In My Opinion: Body Confidence

On the beach in Cornwall

This is me. On the beach. Nailing life by having fun with my family. In my clothes.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks hanging on to this post. Should I publish it? It’s a different tone but something that is playing on my mind and I think is an important topic. A conversation that I would like to add my voice to.

There is so much in the media (with social media probably being the worst offender) every summer about body confidence. Women baring their bodies in bikinis to prove that they are cool with their body hang ups. I salute them. I salute you. You should be proud! Every woman and every man should be. Whatever is going on in our lives we are living them and that in itself is an achievement. Just forgive me for nailing my body confidence in clothes.

Here’s the thing. I have grown and stretched and changed during each of my pregnancies, physically and emotionally. I am grateful, so grateful, to my body for getting me through. The pelvic girdle pain nearly defeated me, the sickness wasn’t exactly rock and roll and losing the sight on and off in one eye wasn’t quite the disco light effect of a party. But I pulled through and gave birth to my three wonderful boys. The youngest was huge, weighing in at just over ten and a half pounds. His arrival created a saggy belly that over three years on has still not gone and is largely (no pun intended) excess skin. Great. Pretty much nothing to be done apart from surgery and that’s not a road I’m going to go down. I’ll just tuck it into my marksies pants and ignore it instead.

The pregnancies also brought (several) love lines as some people call them. I refer to my belly as looking like a cauliflower but each person sees them differently and I respect that. Basically in plain English, I’m talking stretch marks. Lots and lots of stretch marks. My cauliflower reaches from my nether regions right up to my boobs. I am proud of what my body went through and created, but I don’t particularly want to gawp at the long lasting physical effects that pregnancy etched into my skin.

Toning up is tough. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Pain. They’re the ones that nobody really understands or thinks are particularly problematic until you meet someone who has it and realise how utterly debilitating it can be. My arms look saggy. They are saggy. I also have reduced function in them and rounds of physio is keeping them from getting worse but not making them any better. I’m still grateful for them though, even in their bingo wings glory.

So what I am getting at by writing this? All people are biologically wonderful. That we are here is pretty special and what we go through creates the characters that we are. I’m cool with however anyone wants to display their confidence and live their life. Just don’t tell me to slip into a bikini to prove anything, because I’m not going to do that, even though I am body confident. I will never, ever, wear a bikini again. I don’t want to see my stretch marks. It really is that simple. I don’t want to see my excess skin either. It shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that I’m less of a person because I’m not baring my flesh.

Body confidence, like bodies, comes in all forms. Mine happens to be in my head and if people want to judge what I’m wearing to deduce how I feel then that’s ok. But does my lack of a bikini equal a lack of confidence? To me it doesn’t.

What do you think? Do you feel pressure to assert your confidence in one way or another, or do you largely duck away from the subject all together? Let me know!

Are you body confident - reframe your perception. Cup of Toast

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5th September 2018

24 comments

I think acceptance of how we are is the greatest show of confidence there is. #ThatFridayLinky

I have a lot of stretch marks after the girls too. As much as I feel more body confident now than ever before, I still won’t be found in a bikini as I wouldn’t want anyone to see them! You’re rocking the linky my lovely! #Blogstravaganza

Thank you lovely! Miss you on it though. I agree about bikinis, I don’t particularly want to see my stretch marks let alone others. Doesn’t mean I’m ashamed of the changes my body has gone through though 😉 xx

Love it! Thank you! I agree, you can be proud of your body without baring it to the world. I do the same.
#blogstravaganza

Thanks! Yes, exactly that.

As a Dad boy image issues are something I struggle with too – we have far too many mirrors in our house for my liking and I do struggle with having photos taken of me – the greatest thing I ever did was to attend Slimming World to address my weight problems which has increased by self confidence and self esteem – great post thank you -)

You’re welcome! I’m not looking forward to my boys becoming teenagers. I think there’s just as much on men and boys as there is on women and girls. It akes me feel sad.

This is a great post and I totally agree with you. Not wanting to bare your body in a bikini doesn’t mean you must be ashamed of it or embarrassed by it. My body has changed since having children (in particular with the csection overhang!) and I don’t wear a bikini anymore, but that’s nothing to do with being ashamed. I just feel more comfortable in a swimming costume now. I don’t dress to hide things, I just try to dress in a way that suits me best, makes me happiest and helps me feel confident in myself. #blogstravaganza

Yes! That’s exactly it. I dress in a way that makes me feel comfortable and happy. That isn’t in a bikini but it doesn’t mean that I am ashamed of the changes that my body has been through in the past nine years.

Love it and agree. I am the same and know just how you feel brilliant post xx #Blogstravaganza

Yes! If you’re comfortable in a bikini then yey for you, but if you’re not that’s fine too. I’m overweight but more than happy with my body, I just feel more comfortable covered. Even when I was young and skinny I never wore a bikini, it’s just not for me. #blogstravaganza

Exactly. I did use to wear a bikini but I won’t any more and that’s nothing to do with whether or not I’m happy and confident. X

I loved this post. You should always put your own comfort first – whether that’s baring your flesh or keeping it covered up. It’s totally your choice x #Blogstravaganza

Absolutely. Nobody should feel that they have to dress or behave in a certain way x

Since putting on far too much weight I have absolutely zero body confidence at the minute. Although it is not other peoples perception it is absolutely my own. I just need to do something about it! Great post 🙂 #Blogstravaganza

Thank you. It’s easy to put pressure on ourselves. Take everything at your own pace 🙂

Great post and I agree there is a lot of pressure on women and men. I grew in confidence while pregnant, as I had a reason for my body shape. Since giving birth, I try to avoid body length mirrors. I wouldn’t change the fact that I had a child. Never. As someone commented last year though, it’s ironic that I’d just lost weight and was feeling quite good then fell pregnant! They meant it in a nice way. It’s incredible how our bodies cope with pregnancy and birth. No real surprise that there are some lasting physical changes as a result. Thanks for sharing your post x #Blogstravaganza

Thanks for your comment. Yes, I wouldn’t swap my tell tale signs of pregnancy and birth for anything. I will keep them to myself though 😉 x

This is an interesting take on things that I’ve not really heard before. I have never worn a bikini in my life, but it’s not because I have dreadful body confidence, so I think I’m probably with you. I don’t parade about, oozing confidence, but I also don’t hide away either – I’m just chugging along, somewhere in the middle 🙂 (also as someone who had CFS/ME for 6 years, I know exactly how debilitating it can be, and exercising just isn’t really an option).

Thank you for giving me something to think about. And someone else enjoyed this post too because they chose to add it to the BlogCrush linky to give it some extra exposure. Congratulations! Feel free to grab your “I’ve been featured” blog if you’d like it #blogcrush

Thank you Lucy! I think that’s it, we should be free to wear whatever we like without being made to feel uncomfortable about it. Beaches don’t have to be about donning a bikini unless that’s what we want to wear. There is so much pressure on men and women and I don’t like the judgement that comes along with it. I read something at the beginning of the summer about how we should all put on a bikini and take photos of ourselves to show how confident we are. Me not wanting to put on a bikini is really no reflection on my confidence level. I guess my point is wear what you like and don’t worry what other people think about that! Thanks again for your comment 🙂

I’m attempting to be more confident in my skin, I find it really hard though!

It is hard, but it is YOUR body and is wonderful just for functioning. Don’t ever let anyone else cloud your opinion of yourself xx

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