If you’ve been anywhere near a mum blogger’s Instagram over the past few weeks you will have noticed a trend. Not the yellow dress from M&S, not flamingos, not even empowering slogan tees. No the trend that is filling all of our timelines is one that will hopefully be a bit more resilient than some fad – body positivity.
There are women out there who will tell you pregnancy is a beautiful time of blooming and happiness and that they loved every minute of it. I am here to tell you that these women are liars. Or even possibly robots. Pregnancy for me is a continuous flow of shitty problems; pain, vomit, fainting, and massive engorged breasts that look nothing like the perfectly pert models with their fake bumps on the ASOS maternity section. It’s shit and I hate it.
However, for most of us it is the simplest way to get our hands on a tiny squishy baby. So it’s something of a necessity.
The first three months were for me – like so many, many others – hell. Sickness, fainting, constipation, anxiety, zero sex drive, agonisingly painful breasts. This post is a combination of little things that might help others find it a bit easier and a chance to moan about it all to garner some sympathy. Which I think are both important and necessary.
(Note: yes, I’m going to moan about pregnancy in this post, because it’s hard. This doesn’t mean I don’t realise how lucky I am to be having a healthy pregnancy. It doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled to be having another baby. We are more than aware just how hashtag blessed we are, this doesn’t stop it being a crappy experience.)
Each body is different.
Each body is a map of where the owner has been. Routes taken. Shortcuts gone wrong.
Each body is a book. Chapter after chapter of tales of life.
My body is no different.
My body tells a story.
Of highs and lows.
Of ups and downs.
Of good and bad.
Of pleasure and pain.
Of life. In all its real, awful, hideous, beautiful forms.
Each inch a different chapter, marked and scarred and freckled with life.
2016 is the year of body confidence. Every other Buzzfeed post is celebrating bodies, no matter what shape or size and parenting blogs everywhere are giving thousands of words to the Amazonian power that giving birth to a child makes you feel. Stretch marks are tiger stripes. The loose skin on your stomach is just proof of what your body can do. Ruined boobs mean you gave your assets to feed your child. Flaws are no longer flaws, they’re something to celebrate and be proud of.
Except I can’t do that.
It’s been five years since I gave birth and I can’t look at the flaws on my body as something to be proud of. I look in the mirror and see a body that I don’t recognise, a body that I don’t want.