Georgie lay down beside me and rubbed my belly. My mummy tummy. That flabby bit of fat I hate with all my might. The one that prevents me from wearing tight tops and the one I look at every night and sigh. Then he said: I love you mummy. And your belly.
I put on 28 kilos during my pregnancy with Georgie. Then five years later I put on 20 kilos when I was pregnant with James. In between I had lost all but eight kilos. Eight stubborn kilos that prevented me from having the tight and toned body I once had.
Since I became a mother, my boobs too have undergone some major changes of their own. They now resemble two sandbags. And probably weigh as much too. I still haven’t found a bra that fits perfectly AND one that I actually like. And I absolutely loathe the idea of wearing a bathing suit let alone THINKING about a bikini. I lie down on my back and they just fall. Makes it easier to breastfeed James, mind you.
And my thighs. Oh man. Somehow they too have gained a funny new feature. Dimples dimples everywhere and not a smile to be seen. And how about how they look when I sit down in a pair of shorts? Those flabby parts that expand the moment your bum hits a chair? I ran the other day for one minute, in a hurry to pick up Georgie, and I could feel those parts jogging along with me. Actually I could feel every roll and inch of fat running along with me.
It’s crazy how much some women’s bodies change after having a baby. But you know what’s even more crazy? How much energy we waste on worrying about our body and all the changes, what is was and will never be again.
We are being fed so much ‘helpful’ information on how we could have better bodies that we have stopped considering it normal to have cellulite and rolls of fat. I was doing ab work and lunges while ‘playing’ with my kids in the living room today. As if that’s going to help me feel better about the blood-curling fear I face when I have to wear a swimsuit.
I’m trying hard to get over the fact that I am not 100% happy with my body. I have been taking baby steps accepting the changes even though there are times when I want to curl up in a corner and cry. But I am learning.
I, bravely my I add, showed every single bit of flabby flesh last summer, two months after having James. THAT was hard. I remember sitting in the changing room breastfeeding James looking at the swimsuits the sales lady kept bringing in, sweat pouring off me, hot tears wanting to burst out of my eyes.
Because we had booked a five-day holiday at a hotel on the beach I HAD TO buy something. I ended up with a black swimsuit,also suitable for breastfeeding and also miles away from the fancy, colourful bikinis I once wore. Actually miles away from anything swim-related I have ever worn.
And so I wore it. And I walked out onto the beach and nothing bad happened. Apart from the completely paranoid thoughts I kept getting about how my bum looked and adjusting the bloody thing every ten minutes, I survived it. But perhaps more importantly was papa’s reaction when he saw me. God, I love that guy!
I began learning how to love my body last summer and all the changes I had been refusing to accept. For five days I had an amazing time with my family, I built sandcastles with my boy and nursed my baby under the shade of the palm trees. Bliss!
This summer I’ll be sticking with that black swimsuit. Mainly because I am still breastfeeding and also because it cost a bomb and I want to get some use out of it before moving on to something else.
But I will absolutely be rocking that one-piece, make no mistake! Rolls and cellulite will be on full display because, simply put, I just don’t want to waste anymore time and energy worrying about all the exercises I should be doing to gain a completely unrealistic body. Or how well my body will stack up to another’s. Or if someone will think I’m fat and unfit to wear a bathing suit.
We need to normalise our bodies, ladies. Not just for our sake but for the sake of our children. I want my boys to know that a woman’s body comes in many different shapes and sizes. I want them to see me embracing my body with all its flaws and loving it. So let’s all start loving our mummy tummies and sticking our middle finger up and out to everyone who thinks they know what a ‘normal’ body looks like.