Usually my On This Day memory app on Facebook comes up with pleasant memories. Mostly photos or achievement statuses of my children. I’ve been using Facebook for my personal life for a long time. Since 2007 in fact. So there are a lot of memories. Today, a memory came up that wasn’t so happy. In fact it holds a lot of body-shaming against me, something I struggle a lot with, my body confidence, even today.
In fact it related to something I shared in my Self-Confidence post that I wrote late last year. If you read that post previously, then you would remember my reference to a photo of myself and Celine when she was 1 years old taken on New Year’s Day in 2009. One in which my Mother-in-Law commented under the photo referring to me as a “fat whale in a bikini” and how it was one of the many hits that contributed towards my lack of self-confidence.
My Struggle with Body Confidence
Part of having self-confidence is having body-confidence. I reached my final height at the age of 12 years old. From that age until I got pregnant with Celine I weighed in the range of 70 – 75 kgs depending on the time of the month. When I got pregnant with Celine at 23, I jumped from a slim NZ size 12-14 to a NZ size 16-18. There is a world of difference in those sizes. I didn’t plan on staying that size forever obviously but I was still breastfeeding Celine (I didn’t wean Celine until she was 15 months old) and I still hadn’t lost the weight from that pregnancy.
At the time of the photo, Celine was only just 1 years old. It was a happy, sunny New Years Day. Hubby and I had taken Celine to the beach and had a lovely time together. We took a few photos. I wore the bikini I had from pregnancy because we hadn’t bought anything new for me to wear. All our money went on providing for Celine. I had always worn bikinis and wasn’t concerned about covering up a flabby post-baby belly. I wasn’t concerned about how large or small I was. I had grown a baby and I knew pregnancy weight doesn’t just drop off the minute baby was born.
No body at the beach cared what I looked like or what I wore. All they saw was a happy family at the beach just like themselves. My hubby (he was my fiance at the time) didn’t care. We were just a family out for the day celebrating a sunny day at the beach like everyone else. Celine sure as heck didn’t care. Mummy’s tummy was soft and comfy.
But apparently my Mother-in-Law did care. She took offence to the photo of me in a bikini and sparked the comment that damaged the body-confidence part of my self-confidence with it. It wasn’t just that comment, you see. She also posted a big long offense on my facebook page dissing my choice of clothing and looks and attacking me in a more personal level about how my relationship with her son was damaging his friendships with everyone else (rather a silly accusation since hubby was the first of his friends to have children and one of the normal things that happen when you become a parent for the first time is that people without children tend to fade off and drop out of your lives.)
This is the memory that came up on my Facebook On This Day memory app. That offensive status. It wasn’t a pleasant one for me although it was just one of a long line of issues that she had of me at the time. We didn’t have an easy relationship. I wasn’t the Daughter-in-Law that she wanted and truthfully, I mostly probably still aren’t. But her attack of my on my Facebook wall really helped to set back my self-confidence and really damaged my body-confidence. It was still a long time before I actually got slim again (just in time to get pregnant with Blake).
I didn’t really focus on my weight until after my miscarriage (September 2010) when Celine was 2 years old. That miscarriage was another hit to my body-confidence. Was I too fat to carry a baby? Was there something wrong with my body that I would lose a child?
I fluctuated with my weight from then. Each pregnancy I would put on weight and straight afterwards I’d concentrate on losing it again straight away instead of focusing on feeding my baby and enjoying the baby stage like I did with Celine and much like I am now with Bella. It was frustrating in a way. I’d lose a pile of weight after each pregnancy and get pregnant again. It happened every time.
It was only in my pregnancy with Bella that I relearned to relax. I’d eat a mix of very healthy meals and enjoy some very unhealthy treats while I was at it. I stopped worrying about whether I was putting on too much weight ot eating too much of the wrong foods. I put on weight and became a similar size to what I was with Celine. But my body was also one of the healthiest it had been. With my pregnancies for Blake and Dani I had gestational diabetes despite the care I took to not put on too much weight. I never had that issue with Bella although we tested for it time and again to be sure.
I’m large. I know it. But I’m also happy. Bella’s birth was the easiest most natural birth I have ever had. My body knew what it was doing despite my size. It gave me a body-confidence boost that I never knew I needed until then. My body was strong. My body was capable. My body birthed a child without medical intervention for the first time EVER.
The Beginning of My Self-Acceptance
Bella’s birth gave me a recovery I didn’t expect. I grew to love my body again. I might be big again but I am feeding my baby. I am providing sustenance for my baby. I am allowing my body to recover in it’s own time. Every day a teeny tiny more size comes off. My clothes aren’t quite as tight as they were the day before. My flabby post-baby mummy apron tummy is just a teeny tiny smaller than it was the week before. I am happy with that.
Eventually, I will want to lose all the weight again. Hopefully this time for the last time. But for now, I love my body. The size I am now is because I housed 4 beautiful babies in me. 4 beautiful babies who are growing up fast into 4 beautiful healthy children. It’s taken me 7 years to reach this point of body-confidence and it will probably take me several years to become the size I will eventually want to be. For now, I am happy. For now, all I ask is to be healthy. For now, I love my body regardless of my size.
I have no idea if my Mother-in-Law reads my blog. If she does then this will probably be an awkward post for her to read considering our recent efforts to try to reestablish a connection between her and our family. But at the same time, this memory brought out something strong in me that I needed to let out. It is something I needed to get out.
It’s funny how a few little words can really damage someone’s self-confidence and body-confidence. I am not for everyone and I am OK with that. I am who I am. I won’t pretend to be someone I’m not to please someone else.