Monday, 25 September 2017

Maternity Clothes and the Self-Confidence Crisis


TW: eating disorders

Over the last few months, my self-confidence has started to go downhill. I don't feel as good about myself as I used to. It sounds shallow but I miss feeling attractive. I feel like it has crept up on me over these few months and now I am feeling the full effects.

For most of my life, I have struggled with my weight. Last year, I reached the weight that I had always fantasised about achieving but doubted I ever actually would manage. I was a small size 10 - I liked to tell myself that a size 8 would probably be a better fit. Granted, I had treated my body so poorly to get to this point and, looking back, this weight loss feels more like a low point than an achievement. I realised that the problem was my self-confidence, not my size. I wasn't any happier as a size 10 than as a size 16. Heck, I think I was less happy because I felt like I hadn't achieved enough. I became obsessed with the tiny pocket of fat on my lower stomach. I would spend so much time in the mirror charting my 'progress'. I realised that if you don't love yourself at the size you are now, you won't love yourself once you've lost weight. It isn't a miracle solution to all your problems.

For months, I worked my way through my obsession with weight loss and focussed on giving my body what it needed rather than restricting myself. I wanted to get back to being the kinda girl who would order a chocolate cake in a café and not be adding up the calories in my head. With help from my husband, I got back on track and I was in a happy place. I rediscovered my love for takeaway pizza and I deleted the calorie counting app from my phone. Then I found out I was pregnant.

Admittedly, I did worry how the inevitable weight gain would affect me. I knew from the start that my body would change in crazy ways and the weight definitely did pile on fast. After only a couple of weeks, I had gone up a dress size in jeans. But I knew that there was no escaping this. I ate when I felt hungry. I gave into cravings and didn't push myself too hard with the exercise. 7 months in, I feel proud of my pregnancy body. I love my bump and I don't even mind the little extra chub I've gained because I know I need this extra weight for breastfeeding. I am proud of my body for carrying my child so well.

The problems come about when I have to try to dress this new body. I never realised how much of my identity and my relationship with my body is based on feeling good in what I am wearing. My self-confidence has been on the decline in the last few months because I just don't have anything to wear. I have tried maternity clothes but they just aren't me. I find myself wandering around clothes shops looking at the new season clothes and wishing that the maternity section was that exciting. I mean, sometimes I don't want to wear jersey striped tops and bodycon everything.


Jumper - Primark (similar)
Jeans - Mothercare (here)
Boots - New Look (similar)
Gilet - Primark (similar)

Of course, there are maternity clothing brands that are an exception to this. ASOS do a lovely range of maternity clothes and I recently picked up these jeans from Mothercare which I adore. I love seeing brands make maternity jeans that are soft, comfortable, have a great belly band, and actually look kinda cool. I love the classic blue colour and the ripped knees give me a 'I'm a cool mom' kinda vibe. On the same shopping trip, I picked up this jumper. Admittedly, it isn't as long as I would like to it be but I love the embroidered design on the arms. The best thing is that it is big and comfy whilst still looking nice. It is like a fluffy burst of autumn in my wardrobe. I paired the jeans and jumper with my all-time favourite chunky ankle boots and a gilet that definitely doesn't fit anymore and I finally feel a bit more 'me'. I feel like I have found an outfit that brings together all the autumn vibes that I absolutely love but is also comfy on my bump. When I wear this, I feel happier in myself. I am starting to feel more normal. I think I need to keep pushing myself to make an effort with my appearance like doing my makeup and not just scraping my hair back into a messy bun. 

To any other soon-to-be mums that are feeling the same, I would say that you have to be persistent in your search for clothes that make you feel like you again. Don't give up on maternity brands as they do often stock some nice pieces but also look in normal clothing shops - especially now that lots of brands are bringing out their winter jumpers which are a great way to wear a trend that is also not hugely uncomfortable. Also take some time to focus on yourself. Get your nails done, buy yourself some new makeup, pick up a swishy dress that flows over your bump and shimmy around in it.

Pregnancy can make you lose yourself. Your thoughts become focused on your little one - that's natural. But try not to lose sight of your own needs. You are still important and even though your priorities are shifting, make sure you don't let yourself fall to the bottom of the pile.

What tips would you give to soon-to-be mums when it comes to body confidence? What is your favourite maternity brand?
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4 comments

  1. You look lovely. Definitely a very stylish mummy to be :)

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    1. Awh thanks!! You should see me 85% of the time in my PJs covered in biscuit crumbs haha

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  2. I think you look fab! But I can really relate to this post. I was in the middle of losing weight (a process with mixed success spanning years) when we got pregnant and I really worried about not being in the shape I had wanted but also being taken further away from my goals.

    Actually as it turned out pregnancy has been good for my self confidence as I've had to wear clothes outside my comfort zone. But I worry a lot about how I'll feel post partum as I can hide behind my bump in a way.

    The selection of maternity clothes on offer isn't great, I've loved ASOS and H&M but have stuck to a few pieces and returned a lot of stuff. I agree though it's worth persevering as when I've found stuff I feel comfortable in it's helped so much!

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    1. Totally agree! I do tend to hide behind my bump too. Having a legitimate reason for my big belly has been kinda liberating. Hopefully I'll be so occupied with bubba that I won't worry about my body postpartum - that's my prayer anyway!

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