I haven’t always had the best relationship with food.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say I have suffered with an eating disorder in the past but I did refuse to eat for an extended period of time if I felt like I had gained a few too many pounds – not that anyone knew about it because I was the master of keeping it hidden.
Shortly after I moved to London a guy said I had “thick thighs and a curvy booty” and I – being from down in Sussex and not really understanding the “London lingo” – took this as an insult. I didn’t let anything other than a vegetable smoothie three times a day pass my lips for two weeks after that.
My body shape was always something I was quite self-conscious of because I had these massive boobs, my waist wasn’t small enough (despite being 26 inches, I know, stupid), my hips and thighs were wide and I had muscly calves from freestyle dancing as a child.
And then I went vegan and my whole attitude towards food changed because I realised I could eat as much as I wanted, my weight would pretty much stay the same – except when it increased slightly during Aunt Flo – and I had bundles of energy from all the healthy grub I was supplying my body with.
I went to the gym every day but, this time, it wasn’t because I wanted to lose weight but because I loved how it made me feel. I genuinely felt confident in my own skin.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant I knew I was going to struggle with my body. I knew I was going to lose the six pack I had worked really hard to get, I knew my hips were going to get wider and I knew there was a high chance I’d get stretch marks on my belly.
Suffering with HG for the first half of my pregnancy meant I actually lost weight – I went from a size 8/10 to a small size 6 within weeks, my hips were protruding through my clothes, I was covered in bruises, my ribs were so sore and I could literally pull my jeans down without undoing the button.
I didn’t get a bump until I was about 24 weeks pregnant and, even then, it was debatable as to whether it looked like a baby in there or shovelled in a few too many pies.
And then suddenly my little one – who is measuring slightly smaller than average – decided to have a growth spurt at around 28 weeks and my belly POPPED!
When I say it popped, I mean I woke up one day and I felt like I had swallowed a football. I actually had to rock back onto my shoulders to get out of bed.
The comments went from: ‘Oh you’re tiny, are you sure you’re pregnant’ to ‘Wow she’s definitely growing! Where did that bump come from?’ Both infuriated me.
I refuse to buy any maternity clothes because I think the majority of them are very unflattering and boring but I have to constantly remind myself that I’m seven months pregnant and the size 8 jeans I used to slip into are no longer going to fit.
But that doesn’t stop the sinking feeling I get in the pit of my stomach. It’s a constant battle but I’m learning to embrace my pregnancy body and I know I’ll work hard to get it back once she’s here.
Sure, my hips are wider, my thighs aren’t as toned as they used to be, I can no longer see my vagina past my baby bump, I have cellulite on my bum and legs and I have stretch marks on my boobs but my body is housing my precious little lady and, despite all the sickness, flu and other ailments I’ve had throughout this pregnancy, it hasn’t let me down, it’s kept my baby safe.
Women can sometimes be quite hard on themselves when they’re pregnant. Your emotions are running wild and you’re watching your body change right before your eyes. You don’t feel sexy, you feel heavy and bloated, you’re hungry all the time and your joints start to ache. But just know this won’t be forever. Soon enough you’ll have you little angel in your arms and you’ll forget all about the mini meltdowns you had when you couldn’t squeeze your arse into pre-pregnancy jeans.
I don’t know if my body will ever go back to the way it used to be but when I look in the mirror I’ll remember it grew and nurtured my daughter for nine months – and she’s worth every stretch mark, every cellulite dimple and both love handles (although I’ll probably still have a cry about them).
You got this mamas, don’t sweat the small stuff!
Love and hugs x