Let's talk body confidence

And let's start by saying, I have very little at the moment.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm probably around the 3 mark.

All through my pregnancy with Peyton I struggled with my body. At first it was getting used to having this little bump, then that little bump suddenly grew to an incredible size and I felt like a whale. I was forever the subject of comments about my size and it really, really got me down.

We went for a maternity photoshoot at the start of May, over 8 weeks before Peyton was even due, because I didn't want to be any bigger for the photos. I quite like the one above. I requested we try some silhouette ones and I was really happy with those.

We were very careful which ones we picked when it came to choosing them. Tom, bless him, just let me pick them as he know how much I hated my body when I was pregnant.

And it hasn't got much better now.

When Peyton was six weeks old I went back to Slimming World and the weight started dropping off me. I put on over five stone while I was pregnant and, within a few weeks of being back at Slimming World, only had around a stone to go to be back to the weight I was when I got pregnant. I carried on going, following it the best I could, until November. Then, it just got too difficult to go to group each week. I could never stay, and I didn't like paying £5 each week just to get weighed; when I could just do that at home. I told myself that that's what I would do, carry on at home and weigh myself each week.

Well, as you can probably guess, that didn't happen. Nope.

In fact, I only went and got a new battery for the bathroom scales two weeks ago.

Since we booked our holiday it has made me more determined to try and shift the rest of the "baby weight". I mentioned this in another post, but how long can you call it baby weight for and not just say it's cos you're a chubster who can't stop eating?

Peyton wasn't even two weeks old here. This shirt was my lifesaver in both pregnancy and the early days after she was born. I deffo still looked around six months pregnant for about three weeks, at least.
My problem when I'm at home is snacking. I am so hungry all the time and would rather snack on something naughty than fruit. I have a fruit bowl, and fridge, full of healthy snacks (which would probably fill me up more) but always opt for something more calorific.

I've made a conscious effort to stop snacking unnecessarily and, instead, have a glass of water. If I'm still hungry after that, I stand and stare at the snack cupboard, open and close the fridge a few times, look at what goodies are in the bread bin, then remind myself of our holiday and storm out of the kitchen (closing the door behind me so the snacks can't get me!)

I'm about a stone away from where I was when I got pregnant, and just under two stone away from my original Slimming World target weight (I'm going to start referring to it as my wedding weight, because I don't think it's a real, achievable target anymore!)

If I could get back to where I was when I got pregnant - which was after indulging hard on honeymoon - then I will be happy. If I can drop below that, then I'll be even happier.

However, it's not just about the weight. I need to learn to like myself again. I used to have so much confidence. After losing the weight for our wedding, and keeping it off for Soph's, I loved my body. I was a fan of high-waisted jeans and a crop top, and didn't hesitate about wearing a bikini on honeymoon.


Double sob.
Now, the thought of wearing a bikini fills me with absolute dread.

I have so many horrific, horrendous stretch marks all over my tummy and hips. I know a lot of women have stretch marks and they're a sign of my body growing Peyton and I should be proud of them, I know all of that, but I don't like them. I don't like how they make me feel when I look at them, I don't like how they feel when I touch them, and I don't like myself when I look in the mirror and see them.

Some are really deep, some are still really dark, and, even just writing this about them, it makes me want to cry.

I really wish this was one of those posts where I sit in front of the mirror in just my underwear and show off all my stretch marks and say "here I am, I am proud of every mark because they helped give me my gorgeous girl", but it's not. Maybe one day, but not today.

Yes, I am so proud of my body for growing my baby for nine months, for keeping her safe and for delivering her; but I am really not loving what I am left with. And that makes me really sad to admit.

So, even if I can shed a bit more weight, I still probably won't be comfortable or confident. And I highly, highly doubt you will see me in a bikini when we are back in Dubai.

Here's a pic from Dubai when we were on our honeymoon - do you think I could get away with recycling these from September? 
I had a tattoo done on my hip in 2014 - what a fucking stupid idea that was. I clearly wasn't thinking about what it would be like after having a baby because, bugger me, it looks nothing like it did before.

Before Peyton it was a cute little infinity sign intertwined in a love heart. Now? Well it's just like some black marks mixed in with, you guessed it, more stretch marks.

I lather on bio oil, creams, lotions and potions and nothing seems to work.

God, this is really depressing, I am so, so sorry. If you're still reading, you'll probably need a drink now.

This was my last bump picture and it was the day before my due date - eight days before she was born! 
And this was the first time I fit into a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans - 8 weeks postpartum.
Part of me wants to ditch the scales and say I'll just watch the change in myself and stop obsessing over the numbers in front of me. However, I know I need that motivation in the numbers to keep me going. If I don't, I will have a bad week but convince myself that my jeans are looser (they're not, Nat, you've just not washed them in over a week!) or that my legs are looking slimmer.

We are going to two weddings this year and I really, really want to feel nice about myself at them. I don't want to feel conscious about having to breathe in all the time, or having a muffin top hanging over. I don't want to look at photos and hate them.

I want to feel as good as I did at my best friend's wedding.

It was the most beautiful, beautiful day for the most gorgeous couple.

Look how young we look!!!!!!
I've become so critical of myself. My favourite comparison at the moment is that I look like a potato. I say it now without even realising. I'm so, so harsh on myself.

And do you know what? I don't want Peyton growing up hearing that. I don't want her growing up hearing me saying negative things about my body and my appearance all the time. Because then she'll think it's normal and she'll start saying negative things about her body and her appearance.

I remember at primary school thinking I was fat and trying to put myself on a diet. I stopped eating cereal for breakfast and would just have a Nutri-Grain (even now I still can't eat them because they remind me of that time!) I used to throw away my packed lunch at school and not have any dinner because I wanted to lose weight. This was at primary school. I must've been 10? Maybe not even that.

I do not want that for my daughter.

So, I need to work on myself. When Tom says to Peyton "aw doesn't mummy look beautiful" I need to stop replying "no, mummy looks disgusting" and I really must stop talking about my "disgusting" tummy.

I have tried to boost my self esteem myself. Most days I was just wearing gym leggings, a t-shirt and baggy jumper. Whether I was staying home, going out - that was my go-to every single day.

I actually quite liked this photo because it made my legs look slim. It's all about the angles haha!

And this one made my arm look slim.

I've put a stop to that now and make myself get dressed properly. Even if we aren't going anywhere I will put on some jeans/jeggings, I will do my hair and I will put on some make-up. I have tried to take more selfies again, too. This sounds ridiculous, but stay with me.

I used to be partial to a selfie, but not anymore.

However, I've found if I take a photo I see myself differently. I almost see the old me again.

I bought this pair of 'mom' jeans with a voucher I got for Christmas and, sometimes they're not the most flattering, but they did the job ok here.

I don't see the frumpy mum with the saggy tum that I often see when I look in the mirror. I see pre-baby Nat who loved to fill her social media feeds with pictures of herself.

It's all about the angles.

I really am trying to get my confidence back. If you follow me on Instagram you've maybe noticed I've been partial to a few more selfies of late. I need to see myself through less harsh, critical eyes. If someone was speaking about my best friend the way that I talk about myself I would punch them. So why is it ok for me to be so horrible about myself?

Anyway, I will try and share my journey to self-love with you wherever possible. Maybe next time I'll be able to talk about my stretch marks without wanting to burst into tears!

And if a selfie a day helps me along the way, then so be it!

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