Recently I read a BBC article entitled "Are Women's Bodies Still Beautiful After Pregnancy?"; I wanted to scream at the title. Of course they are,. A women has just gone through the process of nurturing and giving birth to a baby.
I must admit that prior to having children, I struggled to love my body, I would not say I hated it, there were just parts that I was not happy with. In my late teens I actually considered having plastic surgery, but fortunately I didn't have the money. Looking back, I think I would have been too scared to actually go under the surgeon's knife!
I feel a lot better about myself now, although I would like to be taller as I am only 5ft 4" and feel that I am shrinking! I would like bigger breasts; they did not even grow during pregnancy, except for when my milk came in and I was like Jordan!
I was very fortunate with my pregnancy with Ruby, I did not get any stretch marks and bounced back very quickly to pre-pregnancy weight without trying at all; this could be because I have a very fast metabolism and was already slightly underweight before pregnancy. Not to mention that I couldn't really eat much when I was pregnant because of the hyperemesis - my bump was all baby!
After Lottie was born, my experience was much the same as first time round, although I do now have stretch marks on my bottom and on the tops of my legs. But am I bothered? No I am not; I am proud of them, they are part of my journey through pregnancy and they do not bother me in the slightest. I am proud of them as they show I am a mummy.
I was overwhelmed with my achievement of giving birth and decided that it would be a good idea to get some photos taken of my daughter when she was a newborn. Fortunately at the time, a photographer was offering a package where you had four photo shoots taken over the course of a year.
I went to the photo shoot feeling not too sure if I would be able to do a skin to skin shoot, and to this day I still don't really know how I managed to bare all; I must have been still living off the hormones of giving birth as I went topless and stripped my daughter off for a skin to skin photo shoot. I was a little scared and concerned about being on show, but the photographer was brilliant and helped me feel at ease; I also had my husband with me, who made sure I was decent too!
There was one embarrassing moment, just after the photographer had finished, when Ruby decided to poo on me! I don't think I need to say any more but it was not the most pleasant of experiences!
There is not really much I can say apart from every time I look at the picture (which has pride of place in my bedroom), I say WOW! I am so pleased I did it and there was no hesitation that when I had Lottie I would be bearing all again.
After Lottie's birth I seemed to lose the weight faster than I did before, and only days after giving birth I was in size 6 clothing. Everyone reading this probably thinks "wow, I would love to be that thin", but to be honest its horrible, I hate it; I would love to put on a stone or maybe two.
I am deemed underweight despite, eating large quantities of things like meringue with strawberries and cream and my all time favourite drink hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, but still I can not put weight on. I struggle to find clothes that fit me which I find so frustrating.
There could be a medical reason as to why I am struggling to gain weight; after nine months of constant sickness, my body does not know what to do when I eat, so it very quickly works it's way through my body. I need to somehow slow down my metabolism, but this is probably going to be a matter of time rather than anything I can do now. I have recently been diagnosed as having an under-active thyroid; looking at me you would think I had an over-active thyroid as most people who are under active, are normally on the large side; it seems I do not fit the norm.
To anyone who is considering having a skin to skin photo shoot, I would highly recommend it; I love looking at the photos that I taken of me and the girls, it really does help to boost my confidence. If you do not have the confidence or the money to go to a professional studio, why not get your partner or a friend to take some with you at home.
I asked some fellow mummy friends on Facebook what they thought of their body post pregnancy and to be honest I got a mixed response; but most would agree that they accept how their body has changed and if they could change it they would. Many are happy to accept the change as it comes hand in hand with having a child.
Ultimately it is down to each and every one of us as individuals to judge how comfortable we are with our bodies. We can either embrace the way our bodies have changed through the miracle of carrying a baby, or we can seek out ways to change them. Personally I am proud of the way I look now and would not change it for the world!
What do you think? Do you love your body? Are there parts you would change?
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Kimberley is in her late 20s and lives with her young family in Leicestershire. Kimberley enjoys voluntary work and is particularly passionate about raising awareness of women's issues; she is currently preparing to fulfill her dream of becoming a midwife.
Blogs at: Ruby + Lottie