Dare to bare
Here at More than a Mum we like to take on challenging issues and you may have noticed that every now and then we take on a slightly feminist hue. Well today is one of those days. By feminist, I don’t mean the bra-burning, or men-hating, or female domination kind often mis-portrayed in the media. I mean the “women can and should be able to be whoever they want to be and not have to fit into a specific mould” kind. I’d like to think that all women can subscribe to that idea, but feel free to tell me why you don’t at the bottom of this piece.
So, why did it all start? Well, I was chatting with some friends the other day and the subject of summer holidays came up. Everyone shared their various likes, dislikes and plans for a summer holiday – summer sun; local history; all inclusive; independent etc etc – and then someone said, “Only 5 months to get my bikini body back”. From here discussions ensued about stretch marks, mummy tummies, c-section scars and one-pieces. It was almost universally agreed that the bikini was out if you’d had a child, and that made me cross…
It doesn’t make me cross if you don’t want to wear a bikini, don’t get me wrong. You can wear a bikini, a one-piece, a 3 piece suit; wear whatever makes you happy. What worried me was the universal agreement that post-children our bodies look awful and should be kept under wraps. Surely the focus should be on being healthy, not on fitting a particular body image?
We women put huge pressure on ourselves. Anyone who has watched Gok and How to Look Good Naked, knows that our view of ourselves always piles on extra pounds and inches and we notice our imperfections in a way no one else does. You know that your biggest critic is yourself. Post-baby our bodies do change and unless you are super-lucky, super-dedicated or a super-star with a personal trainer and a darn fine photographer, you will probably have to embrace some of those changes. Get you onside and you’ll be half way there!
Do you know why we don’t look good in a bikini post-baby? It’s because we think we don’t. We remember the figure we had before we got pregnant (and if you’re like me, there are probably some rose-tinted specs there too…) and we compare ourselves. We notice the lack of tummy tone and the stretch marks and scars and we feel unconfident. We slouch and try to hide the bits we dislike and most of time we end up looking uncomfortable and probably highlighting all the things we’re trying to cover up.
If you want to wear a bikini and you’re at a healthy weight for your height and age, don’t diet, improve your confidence. Practice wearing a bikini. Start at home alone in front of a mirror. Pretend you’re doing a photo shoot and practice sexy poses! Go to a women’s only day in a sauna or spa and wear your bikini. Go to the swimming pool in your bikini. Ask a friend or partner to tell you whether you look good in a bikini. If you think you look good in something, you will. Stand tall and be proud of yourself.
If you want to wear your bikini this summer, don’t take on an unachievable exercise regime and diet yourself out of everything you like. Maintain a healthy lifestyle with reasonable exercise and eating and get yourself some self-belief. You are attractive; you are sexy and you can wear what you want; be that bikini or boiler suit!