I have never much liked my body to be honest. Even as a child, I hated my tummy and thought I was fat, a belief perpetuated by bullies at school. The reality was that at 18, I was a slim size 8 but I did not see that at the time.
I remember seeing another woman’s tummy area and realising that it was not much different to mine. I was about 20 at the time and it was such a realisation. Could it be that I was actually quite normal?
If I was ordinary, where did my ideas of female perfection come from?
When I was pregnant, I prayed to see that little bump that would prove there was a child in said tummy. How I used to stare in the bath waiting for that evidence that I was to be a mum soon. The bump appeared and then the angry purple mark that was a forerunner of all the stretch marks to come.
Motherhood and my laziness about post-natal exercises have left me with a body that I am not 100 per cent happy with. Over the years, I have so wanted to be a babe however shallow that sounds. It probably applied at some point but I was so busy putting myself down that I missed it completely.
I listen to mums say that stretch marks are like trophies proving they are mothers to lovely children. I wish I was so refined in my thinking and sometimes I very almost buy into it but not quite. My tummy is an embarrassment to me along with other areas such as my upper arms.
Then there are the bits that I have struggled with over the years that men have ended up raving about. Who knew that a big bottom could be attractive? Apparently I have feminine wrists whatever that means? The boobs apparently pass muster although I do wish they would stop paying visits to my knees.
So at 43 years old, how do I feel about my body and how on earth did I end up posting a naked avatar of myself and getting naked on my blog?
Well, I love women and I want them to believe in themselves more which is why I set up the blog hop that is Groovy Mums.
I started blogging in 2009 and people really engaged with what I had to say and share. However, I did not post a picture of myself and honestly believed that people would stop reading my blog when they saw me. That is so ridiculous but it was my absolute belief at the time.
I posted a picture and my blog lived to tell the tale. Then Lorraine on morning television launched an appeal for a naked beauty. I wanted some mums to enter to celebrate who they are and thought if I did it myself, others might. So my Dad took the photo of me (only head and shoulders you understand) and I sent it to Lorraine. Then I emailed it to my husband whose work blocked it. Of course, I did not realise that so thought he was just rejecting me and my efforts. In one of my strops, I decided to put the photo on my blog and to use it as my Twitter avatar. Suddenly I became known as the naked blogger.
And you know, this was quite liberating. Other mums smiled with me and thought I was brave. I realised that I can only be what I am and that the body reflects a life lived. You only have to read a few parent blogs to recognise that a healthy life is something to be valued very highly indeed.
So I am no babe and may have to give up such daft ideas. However, I am me, I am OK and many people value me. This body, whatever I think of it, will take me to the next adventure. Perhaps it is time to make peace and work with it.
About Love Mum-Body
This month on story of mum, we’re sharing photos of how our bodies have changed since we became mums and grandmums. You can photograph your actual body, or you can shape your body in plasticine. We don’t mind how you share it, as long as you do your very best to love it.
For some more inspiration, check out the guest posts we’ve had so far: