I remember the days, not that long ago, when I would ask myself "why would you wear a one piece bathing suit? I mean, how the hell do you tan your tummy?!" The irony is that, currently (6 months postpartum, baby no: 2), I wouldn't dream of wearing a bikini, I let my tummy remain 'untanned' and I ponder the changes in perception towards women and bodies who have carried and birthed children.
The distinction between the internal perception 'I am uncomfortable in my new shape and skin' and the external 'Will other people judge my figure' or simply a combination of the two is very present and learning how to celebrate 'war wounds' and 'newly establishes curves, bumps and scars' revelling in their beauty without it being anarchic statement is a real art to discover. It reminds me of the assumed love a mother is expected to have for her newly born babe; to some may come naturally and easily, but to others is one of the most confronting challenges she will ever face and takes time to learn to love and accept.
I admire all those who do wear a bikini by the way - the mums with the dreamy postpartum body that bounced back a week after pushing that watermelon out and who's boobs stayed all perky and fresh, those who clearly have worked SUPER hard to get themselves to a place that they feel really proud of their bodies and 'getting it back' and the other women who silently empowered exhibit their battle scars, blubber and saggy boobies and are just so so mesmerising for doing so because they radiate a deep inner 'Mother Earth' beauty that radiates from their souls and says 'I am changed and that's ok, I am embracing who I am now'.
The body image conversation is a really interesting one as it's by no means new and every now and again gets confronted by a few articles of those wishing to backlash against societies messages to women. A sort of silent protest, an anarchic statement towards the social media news feeds that create misleading and detrimental messages of motherhood and body image to fragile postpartum women desperate to gain some control or sanity in their lives during one of the most transformational and confronting periods in their lives.
Here are a coupe of beautifully empowering examples featured in the Huffington Post that I really like:
The cult of the Insta 'perfect-fu*&ing-mother-blogs' (as I call them) and articles about how you can be like the Duchess of Cambridge or Kim Kardashian and loose your baby weight in 6 weeks just feed a rather dark and ungrounded perception of women, their bodies as well as motherhood in general. No one looks deeper to unearth the rest of the story - the disclaimer underneath every Instagram image that should say something like"
"this was the 10th attempt I took to take this perfect photo as I had to keep reapplying my make up to cover up the dark circles" or "Please note, the Duchess of Cambridge & Kim Kardashian has the following: a nanny, a night nurse, a cook, a housekeeper, a gardener, a hairstylist and a personal trainer".
So, with all of the above in mind, I was recently really inspired by this video from NOWNESS, it is the raw confronting side of motherhood, facing sexuality as well as the physical body, how it changes after birth and and I feel like it's one of those few positive silent beautiful statements to all the women, and men in the world to really connect back to what it means to have a child and the beauty that comes with it both spiritually as well as physically. This short film explores the process women go through and the many areas we transform and evolve through on our journey of motherhood; self of love, self acceptance, sexuality, how we perceive ourselves and how the world sees us in our new domains, it's beautifully shot with a lovely narrative, short and to the point and well worth a peek.
For a full interview with the creator of 'Redefining the Mother Figure' Director and NOWNESS check out:
To 'love yourself' after such a transformational experience is such a personal journey, and the above the touches the surface on the many facets of the many discussions that surround it. I won't sugar coat it, I can't, motherhood changes you, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, it's not good or bad, for the better or worse, it's just different, everything is different, it's a matrix you enter without even realising you took the darn pill and there comes a moment when you realise you can fight it, this is the new status quo, this is your new tummy, these are your new boobs and this is your new life and a new journey through a new reality, in a one piece or a bikini, one suit, either or neither! ;)
I am humbled and consider myself stupidly blessed; my husband tells me all the time how gorgeous I look and to be so proud of my battle scars as they tell the story of our lives and what we created. he says stuff like: "Yes, LIFE, you have created life, you didn't buy it, tag it, share it or post it. You MADE IT." He encourages me all the time to wear my bikini with pride, I'm getting closer, it's in the drawer, I am starting to take it out and try it on every now and again ;)