It’s all too familiar. The story of a woman who’s uncomfortable in her own body. A woman who never accepts who she is and spends her whole life trying to change.
It doesn’t matter how many people tell her that she’s beautiful just the way she is, she thinks they’re just being kind. Their words never quite sink in.
This was me. This is so many other women in the world, too.
I spent most of my life not liking my body, feeling uncomfortable about my physical appearance. Now, when I look back at my past, it seems almost ridiculous to me. How could I have felt that way? And here is where the cliché saying comes into play, perfectly.
If only I knew then what I know now.
After all my body has done for me—and it’s still going strong—I haven’t got a single reason not to like it; in fact, love it.
But when did my mindset all change?
When did I see the reality instead of what I convinced myself to falsely believe?
I can pinpoint the exact moment.
It was when I found out I was pregnant with twins.
Up until that moment, there was always something about my body that made me subconscious. It was either too big, not toned enough, too curvy, not perfectly proportioned, too short… the list could go on.
That moment that I found out I was pregnant with twins, my whole self-image changed. In fact, my whole world changed.
My family has no history of twins. My partner’s family has no history of twins. It was entirely unexpected.
If I’m completely honest, my first reaction was, oh shit!
I realised that I was going to have two babies at once and this seemed like an extremely daunting and intimidating task.
Once this reality had time to settle; and we got our heads around the idea that we were going on one hell of a journey together, everything just made sense.
From that point on, my body felt unbelievably perfect to me.
From one day to the next, I felt completely comfortable in my own skin. It was incredible to feel this way. I knew from the outside, nothing had changed. I was still exactly the same. However, knowing what was happening on the inside, knowing what my body was doing all on its own, just left me in awe.
Over the next few months, I watched as my body completely transformed itself into the perfect host for my future children. My curves expanded and my skin stretched to the point where I thought I would rip in half. Somehow, through this metamorphosis, my body stayed strong and adapted to every single change that was thrown its way.
It was so empowering to know what my body was capable of.
It was almost like the bigger my belly grew, the stronger I felt. Before this, I would have been devastated to know that I didn’t fit into my jeans anymore; or to know that I had just gained twenty pounds. None of this mattered. It was like waking up for the first time and realising how lucky, how blessed and how strong I was as a woman.
Normally, this feeling usually comes in spite of our bodies; but for me, this feeling was coming directly as a result of my body. It was my body itself that gave me power and strength. And it took me 35 years to finally embrace it.
My body carried my twins perfectly, with no bumps in the road. And when they were finally born, I almost anticipated going back to the way I was before.
Would I feel self-conscious about how my body had changed?
Would I feel ashamed of the new stretch marks that were here to stay?
And would I worry about what others thought of my shape and size?
Funnily enough, none of that mattered anymore. I had finally come to the realisation of what our bodies are capable of, regardless of what they look like on the outside.
Thinking back to my adolescence, when I would focus on what I thought were all my inadequacies, I never once thought that my body wasn’t strong. I’ve always thought that I had a strong build, but for some reason, this wasn’t good enough. This wasn’t my priority back then.
If you see too many photo-shopped, picture-perfect women on the cover of magazines, on TV, Instagram and YouTube, we start to think that this is what normal should look like; and chances are, we don’t look like that. I certainly didn’t and never will.
But that’s not what normal is.
Normal is when you walk down the street and you look around at the people surrounding you. All shapes, all sizes, all colours. That’s what normal is. That’s the beauty in all of us; the fact that we are all different. Normal should be the feeling of pride, of confidence, of inner strength regardless of what lies on the outside.
What is perfection for one person most likely isn’t perfection for someone else so stop striving to be perfect for anyone. Stop trying to be what you think society wants you to be. Stop thinking that what you are on the outside isn’t good enough. You are enough.
My body still amazes and empowers me now and I wish I could share this feeling with every girl, every teenager, every woman in this world that thinks their body is not enough.
Everything about your body is beautiful.
There are no flaws or imperfections. Your body, my body, carries us through this life, through thick and thin; and it deserves all of our admiration, our respect and our love.
Reflect on your life and all the things that your body has done for you, all the places it has carried you, all the situations it has supported you through. Start seeing the beauty of it instead of looking for faults.
Feel its power. Feel its strength. Love it unapologetically. You are already perfect; just let that sink in.