Why I'm proud my tummy 'feels like playdough'

'My tummy may be loose and flabby but that's not what my children see.'
'My tummy may be loose and flabby but that's not what my children see.' Photo: My Tribe of Six

Today something happened to me that really got me thinking, something that made me truly think about and appreciate my body and all it has done for me.

It started with my three-your-old lifting up my shirt and attempting to "play" with my belly - naturally my immediate reaction was to try to try pull my shirt back down and asked her not to do that. Then she exclaimed, "But Mumma, your belly feels like playdough, can I please play with your playdough?"

I had a little chuckle to myself because "out of the mouths of babes" and all that. It helped me let go of all inhibition so I embraced my body, my child, and all her innocence.

This was a thought provoking moment for me and a gentle reminder of all those fleeting feelings I have, negative and positive, which come and go as a woman learning to love and accept her body after having a baby.

My body may not be perfect, society may not deem it sexy, and my three-year-old may liken it to playdough, but that's fine with me.

Because my tummy may be loose and flabby but that's not what my children see; they see the home that housed them all for 160 weeks. My body may be covered in stretch marks but the kids beam with pride as they point and exclaim "that one right there, I made it when I was in your tummy, didn't I Mum?" My boobs may be flabby skin with nipples attached, but they fed and nourished all my babies.

If my body can do all that and then provide some playdough for my three-year-old then it's pretty f***ing fabulous, wouldn't you agree?

 

• Stretch Marks + Saggy Skin • I often get remarks thrown at me like "You're soo skinny" or "you can't tell you've had four kids" and my first thought is "well, you havnt seen me naked" and it's true - they haven't (thank god) but honestly, people often underestimate clothing and its ability to "cover" things up (pun intended #dadjoke) but by no means am I trying to hide my "mum tum" No, I totally embrace it because it has done amazing things (like grow and house four kids - frickin' amazing) My point is, is that sometimes we place unrealistic expectations on ourself because of the perceptions we have of other people. You may look at me and think that it doesnt look like I have had kids but thats because you cant see the saggy deflated skin and scars left on my tummy after it stretched to accommodate my growing babes or that my WHOLE body is riddled with stretch marks. No amount of exercise, or creams will fix it - nor could it have been prevented (trust me, i tried it all.. sometimes it just comes down to genetics) and thats fine because i am a big believer in embracing our bodies and what they can and have done for us. But, it makes me sad to think women are looking at others and comparing themselfs to what they see (looks can be decieving) Unless we habe been and are on the same journey in life as the next person then how can you compare? You simply just can't. Embrace your bodies Mamma's and never compare or make assumptions about another because the fact is, you really have no idea. #embraceyourbody #selflove #postpartum #motherhoodblogger #mumtum #lovetheskinyourein #stretchmarks #postbaby #postbabybod #rssau #littleonesnappy

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So should I be ashamed of my body, my loose skin, my saggy boobs, the extra cushion and the stretch marks that cover it? NO. They make me proud. Proud that I was lucky enough to conceive my children, that I carried four of them in my tummy. This body created, grew, birthed and nourished four amazing kids. So why are we defining our bodies by what society says is acceptable and not by what they have achieved?

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Does being a certain size or having a particular body shape define a person? NO. What should define a person is simply who that person is.

Would weight loss make my loose skin and stretch marks disappear? Nope, they're there for life now. So I embrace it and how I got them.

Should I stress and feel guilty about food and exercise? NO. That's not a healthy mind set. For me, some days I eat clean healthy meals, some days I eat Nutella sandwiched between a melting moment (life changing, try it), followed by pizza for dinner.

Some days I exercise, run around with the kids, spend hours cleaning and other days I watch movies with the kids, and spend hours cuddling, reading a book and just chilling.

It's called balance.

Enjoy life. We shouldn't waste it worrying if we think we look too fat, if our boobs are saggy, if there are too many calories in that meal. No regrets: run around with your kids, buy that dress you're worried your bum will look big in, eat that donut you've been eyeing off.

It is important to be healthy, don't get me wrong, but what is even more important is to be happy. Let's focus on being healthy, mind, body and soul.

Here is to our bodies; may we truly appreciate and love them in all their forms.

Stevie Niki is a mum-of-four who blogs about life and motherhood at My Tribe of Six. You can also follow her on Facebook or Instagram.