Tag: body image

25 weeks pregnant.

I found this week of my pregnancy to be rather overwhelming (forgive me if every week’s update starts out like this – not that I would notice because baby brain). I may have increased my weekly quota of mental breakdowns from one to two haha. I say ‘haha’ now but I wasn’t really laughing at the time. Eek.

The good news was that the weather started to dry up. I don’t know if it was the change in weather or just a combination of things I was trying, but my PUPPP rash started to feel a tiny bit better at one point. Some of the patches on my skin actually felt drier and tighter. I would liken it to that feeling when you’re slightly sunburnt. Without the sunburn of course (please be safe in the sun everyone). For a rash sufferer like me, this actually felt amazing. I’ve decided that wet, muggy weather is not my friend.

The bad news is that my body was mad at me for making progress and the rash started to fight back even harder. That’s the thing. I often have a couple of good days, followed by an utterly shit week. My legs were being eaten alive by this and my belly was starting to be affected. I started to feel like there would be nothing left of me. I’d just be a walking rash. This really badly affected my self confidence and my body image. I was especially worried about the rash on my right arm. It looks hideous. There are sores with soft scabs (not those nice dark dry ones that look clean even if blemished), red patches, the works. I thought people would think I was some kind of contagious, flea bitten leper or something. Hiding my arms was not as easy as hiding my legs. I got really down. The negative thoughts were as relentless as my rash.

A few deep and meaningfuls with my mum and husband were much needed at this time. I may have cried in the bath a few times too. I felt well and truly mental. And I don’t say that jokingly. I was really starting to think I’d need to reach out for mental health help (and I still might at some point).

It was probably a tough week because Mr Unprepared was going to be away for the whole weekend on a big bike ride. I was trying to be a strong, supportive wife and let him have that time out with his mates, but I won’t lie – it was really difficult. I needed my wind down time and I couldn’t have it. By the time he got home, I was an emotional wreck. It kind of set the scene for the rest of the week. Because Mr Unprepared was tired and recovering from his ride and trying to play catch up at work too, it was not easy. That was a wake up call for both of us, I think. I might not be in my third trimester yet, but I am definitely quite needy haha. Instead of being embarrassed by this, I really had to learn to ask for more help.

Which, with Mr Unprepared’s help, led me to the awesome gesture by my inlaws to have the Little Mister on Friday afternoons, in that time after school but before he plays cricket. It was all proving a bit too much for me and everything was at an awkward time. Now I get to claim a couple of hours a Friday for myself. I am guaranteed a bath and a moment to just sit in the quiet. Mr Unprepared gets to have special bonding time with the Little Mister at cricket. Everybody wins.

I also made the commitment to take part in the #100happydays challenge because I want to see out the rest of my pregnancy with as much positivity as possible. This should take me to the baby arriving (and maybe beyond if I have my way haha). Even if I don’t get to finish the challenge, I think it will be good for me. While I don’t want to create a fake memory of this pregnancy or give the false illusion on social media that everything is fine when it’s not, I do want to remember the good things too. While the shit times are real, the good times are as well and I shouldn’t disregard that. I’m trying to help re-wire my brain. It might not solve everything but I do know that I never want to feel like I did this week again if I can help it. Sometimes there’s a fine line between not coping and coping. This is just one of those little things I can put in place.

At least my arm didn’t photograph too badly. It just overwhelmed me in person. My usual instinct would be to stop looking at myself in the mirror if it upsets me but that’s hard to do when you literally have to inspect your whole body for rash sites twice a day to apply ointment. I found that frustrating. 

 

Kez Gets Physical: Swimsuit Edition.

I have a confession to make. While I’ve been working really hard on loving and accepting my body (especially after having the Little Mister in late 2011), the one area I have struggled with immensely has been how my body looks on the beach.

In bathers (otherwise known as togs or swimmers or whatever you like to call them).

While I would love to say with confidence that all I need to do to have a beach body for summer is to have a body and take it to the beach in summer, I know that I haven’t been able to get myself to truly believe it for myself or put it into practice.

The Little Mister was pretty much born a summer baby, so I felt a bit intimidated by the idea of wearing my bathers right away. In our climate, the need to cool down and wear light clothes and get in a pool or swim at the beach is quite a common thing to deal with! While I was far more concerned with getting the hang of having a tiny person to care for and love (priorities of course), the issue did kind of hang around in the background. I remember back to when we had friends over for Australia Day 2012 (the Little Mister was 3 months old). We had big paddle pools set up for everyone – it was a stinker. I eventually got in with my friends. I had a big, floaty t-shirt on and daggy board shorts, while my friends all sat around in their bikinis looking pretty happy and comfy (even the new mums and pregnant ones too). I saw photos later and felt embarrassed. I felt like everyone knew I was hiding. It kind of just doubles the embarrassment factor.

I had stretch marks, some lingering scars from my PUPPP rash (that from a short distance looked like angry chest acne). A paunchy belly. In hindsight, I looked pretty damn good for what I’d been through and the breastfeeding had done wonders for me losing ‘baby’ weight (until I put it back on and then some later on). I really should have thrown caution to the wind and felt comfortable in my bathers, in my own home, around friends who were the last people who would judge me.

But that insecurity is not always rational and we judge ourselves so harshly sometimes, no?

Fast forward to 4 years later, and my scars have faded. My stretch marks are still there, but they have faded a lot too (you’d probably only see them if you were perving reeeeeally hard or you’re in my family/close friends circle). I still have a paunch that wobbles (the Little Mister likes to ever so tactfully jiggle it and laugh). I am a size 12 short arse. I’m not skinny, slim or perfectly toned. If I eat anything at all (which I do because starvation or crash dieting is not an option), I can look like I’m housing a 4-5 month food baby.

But it has been at least 4 long years since I wore nothing but my bathers on the beach or in the pool.

At the start of summer 2015/16, I realised I want to change that. I’ve been working so hard on my Kez Gets Physical self improvement project, that this has felt like a really important hurdle to conquer. I’ve become more comfortable in my skin. More comfortable in my active wear. More comfortable in my every day clothes. But I haven’t yet beaten my fear of being seen on the beach without a thousand cover up items on my body!

Obviously, I believe so much in being sun safe, but I have also been a bit ridiculous because of my worry about my body’s appearance. I want to feel comfortable and I don’t want to freak out about what it will mean if I choose to get in the water (like what do I do with all my clothes and my cover ups and what do I look like and am I being totally awkward right now?). It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I’m keeping it as real as I can!

I don’t want to swan around like I think I’m Kate Upton or anything. I don’t want to punish myself with ridiculous fad diets and extreme work outs, so I can achieve some kind of ‘ideal’ bikini body. I just want to feel comfortable in myself and be able to do the things I enjoy (especially with the Little Mister) without hinderance from too much extra fabric or crippling self consciousness, thank you!

For Christmas, Mr Unprepared gave me (among other nice things) a voucher for a beautiful local swimwear store. I was so happy that I would have an excuse to remember how to feel good in my bathers again. I hadn’t shopped – joyfully – for swimwear in SO long. It had always been a rushed purchase – “This will do – it will all be covered up by my extra tops and shorts anyway”.

I did a little online browsing for ideas and decided that I should look for a tankini that is quite fitted around the torso (the looser ones look like they’ll be flattering but tend to float up around your chest when you enter the water – learnt that the hard way a while back). I wanted padding in the cups, not so much because I want to look like I have big breastesses (ha!), but because I am weird about flaunting my nips (what a prude – don’t get me started on my fear of camel toe haha). I wanted it to have some built in flattering features, like a little ruching (gathering) in the right spots and wide straps (probably a halter) and a pattern that didn’t make me look like a house. Because I’m not picky or anything!!!

I headed into town (on a really rainy morning strangely enough) and did my best to find that perfect tankini. I told the lady I had forgotten what looks good on me, so I was trying lots of things. I really had forgotten. I feel like swimwear design has come a long way since I last made an effort. Either that or I wasn’t paying attention. Could totally be the latter reason.

I picked out four contenders (pictured above) and got to work in the change room. I took photos of each top as I tried it on. I do this a lot as it helps me to quickly reference something and compare items. It also doesn’t hurt to know how this stuff photographs (let’s be honest).

I found a winner right away. The first top I tried on. It had the perfect small print (in gorgeous colours) to distract from too many lumps or bumps, a halter neck, padded cups and ruching. I didn’t hate myself in it. I actually felt a rush of excitement. Like if I wore this on the beach, I’d feel like a NORMAL PERSON wearing NORMAL bathers. I’d also feel good about the fact that I was wearing something I bought with actual intention and pride in myself. Not just something to hide in or to hide underneath other stuff.

In the name of ‘keeping it real’, here is what it looks like on (with the skirt I wore into the store).

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The side view impressed me too! Everything looked smoother and was tucked in nice and tight. Yay! I mean, I may be mistaken for a pregnant person if I’ve eaten too much on any given day, but I am quickly entering a new level of not-giving-a-fuckness about what nosy people might think/say. Yes. Kez is making progress!

I’ve got a way to go in toning and weight loss, of course, but I think that I should love my body for what it is (and what it can do) now too. Life’s too short to hide or sit on the sidelines!

Do you have any body/fitness fears to conquer in 2016? 

 

If you like my bathers, you can visit the Sunseeker website where they have some similar stuff (mine is the Verona singlet) and you can find a list of their stockists.
Note: this isn’t a sponsored post (unless you count it as being sponsored by Mr Unprepared who got me a voucher)!

Kez Gets Physical: Loving your body (and yourself) NOW.

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image source

When I say ‘love’, I don’t mean that you have to be head over heels, loving yourself sick and thinking you’re the sexiest beast to walk the planet every time you look in the mirror – no improvements needed (although you are totally a sexy beast – just saying). I mean the act of love. The ‘being kind to yourself’ kind of love. The kind of acceptance for yourself and your body that you would give anybody else that you care about, but somehow forget to give yourself. The remembering that you are more than what you look like. That kind of love.

I used to be of the mentality that I would have to work hard to get the body that I want and THEN I could love myself – you know, when I got really hot. And you know what? I was MISERABLE. I was all about the destination and not about the journey. Holding off my happiness and acceptance of myself was not the best idea I’ve ever had. In fact, it turned out to be really counterproductive.

Also, WTF. How shallow is that?? I would never treat somebody else like that. Why do it to myself?

The funny thing is, it took me being the heaviest and most unfit I’ve ever been in my life to actually start loving myself (this was only a few months and a couple of kilograms ago). I think it’s because I had to accept that if I got myself moving and really made an effort to improve my health, it would take a lot longer than it ever has before. It wouldn’t be a quick fix (and nor did I want it to be). That’d be a really long time to wait to be happy.

For me, the happiness I feel when I’m saying nice things to myself, is what actually motivates me. I’ve made so much more progress in my journey to better health since I decided to be happy with myself NOW than I was ever making when I made the choice to loathe who I saw in the mirror each day.

How do I love myself and my body NOW

I used to think that there was no point buying nice new clothes because I’d be heaps smaller and slimmer one day, so what’s the point? May as well make do with what I had until I was ‘hot again’ and then I could spoil myself. That was a HUGE mistake. Each day I faced a wardrobe filled with things that didn’t fit anymore. Stuff I was waiting to fit back into. See, I never got rid of that stuff because I thought that if I did, it was like telling myself I’d never wear that size/style again. I thought it would be like admitting I was giving up. Thing is, I was also subconsciously telling myself that I didn’t deserve nice new clothes that fit and flattered, because I didn’t think I was good enough how I was.

Each day I would have to wade through the stuff that I couldn’t wear anymore. I would feel sad and annoyed (it also was a big waste of time). Every day. I would put on some drab piece of clothing – probably something super floaty I could do nothing but hide in and hope I blended in with. It was often a few seasons old or it looked overly worn out. I never felt good.

I also never worked out. I told myself that until I was ‘hot’ enough to wear gym clothes, I shouldn’t buy any, like I didn’t have the right to buy it because I wasn’t ‘the real deal’ or experienced enough. But then I would never be able to exercise the way I wanted, because I didn’t have the right clothes or I felt frumpy and out of place when I improvised! Funny that.

So one day something snapped in me and I went into a little bit of a frenzy. I packed all the stuff that didn’t fit me into bags. One for charity and one to put aside somewhere just in case (in a container to be stored away so I didn’t have to see it every day). My wardrobe looked quite bare, but suddenly there was room for new stuff. Stuff I deserved to buy myself. Best decision I ever made.

Now I go clothes shopping when I can (which is not often but I make it count) and I put some effort in. I deserve it. I deserve to look and feel nice no matter what weight I am or where I am in my progress as I strive to be healthier and stronger. I have a couple of aspirational clothing items but I keep them to a minimum and they are realistic aspirations – not crazy dreams of a size 6 mini dress – the kind worn only by Hollywood socialites on the red carpet (socialite in mini dress I am not)! If I ever get small enough for that kind of thing (and someone invites me to a red carpet event haha), I’ll go buy it when I need it. For now, I’m happy to dress for where I’m at. Yes. Happy. I’m gonna be sexy NOW damn it!

The more I exercise and eat better, the less I care what people might think of my appearance. Because there’s something magical about knowing your truth. If I’m doing all I can, people can think whatever the fuck they like. When I was miserable and secretly eating my feelings every day and hiding in grey muu muu dresses, I thought that any negative thoughts people had of my appearance would be all I deserved. It wasn’t and to be honest, I don’t think other people thought much of anything. I was just projecting my own feelings about myself onto them. Deep, huh?

Another thing to do is to find inspiration (and perspective) in people who are more like you, physically. I know heaps of beautiful girls of all sizes and shapes who look AMAZING to me all the time and not once have I ever looked at them and thought bad things about them just because of how they carry their weight (or any other physical trait). In fact, I see who they are shining through more than anything. If I don’t judge them, should I be judging myself? Hell to the no! That’s also a good indicator that other people probably aren’t judging me either!

Now when I look in the mirror, I look for the good things. Sure, I might do a quick ‘does my back fat look too obvious in this’ check (old habits die hard), but I look for the little differences in my muscle tone since I started exercising more. I look at the things I like about my outfit or my body. Because I put love into my body and my wardrobe NOW, it is much easier. I’m proud of a ‘look’ I’ve achieved, rather than relieved I can blend in for another day (or horribly anxious that someone will ‘out’ me as not being good enough).

Even if my clothes aren’t fitting great (and the stuff in the shops is not helping either), I find ways to pamper myself. Cute accessories (they’ll always fit), colourful shoes, getting my nails done (or taking the time to do them myself). It doesn’t matter what size I am. I know I’m working hard and things will improve. I am kind to myself because I deserve my own kindness NOW (or at least I am working really hard on it).

Because what’s more motivating? Someone bullying us and saying we’re not good enough or someone telling us they care and that they’ve got our back and they know we can do this because we’re worth it?

Don’t be your own bully!

You are beautiful in so many ways RIGHT NOW!

The big question: Do you believe me?

Kez Gets Physical: A weighty topic.

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I don’t really like the idea of talking too much about weight loss anymore (ironic I know when you consider the topic of this blog post). I think it’s because everyone focuses on it so much. It really isn’t everything when it comes to being healthier. Am I excited when I see a loss on the scales? Of course. But my reasons for wanting to see that decrease has changed drastically over time.

It used to be all about my looks. I would be so ashamed of my appearance that I would cry before leaving the house (how embarrassment). I’d be so worried that everyone would think I couldn’t pull off an outfit because I was too overweight. Or that they might mistakenly think I was pregnant (a big ridiculous phobia which has sadly been proven to be valid on occasion because people can’t shut their mouths and mind their own business).

Now it’s about much more than my looks. Do I want to see the numbers drop on the scale? Absolutely. Am I going to end up talking about it? Yeah. But this time it’s about being healthy and feeling better physically.

This body was not built to be chubby. I have a small, Asian frame and when I carry too much weight I really feel it. My thighs chafe. My feet hurt more when I walk. I physically feel like shit when I’ve been filling my body with the wrong things (weight gain being the obvious side effect). And for reasons that are entirely practical, if I don’t keep my weight down, my clothes (currently size 12) don’t fit and I know that I cannot go up any more sizes because those sizes are made for taller people and I wouldn’t be able to find anything in the shops (I’m only 5 foot tall yo).

I want to be a healthy BMI to avoid type 2 diabetes in the future (as well as decrease my chances of complications with gestational diabetes in any future pregnancy). I want to feel agile and not heavy when I move.

Yeah, I do look forward to the side effects of weight loss when it comes to the superficial side of things, but I am very careful not to let it be my focus. Since working on my health, I haven’t worried anywhere near as much about whether people think I’m pregnant when my stomach bloats up or sticks out. I know I’m working on my fitness and it makes me feel like anyone who accuses me, or subtly implies, that they think I am ‘with child’ (without a shred of evidence because duh I’m not) can go jump off a bridge, while I smile and wave to them because I have the comfort of knowing I’m making healthy choices, regardless of what they think it looks like.

I’m not going to preach to anyone else how to lose weight (that’s up to the experts and it’s not up to me to tell you that you need to do anything – you do you boo). I just know that I am not going to let my self image be defined by what numbers are on the scales.

My weight is just a part of my journey to better health. There is so much more I am working on too.

So when you hear me talk about my weight loss goals and celebrating little weight loss milestones, I am only talking about a part of my experience. I am enjoying the mental health benefits of exercising more. I love when I can rush about during the day without feeling like I’m going to collapse from exhaustion. I am so glad when I feel good after eating foods that aren’t filled with the junk that makes you feel sluggish or nauseous (I am not by ANY stretch of the imagination saying I do not indulge regularly haha). I get excited, the closer I get to having a BMI within the healthy range (as opposed to currently being in the overweight category). I love when there’s evidence (guys I’m talking about regular poops hahaha) that my metabolism is remembering what to do.

I am sick of seeing the media and pop culture so singularly focused on what a (usually female) celebrity weighs. On what a woman looks like after giving birth. We are so much more than that. It’s insulting that women feel compelled to show their post-pregnancy-bodies off. To prove how great they are at shedding the baby weight, or conversely to prove what ‘normal’ looks like. Why do we even care at all? We are so much more than that. We are warrior women, no matter what any of us looks like.

Shouldn’t we be talking about the important things? Yes, reclaiming our bodies is a journey after birth (even almost 4 years on as is my case), and it can be so great to celebrate that, but it should be for the right reasons. For us as individuals – not to match some stupid, superficial standard that society seemingly has for us.

That is why I scroll past the ‘such and such flaunts her post baby body’ headlines. Um…that famous chick just went to the supermarket a relatively short time after having a baby. WHAT? That’s why I don’t buy the magazines. I am not even slightly tempted. That is why I won’t be joining any ‘movement’ to post photos of my ‘real’ belly any time soon (or ever). I simply do not care and I wish that more people would join me in my ‘not caring’. It’s liberating.

The feminist in me says, let’s stop oppressing ourselves and each other in such a demeaning way. Let’s say no to those who try to do it to us. Women are so much more than their appearance or what they weigh. How are we allowing ourselves to be defined in such a limited way?!

Sure, we’re humans and we like looking at pretty, shiny things. Sometimes we even like to become pretty, shiny things. There is nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t everything. It’s not even the most important thing. Not even close.

Let’s focus on who we are and how we feel mentally, physically and spiritually. We have so much more to offer than an obsession with the bathroom scales or how fast we lose weight. Let’s not forget that weight loss can be unhealthy and disordered too. It’s why we do it, how we do it and the way we choose to talk about it that really matters.

 How do you feel about the way the media portrays women? Have you struggled with your body image?

But I have NOTHING to wear!!!

Pic: I think the key is to avoid this.

Lately I’ve been feeling a little fashionably challenged. I swear that no matter how many items of clothing sit in the bottom of my wardrobe on the floor, I still only manage to rotate between the same three damn outfits day in, day out! I’m starting to feel a little bit depressed about it! Literally months ago, I decided to start clearing out my wardrobe, with the purpose of only keeping the things I will actually wear (and that will fit me). I am yet to actually finish the mammoth task! Or at least it feels like a mammoth task when you have an 8 month old baby hanging from you constantly! I feel like I’ve been through so many changes in the last year, physically and lifestyle wise, that it’s impossible to maintain my old way of dressing!

Necklines get pulled down until you could be arrested for indecent exposure, shoulders get dribbled on, jeans fall down when you’re constantly bending down to lift a baby or something they’ve dropped on the floor (plumber’s crack anyone?), maxi dresses can be tripped over while carrying a 10kg baby, fancy short skirts are dangerous (and cannot easily be pulled down to a proper length while holding a child, meaning constantly looking uncomfortable).

Maybe I’m just incapable of wearing clothes properly anymore and all the other mummies are doing fine…but I really do have issues. While it is tempting to become one of those bedraggled mothers who wear old men’s tracksuits every day (in private or in public), like the ladies on Oprah who got free makeovers all the time, I am determined to not do that whole “letting myself go” thing.

My wardrobe is filled with I Could Never Leave the House in That items that are strictly for housework or painting in (neither of which I’m very proficient at as of late), party dresses, and clothes that remind me of my pregnancy and threaten to give me nightmare flashbacks when I put them on. I get paranoid that certain items of clothing will make people speculate that I must be pregnant again, when really I’ve just been comfort eating a bit too much…

I really would like to win the lottery and start over again. Nothing feels like it fits in with my life as it is today! I need a fresh start! Or Oprah (she’d bring her show back just for me, right?)! I want to be fashionable, practical and my clothing needs to be classy but casual enough that I can meet a friend for lunch, grovel on the floor at several baby friendly venues (the library, friends’ houses, parks etc) without getting arrested for public indecency or scaring anyone and I want to look like me! I want to not look like a cookie cutter mummy who had to wear everything everyone else has because there was simply no choice available! I don’t want to look like a slob either!

Inspiration?

Pic: Easy, casual, practical and fashionable!

Pic: I would add a scarf to disguise any pulling down of my neckline, but that’s the basic idea!

The key here seems to be simple dresses, scarves, opaque tights or leggings, stretchy blazers, oversized tee shirts and well fitted jeans (unlike the ones I am currently wearing which fall off my hips no matter what I do and I am only wearing them because I have nothing else). I am thinking accessories can mix it up too 🙂

Besides spending a while googling “celebrities with babies” to see what they’re wearing (I’m totes good at research), I also consulted the most fashionable, hip population of 20 something bloggers on what the “don’ts” of fashion are today (just to make sure I’m on the right track) and here are my top findings:

Leggings are NOT pants (unless you have Barbie doll parts in your knickers which will NEVER ever reveal camel toe from ANY angle on any day in any location guaranteed). Leggings should be worn with tops or dresses that cover both camel toe (comprehensively) and possible cellulite. I agree wholeheartedly.

Crocs worn by adults – don’t. I can’t even.

Pic: No. Just no.

Leggings with shorts are apparently a hot topic of contention. I have always wondered if I could, during my desperate moments, but never went through with it. According to some of my blogging peers I seem to have made the right move?

Ill fitting clothes of any description. Which is why I am so at odds with my wardrobe right now! Basically, what I think everyone is saying is be real. Accept your real clothing size, wear something that flatters and save everyone’s eyeballs.

With all of this in mind, I think I’m gonna be OK. Now all I have to do is find some moolah, some time and some energy! Piece of cake….right?

I know this might shock you, but I’m not a Victoria’s Secret model…

Pic: “Wait, that’s not Kez! But they look so alike!”

Yep. I know that when you see me, you do a double take. But no, I am not the Asian Miranda Kerr. Thankyou anyway. I mean, she pushed out a baby 2 pounds heavier than mine (VAGINALLY!) and stays in shape doing pilates. So I can see how you would mix the two of us up. Especially after reading about my pre-natal pilates experiences and all…

Well, before I got pregnant I was on a health kick, so that kind of counts, right? It wasn’t intended as a specific let’s-get-pregnant overhaul. It was just for me. The rest just kind of fell into place later 😉

I was all about weighing myself daily, recording everything I ate and exercising all the time. I was excited about my lifestyle changes and admittedly, a lot of my focus was all about not wanting to hate my body anymore. I wanted to feel less stressed, stop yelling “DO I LOOK FAT IN THIS?! I LOOK TOTALLY FAT IN THIS!” at my husband, and I wanted to wear nice clothes without trying on half a store first and deciding I looked disgusting in EVERYTHING! Oh, and there was the fact that I wanted to feel less sluggish, more energetic, happy and relaxed…which I did and it felt AMAZING, but let’s not tell a lie here. Vanity played a large part.

How things have changed!

My Little Mister is four weeks and six days old today! I honestly feel like I’ve known him forever! I’m tired as hell, but we are lucky to have a good little sleeper by newborn standards (so far…) so I’m not really complaining! I might even be able to send the nanny home soon. Bahaha. Nanny. As if!

I’m starting to get out and about more as my body recovers from the birth and my confidence slowly builds (it was hard letting my husband do almost everything except breastfeed for the first couple of weeks – I felt a bit inadequate). Just little steps, like a trip to meet a friend for coffee, trips to our parents’ places and the dreaded supermarket run – those sorts of things. I thought I should take a break from the catwalk and my many obligations as an international beauty superstar – you know how it is. I’m probably pushing myself a tiny bit hard for someone who’s had a C-section (I have to lift the pram in and out of the car when I’m by myself and it’s awkward getting the little guy in and out of his car seat or bathing him), but I feel a lot stronger than I felt for months, as my pregnancy was pretty tough on my body!

I look in the mirror and today and I see stretch marks all around my middle. They’re a purply colour – quite dark, but sloooowwly fading. I probably could have minimised or prevented them if I’d not had my rash (which led to very sensitive skin and inability to use most good products for it), but then again maybe not. I was pretty far stretched due to a moderately sized baby, my small body frame and what was apparently a lot of amniotic fluid (which was exclaimed loudly by the obstetrician as he kindly broke my waters – the most painful part of labour I swear)! I see silvery/bluish (but luckily sparse) stretch marks creeping down my inner thighs (I was so swollen late in my pregnancy with fluid that it’s not surprising). I see pock mark like scars down my whole left leg and on the upper thigh of my right leg. They are dark and purplish against my naturally olive skin.

To add to the indignity, my chin is covered in adolescent like pimples (which are starting to scar). Must be the hormones from breastfeeding. They’re starting to spread a little down my neck (oh joy!). My chest has faded scarring all over it from the first pregnancy rash I had at 20 weeks pregnant, with some new zits to complete the look. While my skin feels better in that area (less lumpy and less blocked pores), it still stands out to me when I wear summer clothing and I daren’t wear anything that might show off my otherwise attractive cleavage (one benefit of breastfeeding for a normally smaller busted gal like myself)!

I find myself staring wistfully at all the “normal” people I see out and about, with their clear skin. Those lucky lucky people.

My belly has shrunk a lot but there’s a floppy fold under my belly button (might have to stop posing in bikinis for men’s magazines for a while *snort*). Under clothing it looks a bit pot-bellyish. The muscles in my belly need to be toned up again and I suppose my skin needs to try to shrink back after it was so stretched to accommodate the Little Mister.

My hair has a nice cut to it, but it’s losing that super awesome volume it had while I was pregnant. My fringe needs a trim and is a little hard to control. I suppose I’ll somehow fit in a hair appointment closer to Christmas – silly me, sending my imaginary personal beauty team on holidays!

I look at some of the cute summer dresses online or at the shops that would look amazing on me in my new (old) body, but often the hemline is a bit too short – don’t want those scarred legs with the stretch marks on show! It kind of takes the class out of a cute look that I could otherwise pull off quite well.

BUT…

You know what? Enough of my bad jokes (Miranda Kerr might be getting a little bit annoyed as she reads this whilst breastfeeding baby Flynn, doing a pilates workout, eating a gourmet healthy brunch and making out with Orlando Bloom at the same time). The flaws I’ve just described don’t bother me quite as much as I thought they might. Sure, they can make me scramble about in my wardrobe feeling a bit frustrated (no different to how I behaved before and during my pregnancy – just for different reasons), but when I look in the mirror I see the good things (without even having to try)! Some days I even forget about the marks all over my body! For the first time, my eyes are drawn to my better features instead of honing in on the bad stuff! I know! Miracles do happen!!

I see my small waist. It looks so trim and it’s fantastic in an empire line dress! I see a shrinking (if a little flawed) belly. I feel blessed that I am already at my pre-pregnancy weight and getting a tiny bit smaller each day – without dieting (it will catch up with me soon but I’m just savouring these moments before I am able to exercise the way I want)!

I see slim upper arms that look cute in sleeveless summer tops. I love that I get a built in work out for my arms from lifting the baby all the time.

My thighs and calves (although in need of toning) look slimmer than they have in a long time! I’m almost five weeks out from giving birth and I can’t believe my luck. So many new mothers would be grateful to get so close to their original shape this fast, with no ability to do proper exercise while pregnant (due to illness), as well as having a C-section, and I don’t say that smugly. I say it with the utmost gratitude and disbelief. When I look at my legs, I don’t just see the pock marks from scratching my pregnancy rash in my sleep (OK and sometimes when I was awake and couldn’t control myself). I choose to see the way the rash has disappeared between them. I see how clear those pockets of skin are. And I am grateful. I might have a battered, scarred body but all of that will fade over time. I’ve been through a hell of a lot and just to be able to move my body with ease, to have no pelvic pain and to get in and out of a bed without taking half an hour is just amazing. I love being able to get to my baby when he’s crying, without struggling and feeling bad about it (like I did for the first two weeks). My skin is rarely itchy (and when it is it’s only due to stress or because it’s healing) and I can eat what I like (provided my 6 week check up tells me my diabetes has officially gone – please for the love of Huey let it be gone).

I never dreamed that I would feel so good again and a few sh*tload of marks and battle wounds mean very little when I put things in perspective. They just mean that my body did something amazing. They remind me how strong I had to be.

I guess the point I’m making in this post is for us to just love our bodies for what they do for us. When you put everything in perspective, our cosmetic scars and superficial flaws are not really all that bad. They describe a journey we’ve been through and show us that we’ve survived.

Of course I’m more  human than supermodel (hello – have you met me?!) and there are moments I feel a bit disappointed that I can’t wear just any damn thing I like (seems unfair suddenly losing a bunch of weight but not being able to show off your new shape properly), but on the whole I see things really differently now. I’m no Miranda Kerr on the outside, but damn if I don’t feel just as good about myself on the inside!

What do you love about your body?

 

Disclaimer: I know I use Miranda Kerr as a supermodel stereotype in this post, but I actually do have a girl crush on her. She’s just so hot and down to earth at the same time. I’ve tried to hate her, but I just can’t. Damn MILF!