My body confidence

This post was originally posted here as a guest blog for the lovely Ellie at Having A Baby And Living At Home.

As a teacher of teenagers I have to be confident and secure in myself as at any time, a student can make a comment that would send some people’s self-esteem crashing. I have to be able to support them through their own self confidence issues and guide them as they find their way through the twisting roads of their teens.

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Pre-Sprog I never had any real trouble with my confidence. My weight has never been particularly stable; in University I put on a few stone, lost it and then spent my life trying to balance and maintain a ‘sensible’ weight for me. That was never a ‘sensible’ weight according to the charts, I’m 5’ 8” and was somewhere between 11 and 11 ½ stone (most of the time). I was confident, a happy hour-glass figure with tremendous boobs! We should all appreciate our best features!

Shortly before we decided to try and make a baby, we got married. I was at my most slim in a long time. I was buying clothes in a size 10, even more impressive when my boobs are taken into account. I was so happy in myself and barely flinched when I saw my cheesy grin in photos.

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Then in the first few months of pregnancy, I really struggled. It’s a hard reality in a world that promotes healthy eating and exercise meaning a healthy figure, that whilst doing this and having spent the previous 7 years of my life acutely aware of what was entering into my body and how many calories I was burning, I was doing these things but gaining weight. The stage before it became a clear baby bump was mentally challenging for me. The little podgy bit of tummy getting squishier and growing out of normal trousers even before my 12 week scan. I had to stop weighing myself and comparing to the ‘normal’ as my app told me that I was putting on more weight each week than was ‘normal’. At one point, a midwife even suggested that I was lying to her when I said that I wasn’t overeating excessively as I was gaining more weight than I was meant to. She tried to get me to go weight management classes. Unfortunately for her, my hormones and my workaholic lifestyle meant that there was no way that I was going to take two hours out of work every Friday to be told I was too fat when I was pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I was enormous and to a very uncomfortable point but I knew that I had not put on excessive amounts of weight that was not baby related; my face was not too round, the kids at school said that before they knew for definite, when they only suspected, it was because it was just my tummy that was growing!

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Spot the heavily pregnant banana! 3 days before Sprog arrived

Since having Sprog, I have been through a rollercoaster of emotions regarding my weight. It’s been really testing. I thought I was tougher but I’m not. I thought that because I’d lost weight before it would be easy. It’s not. And then to finish it off for me, I had a weekend of bridesmaid dress shopping to look forward. With 3 other bridesmaids who are all smaller than me!

This weekend had been filling me with dread and anxiety. Having to shop, for nice dresses (not just a marginally baggy t-shirt to pull on – my Mama uniform), in places with great big mirrors which show everything as it actually is (not the figure I think I have). I have been struggling with buying ‘normal’ high street clothes as it is as nothing caters for me and my figure at the moment, I’m not hugely overweight (I managed to hit pre-Sprog weight at the start of the summer) but I do have this funny blobby stomach now. It was never flat before, but now it’s like I’m more apple shape then hour-glass, and I don’t know how to dress that so I’ve avoided clothes shopping as much as possible for the last year.

I let my anxiety eat me up and I was so nervous about the dresses. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I was able to fit into the majority of the size 12’s offered by various bridal shops. It’s safe to show this picture as it was not the winning dress!

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One of the other bridesmaids said something over the weekend that struck a chord. “Life’s too short” and it changed the meaning of that for me. I had begun to think that life was too short for worrying about being a bit too podgy, a bit too round, or not entirely comfortable in myself. But actually life is too short to plod along being unhappy with how I look and feel. The kids at school will never know the different in my body confidence, us teachers are good actors, but I know the difference and I used to enjoy clothes.

So I’m setting myself 2 aims. To suck it up and stop believing that’s its ok to be a bit unhappy, and to stop eating chocolate!! I have to learn to accept that my shape is different now, that’s not a bad thing; there are still clothes that flatter me and I just have to learn to hunt down and shop for those clothes that do make me feel good – and remember that even in bridal sizes (smaller than high street!) I made it into size 12’s.

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24 thoughts on “My body confidence

  1. My confidence has totally gone since I’ve had little J. I lose a 1lb one week and gain 2lb the next. It’s driving me crazy and I too am unhappy. Only I can change it and I know what I need to do, it’s just getting that kicky up the bum to get me motivated.

  2. Oh I relate to the whole body image thing after having children. It is really hard sometimes to accept changes to your body. My daughter was questioning my about my tummy the other day and I had to be really positive for her when all I really wanted to do is cry! You look gorgeous in that photo though, the dress is really flattering.

  3. It’s something I never thought I’d have to deal with when getting pregnant with Z. You kind of just think of a nice near bump don’t you? My whole body shape changed afterward and only almost 4 years on I’m going to finally get rid of all my pre-pregnancy clothes! I’m kinda getting there. Slowly. You look gorgeous btw in that dress 🙂

  4. It’s hard sometimes isn’t it to be the voice of reason to yourself, and to remember that a) you are more than you see in the mirror and b) if you’re not happy, you can change it! I personally think that life is too short to be unhappy, but that a little treat every now and then is important, otherwise you yearn for it even more! You may like to check out my weekly yoga series, I’ve done nothing but yoga since having my babies! Thanks so much for linking to #AllAboutYou (ps – do add our badge or a link back to the site if you would ever like us to tweet your post out) xx

    • I have thought about doing yoga or pilates but I honestly just don’t have time and I hate to be making that excuse but I am already so stretched to get all my work and mama stuff done that I don’t get any time for me to just chill out, you never know – one day!

  5. Happens to the best of us! But you know what you’ll get there! When you’re ready 🙂

    You look perfectly lovely to me but it’s how we feel inside that counts so if you need to make the changes and loose a little weight then go for it, but don’t forget to love yourself as you are now too. 🙂 X

    P.S I wrote a piece on body image after pregnancy yonks ago which you may find interesting / helpful:

    http://www.poutinginheels.com/secrets-how-i-feel-about-my-post-pregnancy-body/

  6. I think you look gorgeous and utterly stunning pregnant too, baby weight should and can takes time for the majority of women, been there myself and still want to lose more but we must be kinder to ourselves #allaboutyou

    • Thank you, in the end, I didn’t mind my shape and the look of being pregnant. I did not enjoy the weight I was lugging around and not being able to move properly!
      I’m glad it’s not like that any more but it’s hard shopping and dressing a body shape that you’re not used to and that you don’t really like

  7. Your body confidence really can take a knock during pregnancy and after baby, our bodies change so much it’s no surprise really! You look fab in that dress but I think its all about how you feel and that isn’t always easy to change. Best of luck with it and hope you have your body confidence back again soon! #allaboutyou

    • It’s finding the time to prepare food for work that always stops me. Or i’ll have a great lunch but the tiredness just wears at me and I opt for something from the canteen on top of my other lunch too – never a good choice – but it keeps me going – must get back to it!

  8. First things first, you and your wedding dress look absolutely stunning. But I do feel your pain, although I have never had a little bubba I have had issues with my body confidence. However in about the last year or so I have decided to look at being healthy rather than how skinny I am, being healthy has made me feel more confident as it has not just helped my body shape but with my skin, hair and just feeling more alive!
    I have also realised that we are all different body shapes and as long as you are healthy it doesn’t matter which one you are because you will always find clothes to suit.
    Thanks for the post it was a great read and good luck with sucking it up and keep the confidence coming
    #Allaboutyou

  9. You look wonderful! I know we are our own worst critics though. I gained close to 50 lbs. with each of my girls (sorry, I don’t know what that is in stones! ha!). With my first, it took almost nine months to get back to a “normal” weight and with my second, I lost most of the weight in about two weeks! I have no idea why they were so different. My body looks different now, but that’s okay. It’s a beautiful thing God designed and that brought two sweet children into the world. You are beautiful!
    #allaboutyou

  10. I think you look great, but I know it is how we feel about ourselves that matters. I totally hear you, I put on 4 stone while pregnant and have a terrible body image. Good luck with your journey to feeling better about yourself x #AllAboutYou

  11. I can really relate to this! Everything is slightly different and you sort of have to get used to it, even when I have lost weight (and then put it back on because it’s so much easier now!!), my body was different. So it all about learning to love the new you – it’s not bad, it’s just different! “we don’t have flaws, we have features” 😉
    Thanks for linking in to #AllAboutYou

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