Body confidence has always been something I lack. Since having children, I’ve struggled with how I look more than ever. I’ve spoken a lot about my mental health struggles here on the blog, but I’ve never discussed my feelings on my appearance.
My body confidence is something I’m desperate to improve. Not just for myself, but also for my children, especially Mia. Until last week, I hadn’t taken my children swimming for over three years. I’d always sit on the sidelines whilst Grandma had fun splashing around with them and if I did get in the water, I’d hide as much as I could in case anyone I knew was there.
I’m not overweight, I swing between size 10 and size 14. It’s not my weight that is the issue as such, it’s simply how I view myself when I look at my appearance in the mirror. I still have a lumpy bumpy tummy five years after the birth of my youngest child. I’m often stressed or exhausted, usually both, and it shows. I have neglected myself for far too long drinking caffeine all day every day and eating whatever is convenient. I’m not a toned, care free 17-year-old anymore. It’s time I accepted the body that I have, after all, it’s given me two beautiful children and for that I am eternally grateful.
I don’t do myself any favours, I know that, but I’ve become stuck in an endless loop of survival.
My children’s faces when I told them we were going swimming were priceless.
They were so excited that I was taking them, and getting in the pool with them. Even when we were in the water I was racked with anxiety over what I looked like, but we had so much fun. It didn’t take long for the laughter we shared to dissolve any concerns I had over my body. Before we had even left the building they both asked if we could do it again. Having Mummy in the pool meant so much to them.
Mia is 7 now, soon she’ll be starting middle school. She’s growing up in the blink of an eye. If she ever looks at herself in the same way that I see myself, I will be truly gutted. She’s a beautiful young lady growing up in a world so very different to the one I grew up in. She idolises the likes of JoJo Siwa and Little Mix, and she idolises me… I need to change how I think and feel about myself in order to positively influence her body confidence as she catapults towards her teenage years.
I can continue missing out on making precious memories with my children, or I can stop letting my lack of confidence hold me back. I’m choosing the latter. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be so very worth it.
For mental health support and advice on self-esteem and body confidence, contact Mind.