Hello my name is Stephanie and I have worked at Slim & Save for five years, taking two maternity breaks to complete my family. I would like to share my thoughts and feeling during that time in the hope that it may help others who maybe feeling less than confident in their own skin.
After having my first child in 2013 and my second child in 2016 all my confidence and self-esteem went out of the window. I felt overweight and uncomfortable no matter what clothes I put on. I lived in leggings and long tops or jogging bottoms, and I felt this is not how a young mum should have to dress. I lost touch with most of my friends, as they don’t have children yet, so I often stayed in the house with my two children doing the normal mummy job roles. My mum often visits and takes care of my children when I’m working, but even seeing her and speaking to her about how I felt didn’t make me feel any better about myself. I felt alone and that no one else understood how unhappy I was with my body image.
A year on after my second child, something just came to me, I started looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, “Don’t feel like this you’re doing great. You try your best at being a mum for your two children, you should feel happy and excited and enjoy them why they are still young.” (It doesn’t seem like 2 minutes since they were both tiny babies).
I go for a Depo injection every 3 months, and my weight gets checked along with my blood pressure. Every time I went to see the nurse I had naturally lost weight, only a few pounds here and there but it made me feel so good that I haven’t really actively tried to lose weight. And after hearing that weight can come off slowly by eating healthily and being active doing general every day tasks that I could still lose a few pounds, it made me feel somewhat more positive.
I have learnt some great tips on my journey and I thought it would be nice to share them with you:
- Surround yourself with supportive, positive people. Even though it was mainly my mum and partner, (and most of what they say goes in one ear and out of the other), having them around me giving me positive tips about the way I looked and dressed really helped me.
- Never compare yourself to others. On the nursery run for my eldest daughter for me it was like a quick job, get in and out fast so no one could catch a glimpse of me. I used to look at other mums all nicely dressed and I often compared myself to them, “why do they look great, and I look like this?” My advice is simply don’t do it, be happy with who you are.
- Take time-out. With two small children I barley ever get time to myself, but I’ve learnt that by leaving them with my mum to go to work or leaving them with my partner to have a bath or paint my nails etc, this gives me a breather to concentrate on me.
- Be Bold. Wear the things you didn't think would suit the way you look. Every clothes shopping trip is pure dread for me, because I’m so fussy. But having my mum with me and trying on things I never thought I would ever wear really helped me along the way. It has shown me that I don’t have to live in leggings or jogging bottoms all the time.
- Get to know your own style and body shape. Learning what clothes suited my curvier body made me feel great. Pregnancy really does change your body and gives you a whole different body shape. Finding clothes that suited me and complimented my curves gave me relief and I thought to myself, “yeah you can look good’.
- Stop blame yourself. Being a new mum makes you feel guilty all the time no matter what you do. Even if you’re doing your best you always tend to see the negative first. Low body confidence also makes you feel like this too, I’ve learnt that getting myself out and about talking to new people has really helped me open up a little.
- Try not to use the words “fat” or “thin”, “big or small”. These are very negative descriptive words. You could have a pear-shaped body, an hourglass body, be tall or short, all of these are kinder ways to describe yourself. There is no embarrassment in having any one particular body type. You are what you are everyone is different, be proud of whatever shape you are.
- Be kinder to yourself. Make a list of everything about yourself that you like, appreciate your body in every aspect, for what it is and what it can actually do. Get some photographs new and old and compare how you look and what your body looks like. This will make you realise what you want from yourself.
Tips initially inspired from Cosmopolitan article here.
By Stephanie McManus, Customer Care Advisor