Body image after baby

For the vast majority of my life I have struggled with body image issues.I despised my body and the way it looked at times and felt disgusted when I looked in the mirror.

Before I got pregnant I was in the best state of mind I had ever been in regarding my body. I was confident, comfortable and happy with how I looked, my body no longer felt like my enemy but I embraced it.

When I was pregnant, at first I wasn’t bothered with how I looked. I didn’t even begin showing until around 16 weeks and I carried so small and neatly that many people were shocked that I was having twins. I went on holiday to Italy and I confidently strutted my stuff in my bikini, yes I probably looked a little further a long than I was but other than that I felt pretty good! However, one thing that made me less confident whilst pregnant was the fact that I couldn’t wear stylish clothes and I felt like I constantly looked like a sack of potatoes.

As I got further along with my pregnancy I began to grow larger and larger and felt more and more unhappy in my body. My stomach stretched massively and was covered in stretch marks – by 30 weeks I was the size of a full term pregnant woman and I only got bigger and bigger. I began to pack the pounds on and retain so much water; everything from my legs, arms, face to my lips were completely swollen! By the end of my pregnancy I could barely  move and I felt so grossed out by my body! I couldn’t even fit in to maternity clothes anymore!

When the girls were first born, I felt shocked at how little my body changed. From the cesarean/ IV etc. I was completely swollen and I could not fit in to any of the clothes I’d brought with me. Josh had to go out and get me size 18 clothes to wear. I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin (which was incredibly loose) and I didn’t want any photos to be taken!

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Josh took this photo of me 1 week postpartum. It was the first time I felt comfortable enough for a photo to be taken. Just look at my swollen feet!

I am now six months postpartum. My body should now be fully recovered yet it looks nothing like I thought it would. I guess I knew I wouldn’t look exactly the same but this wasn’t really what I was expecting.

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I am now below the weight I was before I was pregnant – thanks to breastfeeding! Feeding one baby burns 500 calories a day so its more than likely that breastfeeding twins burns 1000! I don’t get out much to do exercise, except for a few speed walks with the pram and the 100s of times a day I run up and down the stairs to put dummies back in etc.! So lets just say my body is not exactly toned. My body looks pretty normal now, thankfully I am back in to my pre-pregnancy clothes – I was grateful for this fact because I couldn’t afford to buy a whole new wardrobe! My stomach, however, is my biggest bug bear. It carried to fairly large babies and stretched beyond belief – lets be honest a woman’s body is designed to carry one baby, not two! My belly now has loose skin, stretch marks and yes a bit of fat on there too! I prefer to keep my stomach covered – so I decided to bare it for the world to see. My body isn’t magazine perfection but it has done something incredible that many people would never be able to do.

If I’m honest, I still struggle with my body. I’d desperately like to feel confident and awesome in myself but I’m not there yet. Some days I look in the mirror and feel proud of what I see, other days I feel a bit grossed out! I am a bridesmaid twice this year and of course that in itself brings trepidation – people looking at you etc! Although I’m sure the brides will be much more interesting. But when you are wearing the same dress as other women you can’t help but feel like you will be compared!

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I guess having a baby, especially two at once changes your body. Of course it will, you have grown human beings inside you. I was three people at once, now I’m back to being one. My body isn’t what it was before, and it never will be again… but I have to accept that. I am me, my body is beautiful. A few months a go, someone on the telly said “having a baby ruins your body” and Josh turned to me and said “I don’t think that is true, your body isn’t ruined!” and that made me stop and think. My body isn’t ruined. My body isn’t something to be upset by, it should be celebrated. I may not be there just yet but one day I  hope I will be!

 

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I hope you enjoyed this post.

Kate-Sig-1

Food, glorious food…

So, today I was out jogging and I came to a realisation… for once in my life I am not excercising because I want to lose weight or because I feel insecure in myself… I’m actually exercising because it makes me feel good… and makes me feel healthier in body, mind and soul!

I can still remember the first time I felt like I had fat legs. Up until this point, I had always been told by my mum that my thighs were “shapely and womanly” and this body positivity had got me through until I was around thirteen years old. I was sitting at a youth group one night, when a boy looked at me and said… “your thighs are pretty enormous aren’t they?!”… this is where the thigh-hate began. That moment has stuck with me ever since, one off-the-cuff comment from an immature teenage boy undid thirteen years of compliments from my mum to help me avoid loathing the dreaded “Trevelyan thigh”.

The picture at the bottom of the blog is me around nine years old, as you can see.. I’m wearing a bikini and I have fat rolls. I can remember even from this age hating myself and hating my body… my friends were pretty much all skinny and I was the token chubby one in the group. You can read about my issues with self-esteem here.

From pretty young, my low self confidence and hatred for my body caused me to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. I developed what I now know was the eating disorder Binge Eating Disorder (read about it in the link). I was never diagnosed by a doctor or anything, in fact B.E.D is commonly left undiagnosed because many people are uninformed about it as a disorder, but looking back I ticked all the boxes. I never thought about the fact I had an eating disorder because I thought that typically eating disorders made you thin, and mine was doing the opposite.

My insecurity and depression created a void in me so deep that I began to feel a compulsion to fill it with food. I would come home after school and slather chocolate spread over slice after slice of toast. I shoved biscuits in my blazer pockets and ran upstairs, I ate whole ‘sharing pouches’ of chocolate in one hit and shovelled tablespoon after tablespoon of sugar on to my cereal every morning, I could not control it. It was an obsession, an addiction. I would often get myself in to a fervent state whilst on a binge, where I was in a daze and afterwards it would feel like I was on a come down from some sort of drug. I was never satisfied. It was like an unquenchable thirst. It even drove me to steal money regularly from my mum’s purse to fund my addiction or buy chewing gum which was the only thing that could stave off my desire for food for a while.

Nobody knew about my habits for a long time – or at least I never expressly told them, I know my mum noticed how rapidly we were getting through jars of nutella. I didn’t understand what I was going through, I thought it was dirty, shameful… I was just greedy and gluttonous. I would often starve myself of food to try and make up for the binge of the previous day but then I would succumb to the desire and binge again once I got home from school.

Eventually, breakthrough came… once I admitted my problem to someone who didn’t judge me and just listened, a weight was lifted. And after a lot of prayer and counselling I began to feel my obsession with food begin to fade away… it wasn’t an instant healing.. it continued over time and a constant renewing of the mind.

I stand before you now totally free from my eating disorder (it still feels weird to call it that!). I have been “clean” for years now, but the shame and stigma has caused me to keep it a secret for too long. I want to stand up and fight this with others who are going through the same thing – so if you are please don’t be in it alone. I will stand with you in prayer and support.

I love food, I always will. I enjoy cooking and baking, in fact I have scoffed almost half an easter egg this evening. But I know now, even if I have the odd binge on junk, I am not under the same power I once was. I am free.

I wish I could tell the little girl in the photo then, what I know now…that she is not less of a woman or less beautiful because she is a little chubbier than her friends. My prayer is that children today will grow up in a world where the hypocrisy of “the perfect body” is not shoved down their throats…where they learn about being healthy physically and mentally rather than learning to strive for a perfectly toned tummy. I have never felt so confident, healthy and happy in myself as I do now because I have accepted who I am & celebrate the way MY body is! Made in the image of my creator.

I’ve also decided to share a picture of me in a bikini last summer on the beach, I hope nobody finds it too immodest! I felt like sharing this photo would overcome a huge barrier for me!

Phew! My last few blogs have been very serious – I will endeavour to post something very lighthearted next!!

Much love.x

me bikinipaddling pool