I had to go bra shopping the other day. The first time I’d bought a new bra since while I was pregnant, so over a year and a half ago. I’ve lived the last almost 7 years in maternity bras. 4 and a half years spent breastfeeding and practically the rest pregnant. This time I was looking for a sexy bra…underwire, strapless, you know the deal. One of those bras you handwash, not throw in with the rest of the laundry!
As everyone woman knows, bra shopping can be painful at the best of times. Let alone when you have to bring your children with you! The bras don’t fit, or they don’t have your size. Your cup size is wrong and often you just walk out with whichever bra you grabbed so you can just end the whole experience. After all, experts say that 80% of women are wearing the wrong size of bra.
I knew all of this and knowing that I’d have my kids with me I thought I’d measure myself before going to the shops and look up the corresponding size and cup size so I’d have at least an idea of which ones to look for. After 3 kids and many years breastfeeding, they’ve changed a lot!
I stood in my bedroom with my tape measure (something that is so exciting! can you hear the sarcasm??) and measured my bust. I thought to myself “okay my boobs are 108cm and chest is 93cm). And I had this complete moment of clarity. I was measuring the size of my breasts and chest. Not me. My boobs are on me, but they don’t define me.
I’ve always loved my breasts. They’re changes since being pregnant and breastfeeding have hit me harder than any other change to my body. It’s been a journey, me and my two boobs. I am eternally grateful for the loving experience of feeding my children which has brought me such joy. Breastfeeding hasn’t always been an enjoyable experience and I’ve had my fair share of challenges along the way. At times I have disassociated from my boobs. They’ve been something outside of me whose sole purpose is to feed my child. Other times they have been integral to my sense of feminity and sexuality.
However, at that moment, standing there, I became acutely aware of how my breasts were outside of me. They didn’t define my spirit, or who I was. They didn’t hold my memories. They didn’t relate to people and share a journey with another soul. They were basically fatty tissue and milk laded ducts that were just there. As I stood there I looked at my body in the mirror. Now like many mums there are parts of my body I wish were a little smaller, tighter and perkier. But overall I’m completely proud of my body and I love it. Yes, I carry some extra weight, but my body has been pregnant four times and birthed three children. I also don’t do any formal exercise at the moment, but that’s another story!
There’s a wonderful body positive conscious movement going on for mums. The idea that our body is supposed to snap back within weeks or even months of giving birth is for the vast majority of us (who don’t have personal trainers, personal chefs, dieticians, full-time nannies etc…) is unrealistic. I believe we’ve reached a point in the movement and in society where this is accepted.
I want to push the envelope one step further, bear with me…
In that moment, standing there looking at myself in the mirror I saw how I was more than my body. I truly understood how my physical form is merely a vessel for my spirit to complete its work on this earthly realm.
I am more than my cup size.
I am more than my dress size.
I am more than the colour of my skin.
I am more than my freckles or the colour and length of my hair.
I am more than a mum.
I am more than a woman.
I am more than Heather.
I am a spiritual being.
I felt completely at peace in that moment. It was the most amazing, almost orgasmic sensation. I’ve meditated, had great sex and taken some fun drugs in my life, but that moment I was a complete peace. It was if the world paused. It was beautiful.
I didn’t just “accept” my post-pregnancy body. I wasn’t just grateful for it. I wasn’t just having a body positive moment. I was at peace.
It was a different perspective. I was looking at myself from the outside in. No criticism, no judgment, no name calling, no regrets. I was just observing the vessel of this lifetime.
I’ve thought about that moment many times since then. Trying to decipher what it meant, what my lesson was. I decided to write my experience here not only to share it but to also make sense of it. Perhaps someone reading this may shed some light on what happened.
Where to from here?
Well, I keep thinking about that. Like many of us, eating better, doing more exercise, losing some extra weight we’re carrying is often at the forefront of our minds. Living life wishing we could be something else, have a different body that we do. Does coming to peace with my body in such a profoundly spiritual moment mean that I don’t do anything to improve my physical health?
Of course not. Thanks to all my training and years as a Registered Nurse I am acutely aware of the importance of having a healthy body, balanced diet, and an active lifestyle. From here on out though, my focus will not be to change my body because it is “bad”, but instead come from a place of loving respect for the muscles, bones, tissues, nerves, cells that make my life possible.
Thanks to my life, my children are here. Thanks to my life, I am able to serve mothers through my business, my life’s purpose. Thanks to my life, I am able to love my family and friends and support them in whichever way they need.
Looking after myself from this moment out is in true respect and self-love for my body. And indulging is enjoying this world and a true celebration of the joy of the experience of food and relaxation.
I feel so much lighter and I am absolutely loving it!
If you’re reading this and you’ve been harsh on your post-baby body, I urge you to look deep and see how you are much more than your body can ever be. If you have a lightbulb, spiritually awakening moment like me, I’d love to hear it!
Yours in peace,