by Holiday Girl, Jolene.
So many of us have been there. Although we welcome the warmer weather that the summer season brings, it can also be a time of dread and low self-esteem. Reclaiming the confidence to get back into bathers, a nervous leap with that first step, often the hardest. But you can do it. Here is my story. See if it sounds like yours.
"I have a crumble baby belly, boobs are worse for wear after two kids...I'm doing all right...I don't look in the mirror and go 'Oh, I look fantastic!' Of course I don't. Nobody is perfect. I just don't believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, 'This is who I am and look at me not being perfect.' I'm proud of that." ~ Kate Winslet
The Dread: For many of us, although we welcome the warmer weather that the summer season brings, it can also be a time of dread and low self-esteem, as we peel off the layers of clothing and reveal more of our bodies. Sadly, in a world in which the media teaches us that we can and should be 'bikini-ready' six months after giving birth, many of us struggle to approach our changed body shape with a positive mindset.
I'm a Mum and My Body Has Changed Forever: As a mother of three children (all born within 38 months of one another) I know this feeling all too well. I mean, all the necessary bits and pieces are all still there, just in slightly different positions or states of disrepair, but when it comes to the crunch, would I swap motherhood for washboard abs and perky breasts? No, of course not. (Although ask me at bedtime when my youngest is getting up to ask for a glass of water or to use the toilet for the 678th time that night, and I may hesitate before I give my answer!)
The Analysis: As I stand in front of the mirror, in my mind I'm breaking down my body parts, flaw by flaw; my breasts are to low, my tummy is too soft, my bum is too lumpy; we forget to acknowledge the incredible miraculous journey our body has been on to bring new life into the world.
Learning Acceptance: It's not easy, but I am learning to accept, like Kate, that whilst my body may not be perfect, I can still love it. Choosing and wearing clothing that I feel comfortable in plays a large role in this. The truth of it is, although I may be comfortable to wear a bikini in front of my husband and children, I still prefer something a little more flattering (and less revealing) in company.
Taking The First Step: This summer I have given the boardies (and the t-shirt over my bikini top) the flick, in favour of a black one piece. Goodbye lumpy and frumpy, hello confident and sexy!
My Cozzy Had To Come To The Party Too: For me, a one piece ticked all the boxes and here's why:
Firstly, and let me tell you, this is by far my favourite feature, extra power netting in the bodice is a must. Say it with me...power netting (the words are like music to my ears!) Simply put, this helps to pull in your tummy.
So that's the first problem area taken care of. Next up, and I know you'll all agree with me when I say this, swimwear that fits and feels secure around the bust is essential to feeling comfortable and confident. Boning under the arms (so need to worry about losing your bosoms under your armpits if you lie flat) and an inbuilt moulded shelf bra means two things, extra support and no fear of nipples showing through the material. (And yes, I gave that box a very large tick and let out a huge sigh of relief!)
A cozzy with detachable straps is another thing I look for as I like to wear mine strapless. Some come with concealed sticky strip around the top to ensure that there is absolutely no slippage.
A mid rise leg is flattering for me as it hides those little extra bits on my thighs that have taken up residence and don't appear to me moving out any time soon but it doesn't look too frumpy.
Lastly, swimwear that gives me the freedom of movement to play and swim with my children is really important for me; and let's face it, it's a damn site more attractive and feminine that floating around the pool with an over-sized t-shirt billowing up around me like a giant jellyfish.
Finding the right one piece has made me feel confident and comfortable and have received lots of lovely compliments from girlfriends, although my husband still maintains that he prefers me in a bikini – wobbly bits and all. Me? I'm working on feeling the same.
So ladies, what do you say? Time to take what your Mumma gave you and flaunt it? As Cherie K Erdman once said, and I have no doubt of the truth of it, "even the models we see in magazines wish they could look like their own images ."
When she isn't trying to look glamorous at the beach, or sipping a pool side vino, Jolene can be found at Mums Lounge,
where she shares her (often hilarious) parenting adventures on her blog Jolene's Mumbo Jumbo.