Body Image Feminism Mental Health Motherhood

Nurturing BoPo

I’ve touched on the subject before in a previous post, ‘Mind Your Language‘, but today got me looking at what it takes to a body positive mother and help establish a healthy body image and relationship with food.

But can I really, fully embrace being body positive while recovering from an eating disorder? Does recovering from an eating disorder ever really end?

In order to really be body positive there’s a whole lot of emotional baggage to unpack. Years of conditioning have told you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not slim enough, that you’re ugly and unworthy of loving.

My negative relationship with my body started around the time I started to develop curves. I was bullied for having breasts in year 7. The boys assumed I was easy and started calling me a slut early on, and no one dissuaded that assumption. I envied other girls because I never got the compliments. I was picked on for having a ‘weird’ figure when my hips filled out and I got hip dimples. I used to wear baggy clothing to hide my figure leading to the belief I’d gained weight and gotten fat. Even though I was still slim I believe this. I believed I needed to loose weight. I believed that by losing weight I would stop the developing curves.

I never felt accepted by the other girls, I always felt ugly compared.

My Mum’s yo-yo dieting and weight obsession didn’t help how I felt either, nor did (or do) my Grandmother’s comments on my Mum’s weight or my own.

I don’t think my family had any clue how their comments impacted me and my body image.

During college these feeling got worse, I started smoking to suppress my appetite. I would hide food, pretend I ate it. I obsessed over being a size 6, starving myself to get there and I was so proud when I managed that and ended up being asked to model one of the smallest sized outfits made in the fashion studios.

How is it I felt hotter when I was 6.5st with bones visible under my skin? Why is it that was when I felt my most confident? I know I was physically and mentally unhealthy at that point in my life.

Come age 21 I’d shrunk further to 6st but my figure never went away. Even with visible bones.

Since becoming a mum I have gained weight and I do struggle with that fact. It happens though. During my pregnancy with Roman I developed SPD. I already have hypermobility and so ended up undergoing 18 months of physiotherapy to become more able to move again.

It’s still an issue for me though and although I try not to obsess and no matter how hard I try to be body positive it’s a journey. It’s a struggle.

The struggle is exacerbated by shopping for clothes. I’ve become reliant on online shopping after I had a panic attack while trying to find a pair of jeans that fit. I shake at the thought of going in to a clothing shop. How the hell have I become a size 14??

It’s taking a long time to relearn intuitive eating. Eating when hungry instead of avoiding it. Eating to enjoy food instead of starving myself. Honouring a full tummy instead of binging when I feel low. After all, I don’t want my daughter to ignore intuitive eating. I’m trying not to obsess as I gradually lose the baby weight and tone up. I need to stop letting my obsession force me indoors. I need to get out more and enjoy life without worrying about if others will think I’m fat.

Through this BoPo journey I have discovered a number of amazing women who encourage me to embrace my body. Women like Natalie and Elspelth keep me looking forward with positivity. They help me see that I can do anything with my body and still learn to love it. I can relearn everything, or rather unlearn all that hate. They help me more than they will ever know.

Yes, I am heavier than I have ever been and how can I really call myself body positive if I’m so focussed on getting back to my “happy weight”?

I need to find a way to learn self love and by happy with my body as it is, while I am on my journey. Those wonderful women help that.

One thing I will not fall in to is letting body positivity “allow” me to be fat. That’s no good for my mental health. I know that if I go along with that I will obsess and hurt myself emotionally all over again. I’ll develop an unhealthy relationship with food again. I can still admire women who embrace their curves while on this journey. After all, each person’s journey is as individual as they are.

I won’t lie. I am upset that don’t love my body as it is. I am upset I can’t be one of those that embraces their body changing. I am upset at myself… but, I know I can admire my body, what it’s been through and what it can achieve and that that will help me on this journey.

It’s all about getting my brain and my body to a healthy level. For Aria’s sake. She needs to see that a healthy brain and a healthy body start with your role models growing up. She needs to see me not obsess with my weight and food. She needs to see food can be enjoyed.

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