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  • Clare Bowers

Picture Perfect, well almost!





As expected, my body changed during my pregnancies. I

didn’t put a lot of weight on, mainly due to the morning

sickness, but I did gain a beautiful bump where my babies

were developing. There were days when I would look down

and smile knowing that my baby was safe and healthy. But

then there would be times when I would feel irritable and

huge and I would be counting down the days to my due date.

It’s a rollercoaster ride of so many thoughts and feeling.


Sometimes I would look down to admire my baby bump and

my mind would tell me that my body was overweight and

alien.


After I had my first baby, I was obsessed with losing weight

and getting my body back in pre-pregnancy shape. I thought

this was my own choice and it would make me feel so much

better about myself. But it was insecurity about my

relationship with my partner at the time. If only I’d confronted

the truth then (that being a size eight doesn’t keep people

loyal), I might have enjoyed those first few weeks as a new

mother a little bit better than I did.


I also had the picture-perfect images of the media and social

media adding to this though, even without the influence of

my partner at the time.


This was not my mind and body telling me to exercise or

change my lifestyle, this was external pressure and it’s not the

healthy way of making changes. Making a change should be

your choice.


We all have at least one friend on our social media whose life

looks so beautiful and picture perfect, to the point where you

think that they must have professional photographers. They

never have a mental breakdown on their social media. You

know those posts where you personally spend hours writing,

delete every attempt, then finally get it right, post it and then

immediately regret it.


Thinking that the time spent in that negative moment won’t

affect you or your life, isn’t true. When you take a step back to

see the bigger picture, it’s you who has the problem here and

not the person who has posted about their lives onto their

own social media account. It hurts, I know! That moment

when you’re taking all of the rubbish, confusion, lack of sleep

and craziness that is your own life, out onto people who don’t

even know you’re doing it, and whose stories you don’t know

beyond social media.


That’s not who you are, or what you believe in. Does driving

negativity out onto our friends, family and complete strangers

make our own lives more positive or make us feel any better

inside? No, it doesn’t. Reign this in and adapt a healthier

approach to managing all of these unwanted and unneeded

thoughts and behaviours.


Not feeling picture-perfect was one reason that I hibernated at

the start of motherhood. The hibernation of a new mum is

more common than I thought. I didn’t realise that until I

shared my story with other women who I trusted enough to

know that they would not judge me or label me as a bad

mother.


When I had my first baby, I wasn’t aware of any baby classes

or groups that I could go to and share my thoughts with other

mums. There must have been local groups for me, we weren't

in the stone ages as I’m only talking thirteen years ago, but I

didn’t know who to ask. I also didn’t feel sure enough of

myself as a mum to know that there are always ladies out

there who will make you feel welcome.


The younger me thought all other mothers were glowing and

happy with their lives. I didn't for one second feel like there

was anyone in the world who could relate to what I was going

through. Your mind does have a funny way of making you

feel like you’re alone, when in reality there are so many

women who can connect with what you are experiencing.


I’m so grateful that I woke up to what was going on in my life.

I realised that I had the power to overcome the obstacles that

were causing me to slip into such a dark, lonely world. If you

can’t feel your own worth enough to make the changes

needed, then reach out to the women around you. I guarantee

it won’t be long until you feel valued by yourself as you’ll find

that those women need your help too. Together you can

support one another moving forward with your motherhood

journeys.


Always here.


Clare.

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