I am a woman. Therefore I hate my body.
Yes, that was a massive generalisation.
But in all honesty, my body is not my best friend, and that is courtesy of eating everything that is bad for a person and a pregnancy. A pregnancy that scarred me for life. A pregnancy that has left me with a tyre around my midriff that I have been unable (thus far) to lessen, let alone get rid of.
So I no longer wear bikini’s, or figure hugging tops, and I most definitely no longer wear tops that sit so that a little bit of your tummy flesh is exposed. Also thanks to my pregnancy, I battle with pants sitting correctly on my hips, so 90% of my pants, I wear at waist height. Given that I am from a generation where nearly everything was worn on your hips, that is what I am accustomed to. This waist high thing doesn’t sit well with me. Also thanks to my pregnancy, I have to wear a belt with my pants now, as I no longer have an ass to help hold up my pants. I think that my ass fat travelled up into my tummy area, as it certainly didn’t travel up to my boobs.
Growing up, I was always skinny. Like almost skeletal skinny. My Grade 7 picture (taken in 1998, I was 12) I don’t recognise myself. I think that I was actually a little too skinny. But towards the end of 1998, Mother Nature decided to make me a woman. And that’s when I got my curves. Looking back now, I see that I had quite a tight little figure in high school. Yeah I wasn’t skinny skinny, but I could pull off a pair of hot pants, curves and all. My tummy wasn’t washboard flat, but it was flat-ish, with a bit of cushioning. I’ve always loved my calves (12 years of ballet helped with that) and I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my thighs. My thighs have pretty much always had a very close relationship with one another, but they were relatively well defined and toned.
I still have my curves. But they’re kind of in the wrong places.
I battle to find clothes that flatter my current figure, or that fit comfortably. I live in jeans but none of my jeans fit me 100%. That’s mostly due to my flat ass, but also because of the tyre around my middle that I sigh at almost every morning. If I make my belt too tight, I get a muffin top. I hate muffin top. If I make my belt too loose, I look like one of those gangsta wannabes with a whole bunch of air between my jeans and my ass.
But the part of my body that I really, really, REALLY hate? Yes, I said hate.
And it’s not because of the extra curves that I now have that have extended their vacation for 4.5 years now, it’s because of the stretch marks. My c-section scar is almost invisible; I actually battle to find it. But the stretch marks that rise up from my lady bits to 10cm below my bust, and go from hip to hip? They are a constant reminder of how un-pretty I feel, of how un-sexy I feel. If I could be intimate with the husband with my shirt ON, I swear that I would.
It’s such a conflicting feeling, when I look down at my tummy. My tummy is where I nourished my daughter for 8.5 months, where I felt her every movement, her every kick, her every hiccup. My tummy is where a part of my husband and I grew. But I hate my tummy now. And it’s so awful, because I’m supposed to be teaching my daughter about body confidence, and that she is beautiful no matter what, but how can I do that, because I would be contradicting what I teach her. And that is because I HATE a part of my body. My daughter knows that she came from my tummy, and she often says to me that she wants to go back in, and then she wobbles my tummy with her hands, and tells me how fat my tummy is. And I laugh and smile, because she’s only 4.5 years old, but inside I feel like someone has punched me in the lungs, and that I can’t get another breath.
So many people have posted pictures of ladies with stretch marks on their tummies, holding their child/children, with words along the lines of “you’re a tiger who’s earned her stripes”. I don’t feel that way at all. I am stuck with a constant reminder that my body is forever changed. I didn’t ask for the stretch marks; I had absolutely no control over their assault on my body. And it was an assault. I had no warning, they just appeared. I was helpless, watching them day by day take-over my tummy until there was no skin left for them to damage. My best friend did a photo shoot for me when I was about 6 months pregnant, and I didn’t even look at the original photos. I only ever saw the photoshopped ones, because I couldn’t bring myself to look at my damaged body.
I’ve titled this post “i’ve decided to be brave” because that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do. It started with this post, but I do have something planned, inspired by recent posts that I’ve read in various magazines and from other bloggers, and hopefully the finished product will help me deal with my changed body a little better than how I deal with it now.
Watch this space.