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Body confidence by Sarah Bettiens

I’ve always had a turbulent relationship with my body. Through my teen years to my early twenties I struggled with binge eating and yo-yo dieting. Even when I thought I was at my healthiest and fittest, I look back now and see a girl who was restrictive and obsessive when it came to food and exercise. 
When I fell pregnant at 24, and subsequently lost that baby, I blamed myself, my body, for failing to keep my baby alive. It wasn’t until I gave birth to my daughter Remi last year that I realised how much I had put myself through over the years. I’d spent so long trying to be skinnier, trying to fit a mould, look a certain way, but when she was born I suddenly realised just how much my body had done for me. It grew me a beautiful baby girl, suffered through a horribly long labour, delivered her, produced food to nourish her, kept going through endless sleepless nights.
 
Pregnancy and motherhood was the best thing thats ever happened to me in terms of body image. I no longer scrutinise every ‘flaw’, instead I embrace them. The stretch marks on my belly and thighs are a reminder of the journey my body went through to bring Remi into this world. My boobs will never be the same, but they’ve provided Remi with nourishment and comfort for almost a whole year now, and will continue to do so until she’s decides she’s enough. 
It’s my hope and mission that my daughter knows from an early age that she is beautiful and strong no matter what size she is. That she knows her worth comes from who she is and not what she looks like. That it’s normal and human to have curves, wiggly bits and cellulite. I want her to know that healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. 
Motherhood is hard enough already without the added pressure of hating our bodies, or being encouraged to ‘bounce back’. My advice for new mums would be to give yourself a break, take your time and enjoy the newborn period, it goes way too quick. Trust your instincts- you’re far more well equipped for this than you think you are. And it may seem like you’ll never survive the sleepless nights, but you will - this is coming from a Mum who’s baby hasn’t once yet slept through the night at 11 and a half months, haha. 
Much love Mumma, you’re an absolute super star x

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