08/06/2017 03:57 BST | Updated 08/06/2017 04:06 BST

Becoming A Mum Taught Me To Respect And Appreciate My Body No Matter What It Looks Like

mum bod

"You will struggle to conceive". These words from my GP haunted me for 10 years.

I was 14 when my mum first took me to the doctor for help with an eating disorder and it had never occurred to me that it could be damaging my fertility. That was the wake up call I needed, I knew having my own family was something I wanted in my future. The dream of becoming a mum was my recovery.

After a long time trying to conceive I discovered I had PCOS and also feared my previous problems had done permanent damage.

I was so relieved when I fell pregnant aged 24, and I was ecstatic it was twins!

Pregnancy gave me a large appetite and a new love for food. And with my growing bump people's comments quickly changed from 'congratulations' to, 'wow, look how big you are'.

That wasn't easy for me to hear.

I was happy with my curvier body for the first 6 months but I did struggle with the last trimester - my shape changed drastically and I barely recognized myself. I gained six stone in total going from 8.5 stone to 14.5 stone.

Looking back now, I wish I had loved my body the whole time, it was creating the greatest gift I could ever wish for. Once I had my gorgeous twins Leo and Penelope, all negative body image thoughts were a distant memory. It was becoming a mum that made me realize how phenomenal our bodies are. I found a new respect for myself and learnt the importance of good health.

I surprised myself with how comfortable I was with my new child bearing body - I felt no rush to lose the baby weight. I didn't exercise other than a daily walk with the twins and I made sure my food was healthy to give my body the fuel and energy I needed.

The first year flew by, I pretty much walked and pushed the weight off, and although I was content with my body on the outside, I wanted to strengthen my inner self so I began to exercise at home whilst the twins were napping. I researched some home workout tips online and began my fitness journey with short 20-minute routines. I started with simple toning exercises like sit ups and squats. It was great to have a little bit of me time but ultimately I wanted to be fitter and healthier than ever before for my children. I wanted to feel strong and have the energy to keep up with my growing toddlers. I also wanted to listen to some music instead of CBeebies!

Within a couple of days I noticed my new positive mindset - I didn't realize how much I had got lost in 'mum life', so from then on I committed to working out five days a week for 20-30 minutes (providing the twins were snoozing!). It wasn't long before the results were visible, I had abs and really toned legs, but for me that was secondary to how amazing I felt inside.

Before I knew it my twins were two and a half years old, they had stopped napping during the day and I was struggling to fit my workouts in at home. I felt like I had lost my daily therapy!

I noticed negative changes in my mood and energy levels so I joined a gym with a crèche. We went for an hour three times a week - it was great for the twins to make other friends and I couldn't wait to start exercising again. I was so excited to have a full hour in a proper gym. With the equipment and help from fitness instructors, I thought I'd be fitter than ever in no time, but a few months after joining I started to gain weight and I couldn't manage simple exercises - I was exhausted. I put it down to my gym being really social and I did spend most of the time chatting instead of exercising!

After months of feeling rubbish I went to my GP who suggested I take a pregnancy test...

It was positive! I couldn't believe my luck - appreciating my body more than ever, I was determined to enjoy my whole pregnancy this time around. I took photos of my growing bump from start to finish and even shared them on social media. Embracing my changing body made it a much better experience. I loved every minute and I really didn't care how big I got. I gained 4.5 stone in total. Holding my gorgeous new baby Felicity strengthened my thoughts on how amazing mums' bodies are.

Even though I've found it much more difficult to lose the weight this time, with three children under the age of four, I have to be realistic about what little free time I have and my children will always be my priority. Some kind of exercise will be part of my life again when I find time - not to look great but to feel great. A healthy me is a happy me.

I will always see pregnancy as somewhat of a miracle. The weight gain, cellulite and loose skin are all normal. The C-section scars, stretch marks and those bags under my eyes are a sign of motherhood.

Becoming a mum taught me to respect and appreciate my body no matter what it looks like. I'm so proud of what I have achieved, I'm loving my body more each day for giving me my three wonderful children. Becoming mum was becoming me.

HuffPost UK Parents is running a week-long focus on 'Mumbod' to empower mums and mums-to-be to feel confident about their bodies pre- and post-baby. We are launching a section on the site that focuses on all aspects of mums' bodies and highlights the amazing things they are capable of. We'd also love to hear your stories. To blog for Mumbod, email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com. To keep up to date with features, blogs and videos on the topic, follow the hashtag #MyMumbod.