Today I stood in front of the mirror ... brace yourselves ... Naked.
Now ordinarily this is something I would avoid at all costs -
1. Because who stands in front of the mirror naked? Who does that? Its just weird,
2. Because it opens up opportunities for a certain inquisitive toddler to poke and laugh, and
3. Because generally when I do, I see myself naked!
I have never much liked my body and have had a bit of an issue with it for as long as I can remember.
At school, I was the short one. And when I say short, I mean midget.
I know what you are thinking. Short isn't necessarily bad, look at Kylie Minogue! But combined with a bad mullet haircut (courtesy of my non-hairdresser mum) and a rather chubby face I looked more like a guinea pig with dodgy hair.
Up until my late teens it was fair to say, I looked like a boy. I was straight-up, straight-down and I remember, every night, praying to the stars to be given some boobs!
Then one day, BOOM! Just like that, I woke up one morning (or so it seemed) with my very own set of knockers! I was thrilled. However, along with the puberty that gave me my much longed for cleavage, came frizzy hair and and puppy fat! Not so thrilled.
After school I seemed to yo-yo between a size 8 and a size 12. I didn't diet. I didn't exercise. Any weight gain or loss, I put down to how much pie I was eating. And sometimes ... there was a lot of pie!
Age 20 Size 12
After a relationship broke down when I was 21, my weight plummeted to just 7 stone 11 and I dropped to a size 6. I am not going to lie, I liked being thin but I wasn't eating enough and became ill.
Age 21 Size 6
When I met my fiance Chris, in the summer that year I decided to get healthy and put on some more weight. I found this weight gain quite difficult psychologically and when I fell pregnant at 22 I worried I would hate my larger image.
I loved it.
If I could be pregnant all the time I would. I have never felt so beautiful and happy with my body as I did when I was pregnant. I was immensely proud of my growing bump and would show it off at any given opportunity. Pregnancy gave me an excuse to eat and not care about gaining weight .. because let's face it, the baby made me do it!
Towards the end of pregnancy I began to worry about losing the weight after the birth.
I remember one of the first things did in the moments after giving birth was to poke my stomach and I cringed when my finger was swallowed by my giant, floppy, jelly belly.
In my first bath after having Mya I looked down and was shocked at the body I saw. It felt like I had not only had a baby but a full body transplant! I had been given the body of an 80 year old! I wobbled my wrinkly belly, prodded my swollen breasts and ran my fingers across what felt like a cattle grid of stretchmarks across my thighs.
Mya checking out the menu for dinner
Three days later, as if it couldn't possibly get any worse, my milk came in. You are warned that your breasts get bigger when breastfeeding but, Jesus, this was just rediculous! I had exploded from a C cup to a Double E! I had woken up with what felt like two bowling balls strapped to my chest. It was a joke. People would come and visit us and say things like I knew you had a baby but no-one mentioned you had twins too!
Ha ha such comedians.
Considering I class getting up off the sofa to make a coffee exercise, I feel very lucky that I lost the baby weight so quickly. My belly was a lot flatter within a couple of months and I had dropped back down to my pre-pregnancy weight by the time she was 10 months old.
However, although the weight dropped off, I found myself left with two wrinkly, deflated balloons on my chest, bigger hips and a wobbly belly which Mya likes to use as a bouncy castle for her Lego men!
I now sit at a healthy 9 stone and wear a size 10. I'm not going to pretend that I wouldn't love to get back in my size 8 jeans but I would say that right now I am at peace with my body.
So, today, when I looked in the mirror naked, I didn't see a short schoolgirl, I didn't see a chubby adolescent and I didn't see a skinny size 6.
I saw a body marked with imperfections.
I saw a body that created a brand new little person.