I think I lost my mojo when I was about 8 months pregnant. None of my clothes fit me, my feet were swollen and sore, my face had just begun to inflate, I couldn’t lift my arms to dry or do my hair and I was tired and achey just sitting on my arse. I loved the thought of having a baby at the end, but I hated being pregnant and it completely zapped my confidence. The closer I got to her due date the worse I felt, but it wasn’t until I came out of hospital having given birth that I finally waved goodbye to my confidence.
I lost the baby weight very quickly but I was so desperate to get rid of the elasticated waste bands and get back to wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans. Every day I tried a pair on hoping that they would fit but each time they were that little bit too tight and did no good for my still healing nether regions. I had honestly thought that given a couple of days I would feel, and look, like me again; but even as my puffiness faded I still felt awful and wanted to wear trackies and baggy tops all day long. There is nothing sexy about maternity pads, bra pads, pumping or walking like you’re in a Country and Western!
It took no time at all for me to realise that I had let myself go and had slipped into frump mode. Not that I have ever been particularly cool or fashionable, but this was beyond a laid back and acceptable approach to self maintenance! And as she has gotten older it has become a lot harder to use her as an excuse for looking like a homeless person.
There is barely enough time to wash or brush hair, let alone curl or straighten my hair; my eyebrows are generally out of control and waxes not as frequent as they should be.
I have toe nails like a reptile because tea and biscuits take priority over grooming. Until I really need to wear flip flops they come pretty low down on the priority list. I do attempt to paint them sometimes when I manage to get her down for a long nap but they invariably then end up chipped or smudged and looking worse for the 15 minutes I wanted doing them.
I do wear makeup, but only the bare minimum that I can manage to put on whilst Ian pacifies Savannah in the morning. That is the one thing that I won’t let slip; I cannot and will not go out to a place with more than 3 people without makeup on. The rare times I have nipped to Waitrose wearing no makeup have made me feel like Voldemort and I was convinced every time that everyone else noticed this too.
But now it is, apparently, summer time and I will need to start revealing my viking legs and reptile feet, and I will need to abandon my trademark comfy jeans and baggy plaid shirts for something short and summery, and that’s what frightens me the most! I know I am not back at my pre-pregnancy weight, and more annoyingly I know that it’s my fault for consuming everything mildly sweet in view.
I know people say that stretch-marks are like a tiger that “earnt their stripes” but bollocks to that. I don’t want fucking stripes! Nor do I want a belly that casually hangs above my trousers or thighs wobble a bit too much when I walk. But, I also don’t do anything about it, so please refrain from pitying me; I am just about sufficient in the self pity I currently feel!
Having booked a holiday to visit a friend recently I realised that the outfits of choice for last summer were intended to accommodate my watermelon belly, and so the digging out and trying on of young people shorts, skirts and dresses began. Each item made me a little more sad as I realised that I couldn’t pull off tiny shorts or slinky dresses, so I gave up and ate a bourbon or three.
Every outfit must conform to breastfeeding needs and so I feel too mumsy to wear anything nice, and end up looking at other women and younger girls with a jealous eye. I see pictures of models and Facebook statuses of younger friends and want to weep thinking of my size 6 to 8 figure hidden somewhere beneath my sick-stained vest tops, joggers and extra weight.
I recently ventured into Topshop in order to buy a crop top because that’s what people of my age wear right? I ummed and ahhed about buying it, and eventually walked out with two feeling liberated. But the first time I wore one I spent the majority of my time pulling it down to conceal my belly. I didn’t feel my age, I didn’t feel comfortable, and despite being told the opposite by everyone around me, I didn’t feel in the slightest bit attractive!
So instead I use my long feeding time, or longer toilet breaks, to peruse Asos and Topshop for things I will wear when I am thin again! I picture myself in a months time being stretch-mark free, weighing a stone less and looking like the old me!
I am so preoccupied with milk, poo and play that I manage most of the time to forget about looking after me! Every tomorrow is a new day that will see me dieting and exercising. I will give up smoking and will drink water and paint my nails, and shave my legs and straighten my hair; but then Savannah will get ill, or have a clingy day; or I will just be too knackered to do anything other than the basic bits I need to around the house.
I think the biggest issue I face here is that although I (mostly) love being a mummy, I hate me as a mummy. I don’t feel like I know who I am, and I don’t like what I do know and see. My lack of confidence is not something I ever want to pass on to my beautiful little girl, and it’s also something I never want her to see. So I have resolved that I will fix myself!
I will find my mojo, and look the best that I can when I can! I know that in reality I won’t be the old me again and won’t be able to make an effort every day, but I will try to look after myself so that I can try and feel better about me.