Since having the children and particularly since gaining weight whilst I’ve been ill, I have been really uncomfortable in my own skin. As a teenager and throughout my twenties I never had to worry about my figure and I was so lucky to be able to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted without a second thought. I never understood those who dieted and always felt that whatever my body type I would accept it and love it. That was then.
Cut to several years later and I realise now that those thoughts were all well and good, but I really didn’t know what it was to be unhappy with your body. I now have permanent scars and stretch marks, which whilst they symbolise my journey as a mother, they are unsightly. I think the hardest thing for me though is going from a size six to a size ten in very few years. Clothes shopping is definitely not what it was and it probably why I much prefer to buy for my children than I do for myself now.
This lack of confidence is most prominent whilst on holiday. As a young adult I was always a bikini girl and was proud to show my figure off. Now it is a very different story and for the last few years I have firmly invested in swimming costumes and tankinis. And I hate them. I hate feeling I’ve got to hide myself away and I hate that my tummy doesn’t get any sun!
However this year whilst I was on holiday I felt different. I wouldn’t say there’s been a switch, I’m certainly still body conscious, but I didn’t wear a costume once and often found myself pulling up my tankini thinking it ‘sod it’. I saw women of so many shapes and sizes who put themselves out there and figured why couldn’t I do the same. Of course I don’t know what is going on in other people’s minds and we all have our insecurities, but at the end of the day is anyone going to think back to me flashing my stomach and be bothered by it?
So, like some other areas of my life, I’m now endeavouring to stop comparing myself to others and just do for me. I’m sure it will take practice and insecurities certainly don’t go away over night, and it won’t stop me wanting to return to my healthier shape once I’m better, but for the immediate future I want to feel happier and more comfortable as myself. Having children also makes me more determine to reflect a positive self image to them and not stand in front of the mirror pointing out all my flaws, as I would be mortified to see either of the children doing the same. In their eyes I am perfect and I am resolved to try and see myself more this way too.