There is nothing quite like pregnancy and childbirth to make you feel like your body doesn’t belong to you. It’s a strange idea, but a universally accepted one that the moment you are growing a baby inside you, you no longer make decisions based solely on what you want.
I happily embraced pregnancy and the way it changed my body. I must confess that in the final weeks of maternity leave, when my child decided to stay inside for an extended period, I took to baking cakes and then eating them, all, mostly by myself. Therefore by the time my Boo arrived my body was storing a few extra nutrients (and fat) in case of emergencies. Post birth however there were no emergencies!
I found that a certain amount of weight dropped off naturally and I refused to diet or worry about my weight initially, I had bigger problems to deal with, with screaming child, sleepless nights, baby groups etc. I had hoped that breastfeeding would assist the weight loss, but perhaps consuming 3 slices of cake a day was effecting that? I really just may never know the truth.
It was when my Boo quit breastfeeding (for the fourth or fifth time) for good that I felt like I was ready to reclaim my body. The First simple step toward this was to buy a good, well fitting underwire bra. Oh heaven! I had forgotten how supportive those wires could be as my bosom no longer hung down, nipples pointing to the ground and they were lifted up on high, exultant and brilliant once again*. In all serious though, it felt good to have the ladies back where they should be. The other joy of no longer breastfeeding was the luxury of not having to wear boob-accessible clothes, which for some reason are never as exciting as they sound!
A new problem came with this though, my old clothes were still too small and all pregnancy/maternity clothes were unflattering and, well, dowdy. I only had one option…I went shopping. Alone! It was a pretty exhilarating experience, until I realised my entire body shape had changed and I cried in TKMAXX. That was a difficult day. Thankfully I wondered into a Joules sale and everything in there seemed to flatter. So I basically just bought the shop (sale items only!).
Thus began the journey of re-self-discovery. A new bra and a new wardrobe. It sounds silly, but in fact it has been so significant in helping me feel like myself again. No longer restricted to clothes I can fit a bumpy tummy into, or a top I can flash a breast in. I have the freedom to choose designs, fit and colours that reflect me as a person rather than having to go with what is available to me shaped as a new-mum. Huzzah!!
*Description of breasts in bra may have been exaggerated for dramatic effect