09 Sep My body, the hand grenade
When I told people, I was expecting a baby – after the initial shock of it all – I started getting all sorts of stories of how incredible a journey motherhood is and all the things I had to look forward to. I revelled in the not giving a shit about what I was eating because I needed to fill my baby with nutrients. I would sit for hours on the sofa doing nothing but gazing at the wriggles against my skin as she moved around inside me. I didn’t have any friends that had gone on this journey as I was twenty-one when I fell pregnant with Skylar. Fat forward fourteen years later and one of my best friends is about to drop a baby. This is my first friend pregnancy. It has been a lonely journey for me not having any of my close circle experience motherhood yet. I made a few friends along the way but I struggled getting stuck in with all the playgroups and kids clubs because I am socially awkward, I’m not Mumsy and I have the worst resting bitch face.
The biggest thing that the older generation keep from you is the struggle with post baby body. They talk about the initial part of it but they do not explain that your body never doesn’t feel like yours for years maybe even forever.
Before I got pregnant, I didn’t really think much about my body I was a skinny little thing until puberty hit when I promptly turned into Blueberry Pie Violet Beauregarde but I gave no fucks. As soon as I had my child, I instantly hated my body. I didn’t recognise it. I would stand in the mirror naked and the person looking back was not me at all. I had a few stretch marks before but my hips had exploded with deep purple stripes. My Belly button piercing had ripped and left me with a wrinkly scar on my stomach and my caesarean scar was hideous. I had seen pictures of caesarean scars before and I can’t even begin to describe how much it repulsed me. My surgeon had decided to staple rather than stitch and I don’t know if he was in a bad mood or if he just disliked me for some reason but it looked like I had been butchered he had put the staples in at different angles in random spaces and it even ruptured a couple of days after I went home and had to be rushed up the hospital to have it re-stapled. When I had Sydney, my new surgeon told me he was going to cut the old scar away and although I would have more pain and recovery time it would mean I would have a neat scar. It goes across my entire bikini line and has made me self-conscious about an area I didn’t really give thought to.
It’s hard to explain how you feel, you just feel different. I completely lost my identity. I was a Mum now and I needed to act like a Mum. My alternative clothing of ripped jeans and offensive slogan tees were no longer allowed. I couldn’t wear a tee which had a swear word on it whilst walking with my children, what kind of mother would I be then? I needed to invest in bootcut jeans and sensible walking shoes and a lot of The North face. I had to buy what I dubbed a “Mummy coat” a windproof, waterproof coat to wear whilst I pushed the pram in the torrential rain, the days of holding an umbrella and a cigarette were long gone.
My absolute lowest ebb of baby body blues was when I was asked to “model” for my husband’s website. I say model very loosely because I ain’t no model. I hate having my picture taken I go all the awks. He told me he wanted it to look like Front Magazine vibes. He wanted fun, cool girls in their pants with balls flying around (of the foot variety not testicles). I went and we got to the studio in London and I was faced with a group of girls – one I knew who was very cool – and a guy. They were very cool too. They all oozed that London creatives vibe. They were hungover and you couldn’t tell. When I was hungover, I would have hair plastered to my face, be a certain shade of green and be wearing pyjamas. They outcooled me even in their hungover mess. They put on shorts and knee-high socks and they didn’t have a single blemish. They messed around with each other laughing and acting so natural in front of the camera and I have not felt more of a mum in my entire life. I had no idea how to model I got so self-conscious about everything. Even ridiculous things like I decide that my knees looked saggy and my feet looked bigger than the other girls. My arms were flabby, my hair was shit, they had lovely long thick hair and I had this stupid black bob with orange highlights in it from a hair colour experiment that went awry. I spent hours fighting back tears and when we finally got home from London, I sobbed my little ass off. I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted to be. They were so beautiful and effortlessly cool and had interesting creative jobs and I had all these aspirations to what I wanted to be and had no idea how to get there because I was a mum.
I would claw at my stretch marks and the flabby Mum Tum that was left and I was disgusted. So disgusted that I was depressed with my appearance that just made me eat chocolate and biscuits. I developed IBS because my diet was poor and the stress made it worse.
When the photos came through from the shoot, I hated every single one of them. One was okay. I looked at the ones of all the other girls and just envied them even more. They all photographed so well, they looked like they didn’t have a care in the world because they were young and free and I was a Mum.
That word, Mum, became a noose around my neck. Not because I didn’t want my kids but because I thought I couldn’t be me I could only be Mum.
I’m a highly sexual being and I even struggle with that part because I’m one ear on the kids all the time and my body isn’t mine. My sex vibe isn’t vanilla either so I questioned whether I could do the things I enjoy when I have birthed a human. Is it allowed? Can I be a sexual being one minute and then be cuddling my child the next? I am obsessed with boobs am I allowed to still be that person? The answer is a big fat YES.
I love my children more than anything but I also love me. That day was a catalyst in working on trying to accept myself. I focus on the things that are good like the fact that I have my family, my health is good and I am hilarious. I can wear my leather trousers with a mesh top so you can see (big shocker) MY BRA!!!!! I can still go to concerts and mosh. I can still go out and get shit faced. I can still dance around sexy if I want to. I can wear shorts that aren’t knee length.
I have finally managed to keep my kind and nurturing nature to an even field so I’m not Mumsy but I’m not closed off to the kids. I realised that I can wear whatever the fuck I want to because if I am comfortable and confident with what I have on then my children see that. They see me happy and nonchalant. I express myself and encourage them to do the same. Whenever we go clothes shopping, I tell them to look and choose what they like and then we try it on. It is their choice, their identity.
I talk to them about the fact that I have had girlfriends as well as boyfriends so they hold no prejudice. I talk to them about their bodies using the correct terminology, they know how babies are made, all about periods etc. I teach them that their bodies do all these amazing things and their hearts make them feel all these weird and wonderful things and that is what being a Mum is about.
My body is far from perfect, my soul is far from perfect. I like it that way. I re-visited the photos a few days back which has spurred this blog on and my body was banging. I was even skinnier back then and I just wish that me then could know what me now knows. I have had people tell me that I’m cool and they are the actual coolest people. I have had people ask me for parental advice. I have had people ask me sex advice. Not once has anyone said, “Where did you get your North Face jacket from?” because there ain’t no way that this Mum is gonna be that Mum.