It’s been more than a year since I’ve blogged properly. But I’m back and so much has happened!
This summer, after my womb surgery last summer and being counselled for IVF even before the surgery had happened because my consultant felt things would not be straight forward for us, after 2-3 years of struggling with ghastly fibroids and going to sleep with a heart full of questions about the future I had envisaged for myself and my husband, after just a few weeks of “trying” and 38 problem free weeks of blissful pregnancy and 35 hours of labouring, I gave birth to a perfect baby boy. My heart has never been so full…
Still, coming in to motherhood has been a bit like losing myself and finding myself all over again. All the things that defined me (my work, my hobbies, the structure of my days, being in control of myself and my life, my appearance…) suddenly went on pause and new management came in to take over the running of my life in the form of a teensy squidge of a boy. No, I’m not sorry to lose or pause anything for this, but there is still some big adjusting to do on all of these fronts.
On the physical side of things my body has been on quite a ride! And it’s different now. It looks different, like a new creature I’m just meeting & that doesn’t seem familiar when I look in the mirror. It’s fuller in the hips (yay!), it’s chubby and hoarding fat around the middle (much less yay…), it bears shiny ‘go faster stripes’ (aka stretch marks) across the lower stomach and breasts and hips, it’s softer. It feels different – it’s weak, and stiff, it carries lots of tension from repetitive positions and movements (anyone else have a favourite breastfeeding spot they’ve sat in for hoooooours on end?), it aches sometimes in ways it never used to, it’s tired most of the time, it’s 17lb heavier.
As much as I’ve wanted to be kind to my body and patient with it all and accept a new normal for now, I can feel my self-image skewing. Yes it’s the physical changes, but it’s also being suddenly separated from a lot of the things that had brought healing over the years to my need to obsess about how parts of my body look- the pride of physical achievement as I’ve trained hard, admiration for the things I discovered my body could do, the thrill of constantly pushing my limits, the self-respect that comes from being disciplined and powerful to make changes in my own life, a strong sense of productivity, the general busyness of life that has taken up any time there was for obsessions….I don’t want to feel so preoccupied with how my body looks in what I’m wearing that I’m changing outfits 3 or 4 times every time I leave the house. Or be stuck in a rut, musing over all the things I can’t do. When I walk past a shop window and catch a glimpse of the new me I don’t want to feel sad. I don’t want to catch myself constantly myself nit picking, frustrated, and talking negatively to myself…And that is about so much more than how I actually look. This is about how I think.
So here I am, starting on a journey to learn how to honestly love and celebrate this new mama skin I’ve found myself in. For me I know those things will have to happen on purpose. You’ll see me using a new hasthtag to document this journey on my Instagram (#MyMamaSkin). And I’ll be moving my lifestyle posts from my personal Facebook page to a My Mama Skin page, because as great as my friends & family are, I ultimately want to be connecting with other mamas on journeys in new skins. Just like me.
There is nothing to be ashamed of in any of this (although at times I think I have felt ashamed). And there is nothing to hide (and I’ve done lots of that in so many different ways…). Every time I have opened up and talked about stuff, I discover so much of my experience is normal! Other mamas are feeling these things too. I’ve never been one to be overly quiet, seems no real need to start now! And my hope is that #MyMamaSkin will get some mamas talking back to me. If My Mama Skin connects even one mama with another mama who understands some of the things that are going on for them, wherever they are on their journey, then I’d be over the moon.
That’s all for now.
Over and out