Whenever I leave the house, especially for a date or occasion, I stand in front of the mirror agonising over an outfit. This fact annoys me. 8 months post baby it could be easy to fall into the pitfalls of self loathing. A voice inside my head could easily take over but I monitor it closely so it doesn’t get too loud. Yet sometimes it lets slip whispers of hard words riddled with brutal judgement about the way I look. That’s the way this media obsessed society has built me.
I don’t have a body that “bounced back” post baby. Don’t get me wrong it’s not bad. Not too bad at all but it looks a bit more pudgy than it once did. By the scales I weigh 10 kg’s more than what I did 5 years ago. My skin is a bit softer and it curves more than it may have once. When I wear something fitted there are bulges which aren’t airbrushed images of beauty and I could no longer be called “Miss Perfect” as I once was in high school by the boys who thought I had THE BEST set. My breasts are a little more worn in and like anything that is used excessively, they’re a little stretched and dangle on the droopier side rather than that of their perky youth.
My stomach is no longer flat, this is why my toddler questions if there is another baby inside my tummy. It does some dangly apron like thing that I don’t particularly like and it wobbles in a fashion that a Victoria Secret model would find mortifying and which would ultimately end her career in a nanosecond. It also has grey marks across it that look like I have been scratched in a battle with a cat. These are my war wounds. This is my body.
I am not Miranda. I am not Gisele. I am not Kim.
I am a woman who has carried two healthy humans inside of me for nine months and my body thrived. I housed a human with a backpack strapped onto my back whilst I climbed Scottish mountains and my body didn’t question it. I have laboured two babies naturally and my body didn’t resist. My body healed second degree vaginal tears post birth without complication. My breasts have never failed me with an endless supply of enriching breast milk for two hungry boys nor has it given up within these constant, testing years of sleep deprivation. 10 months post partum I ran a 10km fun run in a personal best time (56 minutes) at 7am after waking 3 times to a teething baby. It has, with a 3 week old baby, endured the gawwwwd awful effects of food poisoning and had no food for 4 days and yet my body still got me up at night to feed and produced the milk so very needed. It has carried me, albeit in auto pilot mode, when emotionally I have been vacant and unable to take the controls.
Unknowingly people may judge and think I have ‘let myself go’ but quite the contrary. My body has never let go. The raw strength and determination of my body has carried me through unthinkable emotional and exhausting circumstances. Whilst it may have been weak, it has never faulted or given in. It’s endlessly giving.
This is a strength that not even my old mentally tough nut yogi self could grasp or imagine understanding.
Let’s be real about it. 5 years ago I did 2 hours a day of yoga. An unbelievable luxury to my existence now. So 5 years ago I had a body that could wear anything. My vanity was much more cosy but I knew nothing about resilience or strength or love.
So the voices in the mirror can keep trying to undo me but they can never trumps how thankful I am for this body nor overshadow the utter respect I have for it. What this shabby body has achieved and given me, that’s perfection.