The Marks Of Life

I’ve had this song going round in my head for days.

In case you missed it, it’s blogger Sophie McCartney’s take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape Of You’ from a Mum’s perspective; gagging at the smell of baby poo and vomit, dealing with toddler tantrums, wondering where that strange smell is coming from, dealing with fussy toddlers at mealtimes, thanking God for CBeebies. It’s all there.

It was funny the first time, and the second, and the third… And now whenever ‘Shape Of You’ comes on the radio I no longer hear Ed’s original lyrics. Even if I do sing under my breath because I don’t really want the kids singing ‘Smell of Poo’ at the top of their lungs at every opportunity; scatological humour being their very favourite, of course, they’re kids…

Except one refrain keeps jarring with me; “What have you done to my body?”, sung as she wriggles and struggles trying to fit into a pair of jeans.

I can’t blame or credit my kids for my body – it looks pretty much the same as it did before they came along; saggy bits, wobbly bits, stretch marks, flat feet; it all predates them! No blame on their little heads!

Which got me wondering… do some skinny mums resent their kids for what pregnancy has done to their figures? Even if it’s just a tiny tiny bit, buried deep in the subconscious, that’s terribly sad.

Personally, I feel it would be far better to resent society and the beauty industry for suggesting that women should conform to some unrealistic ‘spring back into shape’ notion immediately after childbirth – but it’s hard to argue with the subconscious!? I know the mum in the video is playing for laughs, but as the saying goes ‘ many a true word spoken in jest’.

I’d never considered how the flipside of pressuring new mums to get back into shape, actually subtly implies that the children are to blame; the magazines don’t tend to call it ‘pregnancy weight, but ‘baby weight’, after all and language is a very subtle but powerful manipulator.

I don’t buy magazines, nor seek this sort of thing out online, so I don’t see this on a regular basis, but now I’ve been thinking about it, I’m glad this sort of content doesn’t appeal to me. Certainly, having a quick look before writing this showed just how much judgemental content there is out there for new mums in terms of body image.

When I’d just had my babies, I was blissfully ignorant of any such pressures! In hindsight, being fat and opting out of mainstream media actually seems like a really positive life choice! I just got on with being a new mum, trying to fathom my path through the sleep-deprived, bodily-fluid-covered, chocolate-digestive-fuelled world that is early parenthood; enjoying it and being exhausted by it in roughly equal parts.

At a time of the greatest upheaval and steepest learning curve in their lives, women should be able to just be with and enjoy their babies! But seriously, could this actually affect how women bond with their babies – wasting valuable time and effort trying to get back into the pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, and potentially feeling a sense of failure if they don’t achieve that lauded goal at a time when our hormones are naturally all over the place surely can’t be ideal?

I know I moan at times of the treatment of bigger mums. But actually, in this case I’m glad that my early days as a mum weren’t infected with this kind of poison. I felt no such pressure. Plenty of other pressures around keeping a tiny human alive, but none of this nonsense, and for that I am eternally glad.

For me, pregnancy and childbirth was (and should be!) a time of absolute wonder and amazement at what my not-so-little body was capable of. Well, wonder, amazement and general queasiness, but hey, that means the hormones are all working as they should, right?

Right from the first realisation that carrying a child had suddenly awakened my ‘spidey-senses’ and I was now able to detect the nauseating whiff of a tuna sandwich from half a kilometer away, to feeling the babies wriggling around inside me, to discovering that the dairy had sprung into production surprisingly early (about 20 weeks early!), through to having two awesome, pop-a-pea-out-of-a-pod births, and then feeding them well into toddlerhood, my amazing body did all of that, and I’m bloody proud of it. Wobbly bits and all.

In the Willy Russell play/film Shirley Valentine, the inveterate charmer, Costas talks about Shirley’s stretch marks:

Don’t, don’t be too stupid to try to hide these lines. They, they are lovely, because they are part of you, and you are lovely, so don’t, don’t hide, be proud. Sure. These marks show that, that you are alive, that you survive. Don’t try to hide these lines. They are the marks of life.

Shirley replies – to the audience; “Aren’t men full of shit?”, but do you know, I’m with Costas one hundred percent. Shirley reads too many magazines…

Pregnant? Size 28-30? Would You Like a Free Pair of Jeans?

I’ve had a request from Just Maternity Jeans.

****UPDATE**** Thanks for your interest, this promotion is now closed.

They are looking for a pregnant lady who is a UK size 28-30 who would like to receive a free pair of maternity jeans in return for providing a review of them. Could this be you?

Just Maternity Jeans have been selling this range for a while in sizes from UK 22 to 30, but haven’t received much feedback on whether women like them. Although sales have been slow but steady, they’re unsure whether to reorder.

http://www.justmaternityjeans.co.uk/products/maternity-plus-size-jeans.

Free JeansHere’s what the website says: “with an over the bump supportive panel that sits around your growing bump from first appearance through to full term. Feature pockets at the back are stitched in brown trim. Leg Length is 33″.  Made from 98% cotton and 2% elastane. ”

They have just one pair left in size 30 to try to get a review!

If you’d like to be the lucky lady, or you already own a pair of these jeans and would like to leave your thoughts, please leave a reply below this blog post by clicking where it says ‘Leave a reply’.

In the comments box, leave a short message saying how far along in your pregnancy you are and why you’d like to review the jeans, and in the next box underneath that, leave an email address where you can be contacted (only Big Birtha admin can see it here) and your details will be passed on confidentially to Jules at Just Maternity Jeans.

If you’re reading this on Facebook or Twitter, please feel free to like and share, but don’t leave your reply and email address as a comment for security reasons, come through to the blog and reply there.

If you’re not a size 28-30, or don’t fancy writing a review, there’s lots of good deals to be found on the Big Birthas Bargains page! Or if you find your own Big Birthas Bargain, please help other ladies out and use the simple form to post the details!

Big Birtha x

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!