First time mum/referee/ sleeve snot wiper to a wild toddler. Designated household bum changer. Blogging about this motherhood malarkey from a refreshingly honest and unfiltered perspective.

My Changed Body

Even before I had Arthur, I was always extremely self conscious about my body and how I looked. If someone asked, I could literally write up a list of every single thing I hated about myself and maybe one thing I (sometimes) liked about myself. 

I was always desperate to look a particular way. To be someone else. I was terrified of putting on weight or 'slipping' past a certain size. I would restrict myself on meals. I was always comparing myself to other people and feeling like I wasn't enough and it took a hard hit on my already poor mental health.

Awkward. That's how I felt in my own skin. Awkward and out of sorts. Comparing myself to other people who had slim figures or perfect skin, perky boobs or toned legs. I would always feel somewhat ashamed about my own body. Uncomfortable that I would never look that good. Embarrassed to be in the same room with anyone better than me. Uneasy. Small. Sheepish.
Disgusted and squirming where I stood.
Although, I aimed to stay skinny, it was more a desired need for control. I would stand in front of the mirror and feel horrified when my ribs began to protrude through my sides. When the skin stretched back over my cheekbones to reveal a gaunt expression. When my skin grew paler and my clothes wore baggier. When walking across the road felt like an upheaval. I was always tired and worn out. "Too skinny,", "ill looking," people would remark. I grew tired of the constant comments. Tuts. Concerns.  I felt weak and depressed and totally out of control.

When I fell pregnant with Arthur, I was an unhealthy size 6 and considered a very unhealthy weight. Even in a size 6, my jeans would slack. My bras would gape, my t-shirts would hang off me. I did my best to eat healthy and not restrict or grieve over what I was eating or how many portions I had. If I desired a second helping of dessert, so be it.

I found that my weight never increased when I was pregnant. I stayed the exact same and it concerned me as I worried that my poor choices pre pregnancy would now affect my babies ability to grow properly. I feared if I went into premature labour or he was born so tiny that it would have been all my fault.
My midwife assessed that I would need to be sent for several growth scans to assure he was growing on track and guessed that when born, he would be a very small baby at a predicted weight of just 5lbs.
It made me feel like I had already failed as a Mum. It was my job, to incubate him for 9 months. To nurture and take care of him and myself properly. To give him the best possible start before he made his grand arrival.

Although, I was excited to watch my bump balloon, to feel the flutter of little kicks, to see how my body would embrace pregnancy, in the back of my mind, I was slightly apprehensive of how it would have to adapt to grow this life inside me. I worried how I would get back to my pre baby weight. I was always told how your body changes after kids and the thought wouldn't leave my mind. I hated the thought of feeling out of control.

As my body changed, and the stretch marks etched their way permanently into my skin, a surprising confidence bloomed.

Never had I felt more comfortable in my own body than when I was pregnant. 
I felt so at ease in my skin. I could dress in whatever I chose and not agonize over how I looked.
I could throw on the jumper without analyzing if it would frame me or if the jeans I hastily yanked on in the morning would hug me a little too tight.

I felt like I had a glow. I didn't feel uncomfortable every time I walked out the door. I ate what I wanted when I wanted. I ate 3 course meals and still was hungry for more.
I don't know what gave me such a heightened confidence. If it was the wonder I was growing, knowing he was with me always. If it was the way my body suited pregnancy. Or if it was because I had something to prioritise my focus on.

I loved how big my bump grew in the last few months. 
I embraced the back pain, that I couldn't reach down to tie my own shoes (I always had them pre-tied before work so I could easily slip them on without having a meltdown. I was an emotional whirlwind during pregnancy) and I strutted through the penguin waddle.

After I had Arthur, I was so proud that he arrived speedily and perfect. Despite concerns, he surprised us all with a healthy weight of 8lb 13oz. He was alert, content and thriving. 

My fears of my 'mum tum' or saggy boobs, temporarily subsided the moment I saw what my body had went through to accommodate this perfect little person I was holding in my arms.

However, I did find myself struggle for a while after having Arthur. No one can ever explain just how hard those first few weeks are after having a baby, physically, and emotionally. I was a hurricane of disbelief and love and anxiety. My new norm body took time to adjust too. I was bleeding and swollen and sore. My boobs felt like rocks, ached for days and leaked through every top and every breast pad. My stomach was like a saggy deflated pouch. My stitches pulled every time I walked, I felt like I was pissing razor blades going to the loo. And I had the fear. The fear of how it looked, down there (don't deny you didn't take a mirror down there a few weeks later and scarred yourself for life.)

I felt frustrated that I couldn't just 'bounce back' and get on with things as easily as before. I could barely get off the couch without gripping onto someone to help me. 
I felt a little broken. I had no time to recoup. No quiet moment to let it all sink in. To feel the comedown from the adrenaline of labour. To close my eyes and just breathe. I was ushered out the hospital a mere few hours later, only having enough time to shower, change and discuss new birth control (because sex is what me and my new torn apart vagina were musing about!). I was handicapped by anxieties that sprouted from no where. I had no emotional support from hospital staff and I just felt all around, a little overwhelmed. I wanted to burst into tears over how much I was feeling but I felt it was wrong to do so, when I had just welcomed the miracle I had waited so long to finally meet.

I won't lie and say that my fears of how I look or my days of scrutinizing every minor flaw are over. 
But I am proud of what my body went through. I am confident in my scars and I wear with my stretch marks with pride.
I think its the times we live in. Body shapes and appearance is how the world goes round. We focus too much on how well we look instead of how we love. How we dress rather than how we treat people. We spend more time fixing our hair instead of fixing our character. 
I think it's time we change that.

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