It is impossible to deny how much my body has changed since having two children. Truthfully it changed beyond recognition with just one baby so the second signed, sealed and delivered those changes into eternity. I would be lying if I said I was comfortable with all (or any) of those changes. However I will still be wearing a bikini on holiday, I will be showing off my ‘mum tum’ and stretch marks in all their glory and I will be proud to do it.
Loosing the baby weight….
Ok, so I should probably admit I am fairly skinny. But please understand I have had to work hard to get back to this size after having my children. The baby weight did not ‘drop off’ as I was assured it would and to be perfectly frank I was not happy about putting it on in the first place. I appreciate that I was growing a baby but with every pound I added to my weight was another ounce of happiness that died inside of me. I am not condoning this attitude, I am aware it is very unhealthy to feel that way. But I did feel that way. Both pregnancies.
How I see myself….
When I was younger I had the usual puppy fat of any preteen child. Looking back it did eventually shift but I never saw that. For years, and even still to this day, when I look in the mirror I do not see what other people see. I see extra rolls of flesh, I see large legs, I see saggy boobs and bum. This is a problem I have identified and it is one I have worked really hard at changing. Every time I think I have got there I realise I still have a long way to go. My husband reassures me all the time about the way I look and whilst I believe him, I know he means it, I can’t see it for myself.
I recently discovered by chance that I can see my true body shape in photos and on video. I did some filming a little while ago in a top I reserve for my ‘non bloated days’ but never actually have the confidence to wear it. I was fully prepared to discard everything I filmed but when I watched it back I saw my body in a way I had never seen it before. It is as if something has clicked back into place in my brain. Hubby is getting much better at picking up my camera and taking photos whilst I play with the girls. This has given me the change to see things from a different perspective and with the distance I needed. For once I am happy with the way I look, or at least I have come to terms with this being how I look.
Bikini vs. Swimsuit
When we go to our local swimming pool I have and will always wear a swimsuit. The idea of baring too much skin so local to my house is not a comfortable thought. Somehow it seems more respectful. However on holiday I have and always will wear a bikini. Perhaps it is the fact that I don’t know anyone there that I am more comfortable doing it. Even when I have not been happy with my body I have worn a bikini. I find them more comfortable, and on holiday… who cares?? It is not like I will ever be sunbathing topless as that just isn’t really my style!
The only thing with the bikinis is they don’t hide my stretch marks. Now I got lucky, I only got two! I am not striped like a tiger. My first stretch mark came with my first pregnancy on my right side. My second came with the second pregnancy on the left side. I may not like them but I have learnt to accept them as a gift from each daughter. (For future reference girlies, flowers would have been nicer!)
1. My Daughters…
My daughters are a huge motivation to wear a bikini on holiday. As a woman I am acutely aware of the pitfalls with body confidence they face in their future. I do not want them to grow up aware of the body hang ups I have. They may only be 4 and 2 but they are like sponges, absorbing everything around them. Lack of body confidence is not something I want included in their learning. They are also still too young to care or be embarrassed by me. All they want is a mummy who plays with them and gets involved. Do they care how I look? Nope. Does their opinion matter more than the stranger on the sun bed next to us? Yep!
2. I don’t care what others think…
If my ever present baby pouch, pot belly offends anyone that is not my issue. Do I wish it would go away? Not really anymore but I used to. Ok so my bum is a little (a lot) lower than it used to be and I would much rather it was back where it should be but since I am not going to do anything about it maybe it doesn’t bother me as much as I think it does. If other people don’t like it then they can look the other way!
3. No boobs here…
I have no boobs to mention. I have never been ‘blessed’ with a good pair and since the babies they have got smaller! SMALLER! Who knew that was possible? If my short stint in nursing taught me nothing else it was when us women we get old we can be put into one of two camps. Those with boobs so saggy they can be swooped over a shoulder to keep them out of the way. And those who have no boobs at all! The bonus with not having any boobs worth mentioning is I don’t need to worry about them popping out of a bikini of their own free will. The only exhibition they will be subjected to will be caused by a handsy daughter and a swimsuit wouldn’t solve that problem anyway.
4. I don’t notice…
I have realised that I don’t notice other women in bikinis. I don’t see them and analyse their body so why do I think others would do it to me? The fact is people probably don’t notice me in the same way I don’t notice them. And if anyone does notice me, or feel the need to judge my body they aren’t people worth wasting time worrying about. (See point 2 above).
5. Doing it for myself…
I want to wear a bikini. I like them, I am comfortable in them, not having a tight layer over my stomach is preferable to me. So I am going to wear one. For myself more than anything else. Yes, I want to teach my daughters to love their body regardless of any faults you see but ultimately I think it is important to do this for myself.
No one is going to wave a magic wand and make me ok with the body I see, only I can do that by changing my attitude and the way I think. A bikini on holiday may only seem like a small insignificant thing but it is a step in the right direction towards body satisfaction and acceptance. No one is perfect but since everyone is so different I doubt perfect even exists.