and my belly housed two beings, and grew to proportions that I cannot even believe myself without seeing the photographic evidence with my own eyes. My body survived two labours. Yes I say survived and I’m absolutely not being melodramatic, they were horrendous.
Both took a massive toll and yet it still kept going, kept carrying me from my bed to the kettle for top up teas and back, then it survived hours of sleepless nights feeding babies, being bent over pushing prams, arms straining under the ridiculous weight of car seats and so much more.
This body has seen me through so much, I’ve abused it, eaten way too much bad food, drank too much alcohol, not given it enough sleep, not had enough iron and I still eat too much cake! But I have started trying to look after it a little more too. I try and make health(ier!) food choices, I go to the gym, I try, (being the operative word!), to get enough sleep.
I know how blessed I am to have a body that works mostly as it should, which allows me to live my life as I want to. No it will never be the same as it was when I was 19 but also, when I was 19 I didn’t have two children who don’t care that I’m a bit squidgey round the middle, they just love my cuddles.
Ok so there are bits I’d change if there was a magic fairy kicking about doling out wishes, bits I’d tighten, erase, firm up, and this list seems to get a little longer each year as I spot new wrinkles, new saggy bits, but I no longer hate it. I no longer run myself down constantly in my head and my motivation to improve my lifestyle doesn’t come from the desire to have pert boobs or a flat stomach anymore, but from the real wish to look after it, to treat it well so it keeps on carrying me about, to be kind to it to say thank you for all that it’s done for me.
But obviously if that fairy did have a set of pert boobs and a flat stomach to give away, I wouldn’t say no!
About The Author: Louise is Mum to 2 children and based in Gloucestershire. On her blog Pink Pear Bear she shares her thoughts with reviews, health, running, crafting and family life.
Louise loves being outdoors, camping, travelling, reading, crochet, drawing and tattoos.