A Weight on my Shoulders

Around us all, there are messages out there on tv, social media, magazines etc. about the ‘perfect bikini body’ or how to ‘lose those pounds’. I never used to let these things bother me so much when I was younger but now, as a full grown woman, it gets to me.

When I was pregnant, I loved my body and my baby bump. It was one of the most magical times seeing our baby boy grow and the weeks flew by. After I gave birth though, I wondered quite a bit about how my bump would go down.

Whenever I scrolled on social media (and still now), I see adverts about losing weight. You know, ‘getting rid of that mum tum’ and all sorts. I was also privately messaged on Instagram from people with their schemes. I shown no interest at all.

Have you ever felt anything towards either of these?

  • Lose weight
  • Don’t lose weight
  • Be comfortable in your own body
  • Put some weight on

So, which one is it? Sometimes I feel confident enough to eat all of the yummy food and snacks I’d like. Of course, that’s with healthy bits in between. But then again, if we are supposed to maintain a healthy weight, how do we maintain a healthy mind too? I don’t know about you but at the minute, I feel like it’s either or. It won’t always be the case. I feel stuck at how much I weigh and I guess that’s okay. My mind though, I need to work on that… I am working on that.

Just the other day, I said to my partner, “Oh, I think my sides are back!” He smiled because he knew what I meant but he has never looked at me any differently. Isn’t it funny how we can see ourselves in a completely different way? Your own perception versus another can be the opposite. Yet, I wouldn’t see or think of how I see myself about another person? The human mind can be a baffling one to say the least.

Today, I looked in the mirror and the positive thoughts I had only a couple of days ago had changed. I seen flaws, imperfect sides, and a very stressed and drained person.

I’ve learned that I need to try and focus on the positives wherever and whenever I can. To be truly happy, I can either accept my weight and embrace it, or if it’s really bothering me, get motivated to do some more exercise.

No matter how someone else sees you, I think it’s so easy to criticise and put a downer on yourself, whether it be physically or mentally.

I’m going to try to remember that being me is what matters, not the unrealistic images we’re supposedly influenced by. Also, I get married next year and I have never felt as amazing as I did when I found ‘the dress’. So, I’m going to keep that memory in mind and I’m sure it’s going to feel like a dream come true when I’m wearing it on our special day.

mirror next to a plain tiled wall

Challenges with a Positive Body Image

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you sigh or do you smile?

II’m that person who compliments someone when I see prettiness, a nice outfit, new hair doo etc. But when the compliment is returned sometimes I shy away from what I’m being told and reply with a simple, “Thank you!” I think a lot of it comes down to my levels of self esteem.

Body image and compliments

It’s easy to give someone advice who is challenged with their body image – whether it be their weight, skin, overall appearance – but many of us have something we wish we could change. I have multiple things I think about but my partner adores. There are things I dislike so much that others will compliment. Sometimes, it’s we are our own demon with my minds and what we believe to be true. If I start to tell myself more positive things about my body when I look in the mirror, will that make them true?

Another thing is,,I feel I look younger the older I get which is a huge bonus right? At the same time, I feel like I don’t always look ‘grown up enough’ and I don’t even know if that’s a thing? It makes me wonder about all sorts of things to do with appearance – skincare routine, hair, clothing style etc. when I honestly don’t have the time to look at least 50% of what I might have before having a baby. I don’t think I have let myself go but I am much more critical. Okay, I might have a more sporty look for comfort in the week when family members have asked, “Oh have you been to the gym?” and if I haven’t on that particular day, I easily get down because I think hmm… maybe I should have.

Far from the ‘real life’ body image

TV shows, films, Instagram – we are surrounded by filters and a distance from reality – that’s something I need to remind myself of more. Some days, I am torn on whether to delete on social accounts but I love seeing updates from my family and friends and course sharing blog posts like this one. Without social media, my blog wouldn’t reach as many people. Next time you see a photo or video, think to yourself, there’s more behind that camera lens. Each and every one of us has a story. Some people look more confident than others but could be battling their biggest challenge with body image. Other people are quieter, don’t share much and could be living their best life. It’s all about perspective and I think a lot of it gets lost.

Since high school days, I also felt there was a trend to keep up with. Could I? Nope. I wasn’t in the popular groups, I wasn’t not liked but I wasn’t in the middle neither. I was bullied and some people don’t realise the extent to what went on but it happened. As long ago as it was, I think it still plays a part of the thoughts about myself that play on remind, including comments that have been put my way in more recent times. Two of the hardest parts for me are, looking back in the past and comparing myself to others. It’s so damaging and but even coming to the realisation of that which took a great deal of time, still doesn’t make it any easier not to.

I wish we lived in a world where it was considered normal for people to lose weight or gain weight, have dry or greasy skin (or both), not have to wear makeup to look pretty etc. You can talk with friends who agree but it isn’t the message that’s conveyed outside of those conversations. I suppose it’s just part of the world we live in now even if it does give some people more of a struggle. I wish I could be someone who didn’t care what anyone said, or in fact, even wonder what someone thinks when it might not be anything at all? Oh imagine!

Take something positive from your body image

Right now, I am writing this post wearing my Minnie Mouse pyjamas, hair in a messy bun, with a face looking a bit like Casper the Ghost and some red blotches. I recently tested positive for Covid but I still have these days and I love them because I am happy being comfy in my own company or around my partner and baby.

If you have read this post, I hope you’re able to take something away from it. Perhaps you want to try and feel more comfortable in yourself or how you look when you’re around people. Whatever it might be, your body is part of what makes you, you! Start with someone small and hold onto that thought whenever you start to feel like you’re down about your appearance. I am going to give it a go (when I’m finally able to get out of the house that is).

cup of tea in woman's hands

Feelings during maternity leave

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about things that I probably don’t need to but anyway… I’m not sure if it’s because I’m on maternity leave so there’s a lot more time than usual for things to play on my mind or if I’m just being good old me.

After I gave birth, emotions were all over the place which is absolutely normal but I still don’t think they haven’t quite gone yet. My body is still changing, I am discovering a whole new world with a tiny human being (well, a little chunky chops), and sometimes I feel like I need to be doing more. Also, I find myself feeling pressured? It’s not like this is by anyone but I am telling myself that X, Y, Z needs to be done or achieved within a particular time frame. Take losing weight and getting back into ‘shape’ as an example. I haven’t gotten myself into a hole which is good and I am taking regular walks each day but I still don’t love my body. I know it’s not a nice thing to say but it’s true. I’m sure I’ll get back to loving my body some more, even if it’s just a little. There’s more on this if you read on.

Fitting into old clothes

Some people will compliment me which is lovely. They might say, “You’re looking well” or “Wow, your bump has completely gone”. The truth is, it makes me a little sad. I loved feeling my baby bump growing more and more every day for 9 months. How am I supposed to love my post-pregnancy body now? I can’t fit into my jeans. I am living in leggings and anything that’s comfy. I don’t want to be complaining months down the line that I didn’t “get rid of the baby weight”. That special baby that once cosied up inside me is now with me, literally right next to me. He doesn’t care about my size or how I look. I don’t want to ‘let myself go’. I don’t think I am right now but maybe running again will help me to focus and feel better within myself. I considered re-joining the gym but I’m just not entirely sure it’s for me at the moment. I feel pressured without being pressured… does that even make sense? How our minds work eh! I suppose, I also need to remember that no body is the ‘perfect’ body no matter how social media can show otherwise.

Going back to work

I have months left before I return to work so why is it even on my mind? I’ll tell you why. I’ve been lay in bed at night and I panic if I won’t be able to take everything on when I go back. No doubt, there be many changes and lots of new challenges to adapt to. What if I feel like I can’t do it? It sounds silly, I know. Danny talks me through things though. I need to take work off my mind as I have precious time to spend with my baby boy. I always count on him to cheer me up when I feel down. When Freddy smiles, those random thoughts drift away… for a little while at least.

What’s really important

Now, this is a positive one and my favourite point in this post. Since Freddy was born, I feel stronger and as the weeks have gone by, I think I’m a lot more confident in all of the new mum stuff that’s came my way. I’ll be honest, I have days where I wonder how I’m still going about my day when my energy levels are low. Then, Danny will come home from work and everything’s okay. He is the most supportive and loving person and altogether, we’re a little trio. Danny makes me a cup of tea (with some biscuits of course) and he just knows how to make me feel better. He gets it. Danny knows my mind plays about 10 thoughts per hour and he knows how to try to distract me from that overdrive – by giving me food most of the time or a little snack to pick me up, and a big Danny hug..

If you find yourself relating to any of these feelings or you want to share your own thoughts during your maternity leave, just add a comment below. And again, I’ll say, mums and dads, you have got this!

heart shape on stick in front of a woman's pregnant belly

Loving Your Body During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant there are many changes that your body goes through which affect you mentally and physically. And on the appearance side of things, it can be hard to adjust to your weight and body image. Even the women who receive compliments to say that they are glowing, think about how they look.

You are carrying a baby

Stating the obvious here but remember that you are carrying a baby in your uterus, a baby which develops and grows every day. I keep using the good old saying, I’m bloated!” then I am corrected by, “No, you’re pregnant.” As simply put as it is, it’s true. For someone like me, my weight has never changed drastically, other than the odd 6lbs ish weight fluctuations here and there, sometimes due to Slow Transit Constipation but also because I am a woman, I’m human, and it happens. 

The other week I got teary eyed when I weighed myself. Maybe it was an emotional day or perhaps the reality of that true pregnancy weight gain hit me. Either way, I am reminded that every woman’s body is different. We all have our own shapes and we shouldn’t let our minds think so negatively about our bodies – that goes for inside and outside of pregnancy. But remember, during pregnancy, there’s a baby, a placenta, fluid etc. There’s bound to be weight gain. If you are concerned, speak to your midwife. 

Growth is precious

Remember the day you found out you were pregnant? Baby was barely the size of a pea. If you was like me, it was very early on. Your baby goes through some huge milestones. From that first scan to the anomaly scan, you notice a difference in baby’s size and features. 

So, if you love to see your little bundle of joy growing, try to enjoy the wanders that pregnancy brings the growth of your body. I for one struggled a little at first, especially facing the fact that clothes didn’t fit anymore or just didn’t look right. After only a few weeks, I told myself to cherish everything, even the sickness in the first trimester reminded me that baby was inside and was changing every day. 

I adore my baby bump. The bigger it gets, means baby is growing more and getting stronger. And I cherish each and every movement and kick that I feel, no matter what time of the day it is.

Love your pregnancy body

Try not to compare yourselves to other pregnant women, stories, predicted baby weights etc. Enjoy your pregnancy! Make the most of feeling your little one wriggle around inside you. Bond with your baby – talk, play music, let your partner be part of the experience as much as possible. I look in the mirror most mornings as I get change and I now accept my pregnancy body. If there are times where I am starting to feel low, Danny always tells me, “You look beautiful!” then gives me more food to cheer me up of course!

I love the days where I can wear nice dresses, especially as we are now in the spring months (or at least they say it’s spring in the UK at the moment but the weather doesn’t look like it). I am so excited for the summer months to be here for more flowy dresses, and the moment will be here before I know it when we are holding our baby boy in our arms. 

A quick little tip here for any pregnant women, Palmers lotion for stretch marks is really good. I definitely recommend.