Tuesday, 18 February 2014

For the Love of My Body

While I am busy thinking about trying for baby number two, I only now realized how grateful I am for my new body. Pregnancy changes us a lot, being a mother brings out a whole new identity, a person we didn't know we were.

I was amazed by how much my body can do. I created, nurtured and birthed a baby. One sperm and one egg met and the building work began. I loved being pregnant and I remember how I used to plan my post baby regime: I knew I will be very active and busy, breastfeeding on top of it. I never worried about weight and diets, I am quite lucky in that sense and years of dancing gave me good body confidence - I know what I can expect from myself. Yet I might have been a little naive. Knowing I will be a stay at home mum, I thought I will have the extra time for more workouts, I never had a problem with individual training or with working out at home. I don't need a gym or a friend, quite the opposite, I even opted for private yoga classes as my luxury while pregnant. In my eyes, I saw days when I will not have to be anywhere at certain time, I knew I can organize the household and I assumed even caring for my baby will allow me some spare time.

How wrong I was. Baby care is more or less 24/7 as I am blessed with a baby who doesn't nap very likely and who breastfed almost non-stop. House work somehow ballooned, it never ends. And I didn't know how tired I will be. So, no, I do not use my fancy workout DVDs 3 times a week and I didn't gain a better body post baby. I also didn't shed all my not so good habits, quite an opposite. I now love my morning coffee (used to be hot lemon in the morning), I survived the first months only thanks to lots of sweet teas and chocolate digestives and I will have occasional glass of wine. I was very health conscious while trying to conceive, I assumed I will only become better. I didn't know I will be merely surviving and in a need of many rewards.

So no, I don't have a six pack yet, but yes, I can pass with a body that is back in its pre-pregnancy shape, healthy and strong. And while I still breastfeed mornings and nights, it is slowly but surely becoming mine again. It was strange not to be my own person after I gave birth. Now I am claiming myself back and I can not help but wonder: how will I cope with intimacy? I am aware of the amazing job my body can do, but I am not aware of any sensuality, only desire to go through the madness of reproduction again.

Few days back, my husband looked at some old photos and commented on my then blond hair, how different I was. Yet I couldn't get an opinion out of him. Did he like me more then or does he like me now? I always thought I did things for me: coloured my hair because I liked it, pierced my belly button because I wanted to, had my facials and massages to care for myself. But did I really do it for me or was it an unconscious calculating behavior adopted in order to attract a partner? And is my recent return to simplicity and natural look coming from me - tired of the dictate of beauty pages and trends, disinterested in the style of my favorite celebrity (I can't even name my favorite celebrity, I couldn't care less about them) and more confident within myself, or am I letting myself go because I secured a partner and had a child - mission completed?

I stopped colouring my hair shortly after my wedding because I simply wanted to see again what colour it actually was. I made less money, so I simplified my beauty regime, I found out what makes me happy and comfortable at the same time, and sometimes after I turned 33 I realized I don't care anymore if I am the prettiest/skinniest/most attractive girl in the room. I actually very happily passed the torch to the next generation once I noticed that they care much more then I do and that I look at them with sympathy and warmth, not with suspicion and competitive spirit. Shopping for clothes annoys me and sucks energy out of me so I only buy what I need. Healthy living and good cleansing routine means I don't need so much pampering anymore - plus I don't have the time or money. I like my hair long and naturally brown and I learned how to cut it myself because it is fairly simple to do on long hair plus when I want to cut 5 centimeters I make sure I cut 5 and nobody is talking me into colouring my hair red after I stated I don't want colour, or pushes me into unnecessary visit in 6 weeks time. Simple life gives me all the freedom - I still have enough clothes, accessories and makeup to play with if I feel like it but I don't worry about simplicity because it doesn't define who I am.

I can focus on things I find really important plus I feel I know myself and respect myself. But am I letting the world or my partner down? Am I supposed to be the sexy goddess he felt in love with forever? But was I ever one? Why do we have to define ourselves by the way we look so much? I don't think men care as much as we think. Half time they are unaware of all our efforts or any changes we agonize over anyway and comment on my change was simply that - a comment. With long term relationship and young family comes new sense of comfort - not a lazy one but a practical one. We know each other inside out and we are comfortable around each other all natural. Other people may feel very differently about all that but that is their life and they choose partners who find the same thing crucial. I, for one, don't mind to be settled and makeup free.

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