Tuesday, 4 August 2015

One Year As A Mother

A lot of the posts you find on my blog will not strictly be related to the fact that I am a nursing mother. Lingerie is an outlet for me to express a side of me that doesn't feel "mumsy", something that I believe is important for any new mother; to retain a sense of yourself amidst the sea of parenthood. However, tomorrow my baby turns one and we celebrate a magical yet slightly nightmarish year of parenting our little munchkin. I've had a rather intense last few years between moving out, starting two different university courses, moving country and getting married. But none of these have changed me in any way near the amount that becoming a mother has and I've been thinking a lot about these changes recently and how they relate to my love of lingerie.

Probably the most obvious way pregnancy and the then aftermath has had an affect on me is physically. Writing about body image, whether positively or negatively, feels quite uncomfortable to me as I am fully aware of my own privilege. I am young, I have always been slender, and to top it all off I am also white. I have also been blessed with good genes (because, seriously, everyone underestimates how much they control) which meant that I didn't put on too much weight during pregnancy, I slimmed down very fast after giving birth, and one year later most of my stretch marks have faded a great deal. In fact, I actually lost weight during pregnancy due to extreme morning sickness during my first trimester which resulted in losing fat stores on my legs and behind (and this would be the year of the ass, thanks Nicki...). These instead migrated to my stomach to protect my ever expanding bump, which meant that 2 weeks after giving birth I was left staring at myself in the mirror, not recognising this body with its uncomfortably large breasts, protruding stomach, and gangly legs.

This complete disassociation lasted many months until I gradually began to get used to my new shape. Projects like Take Back Postpartum and 4th Trimester Bodies slowly helped me learn to love my body for what it had done in creating my son and nourishing him. Also, and I hate to say this I really do, exercise has helped a lot. I started doing Blogilates at home a few months ago and that has made such a huge difference. Not necessarily to my physical shape (though I swear my bum looks a little perkier, wishful thinking?) but to my strength and awareness of what this amazing body of mine is further capable of. On top of all of these aids, lingerie has been essential to me in reclaiming this flesh and these layers of fat as something of my own. I feel beautiful in lingerie and this wonderful community of fellow lingeristas constantly reaffirms that to me every time I post a new picture on instagram. So thank you ladies, you have no idea what you all mean to me.

Moving on to the less physical ways that motherhood has affected me and my lingerie drawer, I am so much more aware of the ethics behind my purchases now. Somewhere between the hormones making me constantly cry over the world's injustices and having far too much time to spend browsing the internet while nursing, I realised that I needed to try my best to not support companies who did not uphold ethical standards. I'm just taking baby steps (get it?) for now, doing things like unsubscribing from emails sent from the likes of Topshop and H&M, but I do aim to start buying from a lot more indie designers in the future.

Another thing which has contributed to my decision to "go indie" is this sudden awareness of how hard it is in the real world. Before pregnancy I was a university student who had only ever worked one part time job in her life and was living pretty comfortably off of a hefty loans package.* Now, as a full time student balancing studies with looking after my baby, I realise that real life is very difficult. For this reason I am left in awe at designers like Ally of Blue Reign, Sarah of Ohhh Lulu, Danielle of Ava Corsetry, and the many other women like them who balance their business alongside motherhood. Independent business owners like these amazing women need support and I for one plan to give it to them as much as possible.

Finally, one of the most important things that motherhood has taught me is that it's really important to treat yourself. Sometimes, that may mean leaving the baby with a family member for a couple of hours while I go out and get some me time. Other times, it involves spending a significant amount on some lingerie that I've been pining over. Recognising that what I do is hard and that it is therefore necessary for me to find ways to make myself happy has taken a while. But now that I'm here, I feel much less guilt about buying myself some luxury lingerie with the aforementioned loans package. I also am so much more appreciative of the level of detail and work that goes into those luxury pieces now that I can recognise just how significantly a beautiful creation can impact my life. Because at the end of the day if I'm happy, my baby's happy. And all I ever want and ever will want is for him to be happy.

Thanks for reading. x

*Here's a tip: get married while studying because they will then assess your income rather than your parents and you will get all the money. Kidding! Kind of...