Category: Feminism

This body; these breasts.

 

I’ve been on adventures with this body and these breasts that have seen me overcome insurmountable challenges, doubts and climb mountains both physical and emotional. I have ridden through waves of doubt that turned into storms of peril, and I’ve come out to see the other side.  I know what I am capable of as a woman, and it isn’t half of what it was until I became a mother.

I don’t think I ever really had a relationship with my own body until I became a mother. I was 19, and until then my body had served as more of a canvas for clothing and make up which I experimented with. It was a body for sex and pleasure, but it wasn’t a body that I really ever felt connected to or even respect for, really. It just was.

But that was ten years ago. It’s different now.

Ten years ago when I first became a mother for the first time. Ten years ago my body first served a purpose to grow, nurture and provide for my belly-dweller when she was thrust earth side. It wasn’t smooth-sailing at first. I remember feeling a lot of regret and resentment towards my body. It didn’t do what it was supposed to, or maybe was it that I just hadn’t been patient enough to allow it to?

I guess it doesn’t really matter. I learned. I learned to trust, to surrender and to let go. My body grew within it life another three times after that first time. It grew expanded and tightened, expanded and tightened and expanded and tightened once more.

I’ve had pregnancies all beyond forty weeks and one that extended into it’s forty-fourth week.

It took me until my third daughter to work out how to breastfeed, for multiple reasons including a traumatic birth and overcoming the residual trauma left behind from sexual assault. Being a woman with itty bitty titties I thoroughly enjoyed the ample bosom that formed while I nourished Wilding and Beans. Looking at my breasts now, one month after my final baby has weaned one month before she turned 3 – and they tell a different story.  They’re probably smaller now than my soft belly is, which by the way is no where near a six pack but that’s okay . My life-sustaining breasts are now a mere blip, where wearing a bra is totally unnecessary but handy in terms of retrieving them from hiding under my armpits.

The top of my hips are now covered with beautiful silvery lines, where my pelvis stretched with the weight of accommodating my babies as they grew.

After ten years of growing and nurturing my offspring, my body is now purely my own.

My body is soft.
My body is strong.
My body is supple, and flexible.
My breasts are small but mighty.

And my lines tell a story all over my body of the journey it has been on.

Oh, the stories I could tell you.

I’m so grateful.

 

 

Bucking the patriarchy.. One pit hair at a time.

 

pit hair don't care

It’s funny but I made the decision to stop shaving my arm pits when Sno was about 8 months old, she’s almost 9 now. I was in the throes of the hellish dark that is post-natal depression after a traumatic induced birth at hospital where I felt totally out of control and stripped raw, naked, like a piece of meat. So as a small way to regain control of my life in my forced attempt to bond and love a baby I birthed, I stopped shaving my pits.

 

Big deal, right? Wrong. Through this small act I consciously collected my strengths and owned my body during a time where I felt completely robbed of any body autonomy, and totally lost in a murky sea of guilt. Here was this baby thrust into my arms who I was apparently supposed to love automatically when all I could think was “how long do I have to have her near me?”. I wouldn’t hear her cries, like I actually could not hear them. I had no interest in having her close to me. I didn’t feel those loving feelings all new mums are supposed to have, I waited for them but they never came and yet the tears never stopped flowing. Surely this wasn’t the way it was meant to be?

 

So in desperation, I sought help. It took medication and weekly therapy with a psychiatrist who suggested something as simple as a bath with my then-six month old baby for me to have the curtains slowly raised on my dark room that was heavy with baggage and numbness for me to begin to love my child. As I grew stronger, I began to question more and more the supposed “care-givers” around me who did no such care towards me. I began to question the status quo. I slowly healed and found my power.. one pit hair at a time.

 

When I stopped shaving my underarms and didn’t automatically do it “just because everyone does it”.  I took control of my body. And would you know it.. but having underarm hair actually makes me feel womanly, fierce, feminine, sexy, strong. My body is mine.

And if what I do makes you uncomfortable, then that is about YOU.. NOT ME.

Be BRAVE!

  
Katie asked me to BE BRAVE so here I am. This is me. No make up. No filters. 

Four babies have grown inside me (for 41+3, 43+1, 42+5 & 44 weeks respectively.. Maybe I’ll share her story soon?). One was born in hospital, the rest were born at home. Four babies have been birthed out of my vagina. Four babies have had nourishment from my breasts in different & unique journeys for different times (I’ve bottle fed, pumped, breastfed through pregnancy, tandem fed & am still feeding the littlest #boobielimpet )

My boobs have gone up, down and east/west. Sometimes they hide under my armpits and other times they enjoy saying hello! 

My belly has been stretched, my ribs have been broken (gotta thank my second-born who was 10lb for that!). I’ve battled through Hyperemesis Gravardium. I’ve had surgery on my kidneys whilst pregnant. 

My hips are decorated with beautiful delicate silvery lines where my body had stretched to support my growing babies while they’ve been womb-dwellers. 
My belly is now soft. 

My body isn’t the same as it was before I became a mother but now it’s even more incredible; because it’s shown its majesty and innate power as it has grown, nourished and supported my #girltribe 

There are no filters. There’s no pretence. Women are the key holders to an entire universe of their own making. 

So before you get all down on yourself because you think you don’t look “right” affording to society’s bullshit standards; or you’re feeling hideous guilt over eating a peice of cake, or maybe you’re beating yourself up over not exercising – just stop for a minute and LOOK at what your body has done, and offer up some gratitude. 
Because it’s done good. And what a story it has to tell! 

Magick! #lovetheskinyourein #selflove #realwoman #motherhood 

Do not discount a woman’s feelings regarding the births of her babies.

When a woman has a baby and the birth didn’t go the way she had hoped, it is incredibly silencing and hurtful to tell her the following 3 things:
1. “Oh but the baby is OK and that’s the main thing.”-
NOT TRUE.
By saying this you are indirectly telling her that her needs are insignificant.That the baby’s health is the top and foremost priority. That a healthy baby somehow erases any trauma, disappointment or hurt that the woman experienced in giving birth. Giving birth whether it is vaginally or via surgery isn’t always a magic life-changing day just for the fact alone that the child was born. This doesn’t happen by default, much to the misunderstanding of others. It definitely can be this way for some women, but there is so much pressure for a woman who has had a baby to hold up this false pre tense that everything was just fantastic when actually it wasn’t. It was shit, for whatever reason. And yes the woman can go on to learn from that experience and she will likely evolve next time she is pregnant – but the health of a baby is NOT the main thing, it is part of the equation.

2. “It’s just one day.”-
EXCEPT IT ISN’T.
Every woman remembers the day she gives birth and how it makes her feel. She may remember what she wore, what she ate, what the weather was like, who was around. She will draw on this experience for the rest of her life. It will either empower her, or make her feel weak and filled with regret for what could or should have been. Giving birth is a sacred rite of passage even to women who may not be in the frame of mind to realise this yet. So it isn’t just one day. The day you become a mother whether it be for the first time, second time or even the fourth time – you become a new mother, again. And each birth is unique of itself and different. Each birth brings new lessons learned and challenges either overcome, or not. It might be one day to YOU, but to the mother – it is not just one day.

3.”But look at the positives.”-
JUST NO.
Part of the healing cycle is to grieve. And in order to grieve one must look at the negatives and feel them, wholly. Once a woman has been able to grieve the loss of a birth she had planned for, dwelled and moped – ont then can she pick herself up off the floor and begin to heal, and move on. This process is different for every woman and can take years for some. And that’s OK. Because you cannot put a time limit on grief. And overcoming birth trauma is the same.

So what CAN you say to a woman who has had a difficult birth?
Well, how about any of the following:

“I’m here for you.”
“Take your time. ”
“Be gentle with yourself.”

When a you visit a woman who has recently given birth you are visiting a woman who is fragile, and highly emotional. What you say to her on your visit can either build her up or break her down. So buy her some chocolate. Bake her some muffins. Do some laundry for her, bring her a meal. Be gentle and tender with her.

It’s not fucking rocket science.

 

Self-care and the critical importance of it to survive motherhood

Do you follow Yoga With Adriene?
I just did a video of hers. HOW did I do it amongst four children? Well I set them up with their lunch at the table outside, I rolled out my yoga mat inside and locked the screen door.. and just.did.it. They squabbled as siblings do. Fought over about 5 tiny pointless things. But I just got on with it. And feel better for it.
As a parent you cannot wait for the “right time” to do stuff for you; because that time won’t ever just magically materialise. YOU need to set it aside.
This is called self-care which is CRITICAL for sanity.
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Self-care is important because you are actually more than “just a mother”. More than just a wife. You had an identity before your children and husband came into your world. Who was that woman? Do you remember? She had her own desires and dreams. She had her own likes and dislikes; not just those punctuated by the screaming intense demands of her children.
Make time every day to do something for you. In fact make time everyday to do MULTIPLE things for you.
 Drink a cup of tea alone while the children play (aka fight) outside.
Do a 20 minute yoga video.
Have a shower alone with the door shut.
Order Indian takeaway after a rough week because dinner is just too fucking hard to accomplish and do NOT feel bad about it.
Brush your hair rather than just bunging it up into a rough bun without so much as a look in the mirror.
Mindfully pick out an outfit and putting on some jewellery you haven’t worn in a while.
Read a book whilst your children play at the park and you pretend they don’t exist for a short while.
Meet a friend for a cup of coffee on the weekend whilst the husband wrangles the smalls at home.
Get your hair done.
Run an “errand” and then include a half hour of reading your book in the car with the air conditioner on.
Go for a run early in the morning if that’s the only time you can manage time alone. Half an hour extra sleep really won’t make much that much of a difference and the run will make you feel substantially better. If you can’t run, walk.
Put a hippydippy CD full of affirmations on in the car and listen to it while your kids are screaming in the background; tune them out and tune into yourself. Breathe.
Pick some flowers and put them inside your house.
Do a HIIT video while the children eat breakfast/fight over which cup they want their fucking smoothies in.

Whatever. Find something for you. Refill your cup. Don’t say you’ll do it. Just do it. Let some stuff go and focus on your own needs.

You matter. Your children need a parent who role models self-care in this world. Trust me.

The con of the “good” girl.

So we live in a society where there is a huge emphasis on females being a “good”-something.

Good girl.
Good baby.
Good daughter.
Good wife.
Good mother.

VOMIT.

Can we just stop and explore all this for a moment?

According to the general population; a little girl is only “good” if she is overly feminine, obedient, quiet, and clean.

A baby is only a “good” sleeper if she sleeps through the night from a very early age.

A daughter is only “good” if she pleases her mother and puts her needs second to her mother’s.

A wife is only “good” if she has an immaculate house, fucks her significant other regularly and with enthusiasm and has dinner on the table and a laundry bucket of the non-overflowing variety.

A mother is only “good” if she plays endlessly with her children, is patient at all times, always puts her needs second, provides healthy and varied nutritional meals for her offspring and is generally at the beck and call of her children at. all. times.

WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT.

Firstly; little girls come in all varieties: they can enjoy trucks, enjoy playing in the dirt, love blue, they can love playing with dolls, they can love soccer or dinosaurs!. They can be outspoken, spirited, filthy and they can also be shy and quiet, too. In fact even though it’s frustrating at the time for us parents while we navigate this journey that is raising small girls; shouldn’t we be encouraging them to find their voice and USE IT in a world where so often women are put on the peg below men just because they don’t have a penis? There is SUCH a double standard that exists in our world that isn’t it a survival mechanism for little girls to question authority, push the acceptable boundaries that exist and have their voice heard?

As for the good baby situation; are you for real? Does a child become suddenly “bad” and unlovable if they are not sleeping all night; are waking (as is biologically normal); need to be held a lot (as is biologically normal)? Why is there this expectation that we make a baby, grow a baby, birth a baby and then as soon as they’re earth side we spend no time just being with them but forcing them to be independent? And then act completely put-out when they do not toe our line and act according to our desires. Fuck sake. What is the rush? Babyhood, childhood – both are so fleeting. Slow down. Hold them. Embrace them. Breathe them in.

Daughters are definitely a lot easier to have around when they put everyone else’s needs first. But at what cost? Do we really want to raise little girls to be women who are happy to be shoved on the sideline; happy to come second; happy to have their own needs and identity lost because they’re deemed insignificant or inferior compared to the needs of others? I sure as hell do not want to raise my girls to be compliant. They may be feisty, loud and opinionated now and drive me around the bend at times but I know that when they’re older and have pressure on them they’ll hold up their own against it.

Wives and husbands or wives and wives make up a team. If one works and is at home; one isn’t worse off than the other – they just have different roles. And they both require support and understanding. And they’re both fucking hard. Sex isn’t a need, it is a want, a desire. And it is not a given. It does not exist purely because it does. Relationships and libido ebbs and flows and not only is that OK it’s the nature of life. Women are not doing their partners a disservice by not putting out; just like they’re not being put out if it just isn’t happening for their significant others. Stop the expectations. Start communicating properly. Use a damn whiteboard if need be.

And finally: isn’t a good mother one that mindfully spends her time raising her children to be loving, compassionate, considerate and independently minded little people, tolerant and accepting of others? One that encourages self-love? Good mothers put their own needs first at times, even when they don’t believe they’re worthy of it. Because they always always are. Good mothers encourage their children to be self-sufficient whilst also maintaining the connection with their offspring that solidifies their attachment in times of utter disarray, uncertainty and chaos. Good mothers encourage their children to embrace the utterly messy, loud, chaotic, exciting, free and liberating thing that we call childhood.

Words are definitely powerful. And their definitions are worthy of exploration.

Next time someone asks you if your daughter, baby or wife is “good”; I challenge you to ask them what they mean exactly.

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