Sharing the love

The BigBirthas website has been active for a little over two years now. While I haven’t ever got as much time as I’d like to work on the site, it isn’t hard to stay motivated, as every so often I get a lovely email from someone in the BigBirthas community about how the site has helped them.

I don’t usually share them, but thought maybe it’s time I did (with permission!) so here is my most recent lovely email from ‘Jo’:

I just wanted to say an enormous THANK YOU for your website! I have just discovered I am pregnant after trying to conceive for some time so am over the moon! But am already being body-shamed and fed so many scare stories from the medics that I fear they will make me high risk purely through scaremongering! I’m certain sure my body is not high risk and needed some evidence and research to back it up!

Your wealth of information and reassuring guidance on your amazing website has calmed me down and empowered me to advocate for myself during appointments and in particular, push strongly for a water birth which I have always wanted. This must have taken an awful lot of time and effort (there is so much info there!), but it is a lifesaver for women like me. I will be visiting your page often throughout the next few months!

Thank you

Jo

So for Jo (huge congratulations!) and everyone else reading this, you are most welcome. It has been and remains truly a pleasure.

I’m only sorry I still haven’t got round to finishing researching and writing the many articles that are still languishing in my ‘draft’ box – many of which are little more than titles. I still think I will get round to it! But it seems the right time to reflect. I’ve been involved in a few campaigns over the time that BigBirthas has been active – trying to positively influence birth treatment and outcomes, for everyone, not just the larger ladies in our community, and now the Maternity Review was just published yesterday. I’ve not read all of it yet (there’s over 100 pages!) but it does seem to be suggesting more woman-centred care, which can only be a good thing, in my opinion!

So if you’ve just found out you’re pregnant and are apprehensive of what the future brings, welcome. There’s a community here. Be strong. Have faith in your body’s innate abilities. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Request to see the evidence base on which treatment is being recommended, and object/refuse/work to find an alternative where you experience prejudicial treatment that has no good evidence for its imposition.

And if you’re ever feeling low, or as though you’re not ‘supposed’ to be pregnant, do a Google image search for ‘fertility goddess’ or ‘mother goddess’. See those carvings and sculptures of women with big breasts, big hips and big tummies?

The ancient people who made those figures knew what they were talking about.

You are a goddess.

Don’t you forget it.

Hotmilk Nursing Bra Review

So, I was contacted by Hotmilk and asked if I’d like to do a review of one of their nursing bras. Hotmilk Nursing BraWell, I jumped at the chance because I’ve never treated myself to one of theirs. I chose this one:

Show Off Floral Nursing Bra – £32.90
in a 42GG (the largest size they currently offer is 42H).

I arrived at this measurement with a little surprise, as I normally wear a 40 FF or G, but then, I haven’t been measured in a while and it’s estimated that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size…

In fact, following the measurements on the size guide, I should have chosen a 44GG, but Hotmilk doesn’t sell any 44 bras at present. Given the discrepancy, I ordered the 42GG and hoped for the best.

Now, before I get onto the review of the bra itself, I need to mention that the Hotmilk website and I didn’t get off to a great start.

Having decided I was looking for a 42GG bra, I entered those details into the ‘Filter by Size’ / ‘Filter by Cup’ options at the top of the page. Brilliant idea. The filter returned six bras, including
<<< this lovely number:
the Dawn Black Nursing Bra, currently on sale for £19.95 (I’ll add it to the Big Birthas Bargains page in a minute), but it turns out that in larger sizes it’s actually only available in a
38 FF, G, or H, 40 FF, or GG, and 42 C, or FF. Disappointing. This filter really needs to take account of in stock bras, in my opinion, although I can see the argument that it could be helpful to know what bras are available if you want to wait for one you really like that’s out of stock.

So, anyway, the bra arrived very quickly, and as soon as I removed it from the packet it was very clear to see that the build quality is excellent. The clips on the cups are sturdy and well-attached, the straps are wide and strong, and the adjustment buckle and ring attachments are both sturdy metal. There is also a triple row of hooks on the back fastener, with six closure positions for adjustment.

To my surprise, when I put it on it was not tight at all. Remember, I was supposed to have ordered a 44GG according to my measurements! I have actually only worn it on the tightest setting, but it is sooooo comfortable. I would even go so far as to say that it is possibly one of the most comfortable bras I have ever worn.

It doesn’t move around during the day, my boobs are held in a great position, the shoulder straps don’t dig in, and more importantly, I had no issue with the shoulder straps folding in half – which is something that occurs on some wide-strapped bras in my experience, completely negating the point of having a wide strap in the first place. This didn’t happen. Those shoulder straps are serious engineering!

The cups have a little stretch in them, so would cope well with the ebb and flow in size of breastfeeding breasts. (Again, I feel the GG is more generous than I need. If I order another I think I could be tempted to go with my usual size of 40G). The nursing clips can easy be fastened and unfastened with one hand.

My only issue is that with this design, the cups come quite high up the chest, and while I don’t wear particularly low-cut tops, my clothing choices were restricted because the bra could be seen at the neckline, but it’s a small niggle. I can always wear a different bra on those days.

All in all, I have been very impressed. Hotmilk are not the cheapest bras on the market, but you certainly get what you pay for, the quality is second to none.

You can buy direct from Hotmilk Lingerie, or their bras can also be found in varying designs, prices and sizes at other retailers such as:

Figleaves

Amazon

House of Fraser (up to 38HH, but some on sale)

Nursing Bra Shop

Bras 4 Mums

I’m off to buy a 40GG Dawn Black before they’re out of stock…

Looking For A Bargain?

I’ve always got one eye open for a cheeky bargain. And when I’m updating the links for this site I often spot great deals, so I thought I might as well share them with you!

Hop along to Big Birtha’s Bargains – I’ll post links to any reduced price plus-size maternity wear (or regular items that could be suitable as maternity wear) I find, please feel free to post any good deals you spot.

Even if you wouldn’t fit into that gorgeous bargain of a size 22 babydoll dress, some other Big Birtha out there might be looking for just that!

Why We Should Be Positive About Our Bodies – To Our Sons As Well As Our Daughters…

Article Originally posted here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rita-templeton/why-i-want-my-sons-to-see-me-naked_b_5797920.html

“I live with a houseful of boys: four, to be exact. But they’re still relatively young — so there are no nudie mags stashed between mattresses, no stealthily-accessed porn sites that someone forgot to erase out of the Internet history, nothing like that. As much as I’d love to think my kids won’t be curious, I’m well aware that won’t be the case: those things are looming and will probably start happening much sooner than I’d like. (I mean, if I had my druthers, they wouldn’t even think about sex until they were like 25.)

But before all that happens — before they’re exposed to boobs that are as round and firm as cantaloupes and pictures of taut, airbrushed, dimple-less butts — I’m exposing them to a different kind of female body.

Mine.

Ours is not a modest household. I don’t lounge around in the buff like my boys do (and I spend more time saying, “Put on some pants!” than anything else) — but I’ve never refrained from changing clothes in front of them, or leaving the door open when I shower, or nursing babies without a cover. Because I want them to see what a real female body looks like. Because if I don’t — and their first images of a naked woman are the impossibly perfect physiques in those magazines or those movies — what kind of expectations will they have? And what woman could ever live up to them?

Between you and me, I’m dismayed, big time, by my post-baby body. But for the sake of my boys — and my future daughters-in-law — I lie through my teeth. When they ask about my stretch marks, I tell them proudly how growing a baby is hard work, and that they’re like badges I’ve earned (gaming references always hit home with dudes, no matter what you’re explaining). As much as I’d like to cringe and shrink away when they touch my squishy belly, I let them squeeze my flab between their curious fingers. Do I hate it? Yes. I want to wail, “Leave my fat alone!” and run for the nearest oversized T-shirt (or, like, the nearest liposuction clinic).

But I don’t. Because for right now, for these few formative years, my flab is their one and only perception of the female body. And I want them to know that it’s beautiful, even in its imperfection.

2014-09-11-Templetons.jpg
I tell them how strong my body is. They see me work out. They see me make healthy food choices, but still indulge my love of baked goods. And though — like most women — I might inwardly beat myself up over my jeans getting too tight, or groan in frustration at the numbers on the scale, I’m never anything but proud of my body in front of my boys. Even when I feel the complete opposite inside. Instilling a positive body image is not an issue reserved for people with daughters — and for boys, it involves not only making them confident about their own bodies, but also letting them know that real is beautiful when it comes to the opposite sex.

I don’t want to do them, or any women they might happen to see naked in the future, the disservice of telling them that saggy boobs are bad or that a little bit of flab is something to be ashamed of. I want them to know that this is the norm, not the nipped-tucked-and-digitally-enhanced images they’re going to be bombarded with. Sure, they’ll gawk at those bouncy boobies and flat stomachs and perky butts… but I have hope that, deep down inside, they’ll know that isn’t the standard to which they should hold women’s bodies. Like, ever.

There will come a time when I cover up when they’re around. I’m sure at some point I’ll hear, “Ugh, Mom, put some clothes on!” or that they’ll learn to knock before barging into the bathroom (which sounds heavenly — I’m not gonna lie). But until then, I’ll let them run their fingers along my stretch marks, and grin and bear it when they squeal with delighted laughter at the way my butt jiggles when I walk across the room to grab a towel. Because while they’re young, I want to plant the seed — so that when they’re older, and their wives say, “I wish my thighs were smaller,” my sons can say, “They’re perfect just the way they are.”

And mean it.”