And just like that I’m expected to make or find peace with my ever-changing female body.
Accept it for what it is. Before surgery I accepted that I was carrying a large mass in my womb and my lower abdomen showed that, it was extended like a woman of around a the 12-week pregnancy mark. Cute little bump but of course I wasn’t carrying a child, so it wasn’t cute at all! I couldn’t get in my normal clothes, or if I did squeeze myself in, it didn’t last long until I would change, as I was so uncomfortable. I felt my womb and now I know my left ovary and tube all the time and it was a constant reminder that something wasn’t right. A woman doesn’t normally feel her womb on a day-to-day basis unless she is pregnant.
Now as a teenager, I was always very skinny, straight up and down, not a curve in sight, no breasts, fried eggs as my mum used to call them (nice!) but good long legs, and a nice arse! Of course, I wanted ample breasts and thought I would look better in tops and dresses if I had an ample bosom. I was desperate to have them but had to put up with a padded bra and nothing else, which never gave the look of ample breasts, just a flat chested young girl in a padded bra! I never got them! I had to make peace with what I had, like so many other young girls who didn’t have what they wanted either. I had to find the good amongst the elements I wanted to change. My nice ass and long legs are what I showed off to the world and I was proud of them! You can say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I am the beholder and wanted to feel good about myself.
My body shape didn’t really change throughout my twenties into my late twenties, I remained skinny, straight up and down with no breasts! This could be largely down to the fact that I smoked like a trouper, lived on a shit diet of cuppa soups, some fruit or yogurt and perhaps a good hearty meal when the occasion occurred with a group of lovely friends! I enjoyed smoking a lot, I felt cool when I did it and was 100% completely committed and addicted to it! My body shape didn’t bother me, it was the Kate Moss era, where straight up and down skinny models were all over every magazine and tabloids, so I fit right in! I still secretly wished I had an ample bosom but to no avail, but a diet of fags, cuppa soups and fuck all else just wasn’t going to ever give me breasts I desired! So, I accepted my skinny ass and got on with it!
I fell pregnant at 27, giving birth at 28 years of age. It was a planned pregnancy, and I was delighted, I gave up the diet of fags and cuppa soups and opted for the more correct format of living when housing a child in one’s womb – carbs, grains, vegetables and fruit! I thought I had those ample breasts that I always desired and felt amazing! Of course, I didn’t have an ample bosom, compared to a normal woman with breasts, I just did not have ‘fried eggs’ anymore and I loved it! I accepted this body change easily and rejoiced in the changes that came with housing a human! I loved it! I felt amazing, as my body probably did too – rid of the fags and cuppa soup diet that I had made it endure for the past ten years!
My body bounced back quite quickly after my first born, a year of breast feeding helped this, as did pushing a pram and generally being a mother to another human. Going back to work when my first born was six months old on a night, whilst looking after her all day gave my body a kick start back into the skinny ass it once was! I never went back to the very skinny body I was before I was pregnant, but I didn’t mind that! I indulged on the old favourites again, my good old trusty friend – the cigarette and enjoyed every single one (after I'd stopped breast feeding, I might add!) The smell, the rolling, the holding and especially that delightful, dirty first drag of a cigarette first thing in a morning! I didn’t have much time to contemplate whether I was happy with my body or not, as a first-time mum and worker knows, you don’t get much time to inhabit the subject. I was fortunate that my first birth was uneventful, not ending in a caesarean section or any other complication that friends have endured. My body was a tower of strength and I just cracked on with it!
Carrying my second born at 30 was a whole different ball game, I puked every day until the day he was born, and my hip protested throughout the whole affair! Shouting its head off that I was carrying a massive load and I needed to rest and recoup! I didn’t rest, I had a job, a child under two and a house to run, so my hip and body shouted and ignored it! We didn’t like each other, at all, my body and I, I was massive, and I mean massive! I didn’t like my body at all! I sweated, couldn’t breathe properly, or move properly. I was huge! There were a lot of tears throughout this pregnancy, no rejoicing on how wonderful I looked, I felt like shit and looked like a hippopotamus! I didn’t even have my trusty old friend, the cigarette to give me comfort! I was so thankful when I gave birth to my second born, to not be carrying that load anymore, to not be sick every day and to finally see my feet and privates once again!
My body didn’t bounce back this time and I was a completely different size than I ever had been in my life. Even my trusty old friend, the cigarette didn’t help me gain my skinny ass back. I wasn’t massive in the grand scheme of things, If I stood in a long line of different shaped women, I was probably veering towards the thinner end, but when you’ve been super skinny most of your life due to genetics and lifestyle it doesn’t help your thoughts and feelings! I felt HUGE in my eyes! HUGE! I didn’t really do anything about it, my body and I just had a constant guilt-ridden conversation about what I consumed on a day-to-day basis! I did the various faddy diet things: slimming world, weight watches, starving yourself, 5/2, no carbs etc to make my body change back to what it was but it never did. And it never would because my body had changed forever, the actual physical skeleton/muscle of the thing had changed and no faddy stupid diet could change that! My hips were wider, my hip and back were knackered, my rib cage was bigger, I had physically changed. And just like that I had to adapt to my new body and size.
In my 40th year I gave up smoking, it came after I received a severe telling off from my dentist ‘Do you want your own teeth when you are older?’ ‘Do you want gum disease?’ ‘Do you want to pay for dentistry work for the rest of your life, because you choose to smoke?’ ‘Smoking stops the gums working and in return your teeth drop out!’ And so, I stopped, but it was literally like losing a long-lost friend. This friend that was there for you, when you were sad, happy, anxious, excited, nervous, waiting to past the time away with you! A perfect companion anyone could ask for. I had to mourn the cigarettes and my body, once again! I piled on the pounds by eating to fill the void of not smoking, just like so many do when giving up the addiction! I had a great mindset about the weight gain, ‘I’ll deal with that after the addiction is less and less’, you see I had tried to on many of occasion to stop but the weight brought me straight back to my old friend, Mr Cigarette to help lose the weight.
Between giving up and now I’ve begun to love my body for what it is, it is strong and powerful. It is capable of excellent things, supporting my family and friends in the physical and emotional format. It is beautiful, soft, and sensual. For the first time in my life, I’m thankful to not have that ample bosom, I’ve seen what they do when gravity hits – I’m thankful for mine! In fact I love mine! And just as I’m settled into my acceptance of my body another curve ball is thrown in, an abdominal hysterectomy. An eight-inch scar pulling in my very lower abdomen to which I now have what is termed an ‘overhang!’ WTAF is that all about, this is new to me!? I hear cries from women far and wide, we've got one too! But this new to me and my body! So, yet again I am thrown into another personal journey where I will have to accept my every changing body and begin to love it all over AGAIN!
We women are totally AMAZING xx