The title of this post is something I never thought I’d say. It actually makes me feel a bit uncomfortable to say or write…as though I’m boasting but I promise you being happy with my body has nothing to do with it looking particularly good! I definitely have not been on any diets or exercise regimes.
I have a long history of worrying about how I look and what size I am. A history peppered with cabbage soup diets, lots of running and keeping obsessive food diaries. There was a point where I was skinny and had visible abs but I actually felt horrible in a bikini and was miserable.
When I had my daughter my whole attitude towards my body changed. Somehow, for the first time I was proud of my body and what it looked like didn’t seem to be so important.
My body carried and sustained her. I still cannot quite get my head around that fact. I love her more than I ever could have imagined so cannot help but love my body for bringing her into existence.
For the first time in my life I am very rarely bothered by my weight and body shape. I honestly have no idea how much I weigh, our scales are in the loft and I haven’t weighed myself since I got pregnant. Yes, I have the occasional day where I put something on and it doesn’t feel good or I compare myself to another mum who seems to have lost amazing amounts of weight but on the whole I’m happy with my body.
My daughter motivates me to love my body. I don’t want her to see me as someone who is hung up on how I look. I don’t want her to hear words like fat and ugly from me. I want her to see me as someone that embraces imperfections and feels confident in their own skin so that she may learn from that and become confident in her own skin as she grows up. I hope she will remember me playing on the beach with her not worrying about being in a bikini, getting dressed up and feeling good about myself and enjoying food.
I’m definitely not getting this right all the time and I know I still make more subtle comments about my appearance. Maybe it’s a little comment about hating my eyebrows or needing to put some make up on. Sometimes it’s spending a little too long looking in the mirror and changing my outfit several times until I feel happy. I’m trying hard to make changes.
I want my daughter to grow up with her self esteem not coming from how she looks but I know we live in a world where there is so much attention focused on appearance and I know she will feel that pressure as she grows up. I hope that she will be filled with compliments that aren’t about her appearance. Above all, I want her to strive to be confident, brave and kind, not thin and pretty.
Of course, it’s ok to want to look nice and to care about your appearance. I love clothes and make up. I really enjoy getting dressed up and I do enjoy exercising. My daughter already loves accessories. She loves to put on a hat and some beads and will go and kiss herself in the mirror. She has so much fun doing that and will laugh hysterically and run to find another mirror. In fact, she loves dressing up so much that I’ve started making ‘what is Zara wearing in the car’ Instagram story videos because she frequently has put on a hilarious combination of clothes e.g. wellies and a sun hat, oversized sunglasses or a backwards baseball cap. I guess that’s the point. It should be fun, not something you feel you have to do to feel worth and value.
We are off on holiday at the end of the month and I have bought a new bikini. (Although as I write this it has just occurred to me that bikinis are much easier for toddlers to pull off than swimming costumes…let’s hope she doesn’t expose me to the French holidaymakers). Motherhood has given me a strange gift. In wanting to ensure that my daughter doesn’t become hung up on her body I’ve found I’m not so hung up on mine.