Maybe I’m having just one of those days but earlier I stumbled upon an aggravating article on the Daily Mail showing Abbey Clancy in an ad campaign that was launched recently just weeks after she had her second baby.. I’ve scrambled together some of my thoughts on the difficulty of accepting your body after having a baby – it brings about changes that you can and can’t control, changes that you can and sometimes can’t accept.
I was sitting on the train with a rare couple of hours to myself during which I had both the time and attention to actually read the articles in the latest issue of Elle magazine. Interestingly the issue is called The Body Issue and is focused on embracing our different shapes and on being healthy. The magazine, unlike the stupid Daily Mail, is filled with so much positivity when it comes to body image it makes me slightly embarrassed I’m so constantly critical of my own. Over the past three years I’ve had two big babies (both over 10lbs) and both via c section so my body has taken a bit of a hammering. My weight has fluctuated by a matter of stone and while I’m currently lighter than I’ve been in years my body is so drastically different I’ve really struggled to accept the changes. Yes I can look at my two ladies and be proud of what my body and achieved but I’m still human and the scars, the stretchmarks and the portions of skin in places they shouldn’t be are a constant source of frustration. Over time, and with two babies and less time to give these thoughts a place in my mind, it bothers me less. I’ve picked up lots of tips to hide and conceal the parts I don’t like and highlight the parts I, sort of, do like. High waisted skinny jeans, a large instead of a medium top, A-line skirts and peplum, all form the base of of a wardrobe I’m learning to embrace.
There is is a seismic shift happening within the media and the fashion industry that is banning models with dangerously low BMI’s and is putting plus sized models on the cover of Vogue. And whilst this is a powerful and positive movement the real acceptance has to come from within. I don’t have the answers as to how one can achieve that acceptance as I’m still on the road to it myself. But maybe we as women and mothers need to believe it when our husbands, partners, friends and daughters tell us we look nice. It’s inherintly Irish to disregard or brush off praise and complements, to run down an outfit with the wave of a hand and a mumbling of Penny’s
And while I’m not at the stage of bravely baring it all I can start with being a little but more positive about my sorry looking midriff and maybe eventually I’ll get there (after the tummy tuck of course, joke joke….). We are constantly bombarded in the (shitty!) media with pictures of celebrities who look incredible mere moments after having babies. Maybe I’m cynical or wishful but the campaign I referred to earlier featuring Abbey Clancy was probably shot long before she was even pregnant or else it’s photoshoped, something that us mere mortals don’t have access to but which puts incredible and unrealistic pressure on the average woman during a time when she is fighting to accept the huge changes that life with a baby brings about. But more power to those in the public eye, (and the surgeons, trainers, nutritionists etc they pay!) they face pressure too, just a different kind.
I won’t speak on behalf of the other mothers and women out there but maybe my struggle is not such an isolated one and there is comfort in the collective I know that for sure.
The last image is courtesy of the Daily Mail, despite my giving out about them!