Ch ch changes
When I was pregnant I vowed to myself to not forget who I am or lose myself. Not to become one of those mums I hated who on a night out, bombard you with photos and videos of their kids, whom you have zero interest in.
I sat my gal friends down and told them I needed them to do me a favour. If I started to lose my shit, stop being me and started rocking around in velour tracksuits, ugg boots or wearing my pjs in the street that they needed to box me in the head and tell me to fix up! (Note there is nothing wrong with a tracksuit and Uggs if this is your normal attire and that makes you happy, but it’s a far cry from me!)
I haven’t received said box in the head so I’m hoping despite the slow and inevitable descent into mumsiness and general not giving a shit about how I look most of the time, that I have at least held onto some semblance of self and scrub up alright when I actually go out for lunch or drinks with the girls. But I have completely changed in many ways. Both how I physically look and how I feel about myself.
Let me discuss some of these changes that have developed since having kids. I wonder if you can spot yourself in here?
Although it has fluctuated, and there was a good year of embracing my natural colour when I barely had time to wash it let alone dye it, I have continued to dye my hair in various colours of the rainbow as I always have. The biggest change here is that I spent 90% of the time looking like I could fry an egg on my grease ridden head!
I’ve grown out the fringe because I cannot be dealing with cutting it and a greasy fringe stuck to your forehead is not good. For a good year after having Ravey my barnet saw more dry shampoo than it saw my brush! I can easily go the whole week without washing it if i’m not going anywhere, and days with it tied up in a wild mum bun, without being brushed, until the hairband becomes one with the hair and it’s bordering on needing to get cut out.
I think I have retained a sense of alternative to my attire for the most part, although this has definitely metamorphosed into a mumsy hippy mix and matched with frugi numbers, lots of colour, rainbows and clothing I can whip a boob out of. All my lovely dresses on standby for times out without the kids and life beyond breastfeeding if I can get my big ass in them when that time eventually comes.
Everything needs a pocket, if there isn’t a pocket you are of absolutely no use to me. I need somewhere to stash all the damn snotty tissues, snack wrappers and hairbands that accumulate during the day.
Shoes must be flat and I need to be able to put them on without faffing with any laces or indeed without the use of any hands or bending, if at all possible. Shoes being put on is often accompanied by a small child in a wrap attached to my front and second child with foot in the air demanding I help put on his shoe. I need a shoe that’s practically putting itself on with zero to little input from me! My best friends in the shoe department are a flip flop, which prior to kids were the devil to me with their super uncomfy toe prongs.
Goodbye earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces. We must part before you end up torn off by a savage toddler or leaving indentations on the back of my kids head whilst I feed them or they lay sleeping on me. Teething necklaces and multicoloured bead necklaces made by my kids are the new fashion accessory of choice. Earrings are a no go unless they are studs, which are also no good if you are like me and you don’t like wearing them overnight. Once popped on the bedside table you are essentially waving goodbye to them as a set, as one of those sodding things will be gone by morning. Knocked off the side, eaten or hidden by a small child who sees them and thinks “Ooh treasure!”, Destined to be sucked up the hoover and leave you in an eternal limbo as to where the damned thing went.
Goodbye nice dainty watch and hello chunky rubber incredible hulk indestructible watch. Thankfully for me I’ve always liked a chunky watch so it’s all good.
All bags must be massive with gazillions of sections and pockets to divide up all the shit you now need to carry. It has to have space for an extra outfit for every child, nappy changing stuff, snacks, drinks, first aid bits and other crap you’ve accumulated since having kids. In the fashion of a really disorganised and chaotic Mary Poppins, you will spend forever rummaging in this monstrosity of a bag never being able to locate anything you need at the right time. Be sure to find mashed banana, old raisins, used tissues, and mystery food stuffs at the base of the bag. If you’re lucky you may even find a pound!
Those big old pants I bought for after I gave birth like the NCT lady recommended…… yeah those. They are my everyday, I’m gonna live in these, comfy ugly ass pants. They are the only pants that exist for me now. Eventually replaced them with new big ass pants. Done are my sexy lacy numbers. What did I ever think wearing a thong? I’d lose a thong if I wore one now.
Never in a million years would I have gone out without a bra in my whole adult life. Once my boobs were able to manage breastfeeding without any leaks I went through a whole summer of rocking around south london with no bra. No bra and no shame. Those nursing bras are practically like wearing nothing anyway!
I do mostly wear a bra now, only because I’m scared my boobies will end up at my knees now i’m feeding number 2, but when I’m at home those babies are free! I’ve become some kind of new age uber feminist bra burner! I’m having to whip a boob out every minute so why bother?
There was only 2 months, when I was heavily pregnant with Roo, in the last 4 and half years where I haven’t been breastfeeding and I can honestly say I have no damn clue what bra size I am anymore. I really am in serious need of measuring and purchasing a new bra to make me feel like a worthy woman rather than knocking about in this shoddy rag of a bra. If I had to guess my new bra size I would estimate somewhere on the scale between a juicey grapefruit and a satsuma in a stocking, depending on whether its pre or post feed
I’ve always worn makeup. Not a lot, no foundation or anything, would look like I’d been tangoed on my pasty face, but I wouldn’t be seen dead without mascara and eyeliner. I blame all those years as a goth! I even put on makeup to go into the hospital when I gave birth to Ravey! having contractions in the bedroom at gone midnight, applying mascara like a freak. What the actual fruit loops was I thinking?!?! All the glorious post birth pics featuring a very red in the face Alice Cooper look-alike.
I’m not sure when exactly it changed. For the first 6 months I mostly still wore my faithful smokey eyes and then one day I stopped giving a damn. Maybe it was the reality of a baby on the move and the impossibility of applying it with a baby grabbing at it. Maybe it was that first summer of pushing around a pram and my face melting off. Maybe it was the inevitable rubbing of tired eyes and then remembering you are wearing makeup and now you look like a clown from a horror film, but I made that step and then I couldn’t see the point of doing it anymore. I still wear it if I go out with mates or for special occasions. It’s like a treat which makes me feel I’ve made a real effort. A costume to de-robe from mumma mode into me as a separate entity mode.
Being pregnant was probably the first time in my life where I didn’t feel uncomfortable with my body. I was big because I was supposed to be and I found myself going for figure hugging dresses for the first time in my life to excentuate my expanding bump. I felt great in my body. Following childbirth some of that confidence waned and I still get those days when I feel every single outfit I own doesn’t look right, but on the whole I don’t feel the pressure to look a certain way anymore. I made and birthed two children and this is the magical body that made it possible. Im proud of it. Wobbles, stretch marks and all.
This new found respect and connection with my body has also manifested in a full on hippie epiphany resulting in swapping to natural products, ditching unnaturally derived fragrance and generally letting myself get all hairy maclary. Don’t get me wrong i’m not quite ready to go full swampy and stop shaving altogether but you won’t be seeing any vajazzle going on for me, I’m embracing the natural 70s bush and those armpits and legs definitely go much longer between shaves! It’s partly not giving a feck and partly lack of time. Showers are often a quick in and out affair, between naps and wails.
Looking back to those pregnancy days when I vowed to not lose myself, I had been afraid that having a child would make me different, that it would somehow make me forget who I was and I would get swallowed by this alien version of myself who didn’t know my true identity. It hadn’t occurred to me that a degree of change was essential, that in my pregnancy phase I wasn’t yet ready for all that motherhood brings. I was so fearful of losing myself I hadn’t considered that in losing some parts I would find others. That perhaps I would actually find myself. A truer, more honest and confident version of me. This me has her flaws, as she always has, but on the whole I like her, even if she is a bit of a smelly mess!