'How a conversation with my three-year-old niece changed how I feel about my body.'

I have been a size 14 for as long as I can remember. I wear clothes that I feel comfortable in and that flatter my shape. I exercise sporadically and never say no to a delicious meal. I enjoy healthy food, but I don’t consciously watch what I eat for the purpose of weight loss. My body has grown one beautiful boy and is 14 weeks into growing our second child.

I thought that I held a relatively healthy view of my body, until today.

My three-year-old niece came over for a play today, and naturally she’s very curious as to where the mysterious baby is that we told her about weeks ago. I explained to her that, just like our first child, the baby is growing inside my tummy. As an inquisitive toddler, her instinct was to lift up my top to check for the supposed baby. Much to my shock, I flinched and held down my top so that she wouldn’t expose my bare, scarred, stretched, saggy skin to… her. Just her.

The only person in my house at the time was a three-year-old girl, innocently questioning the whereabouts of my baby, and my instinct was to hide my body from her.

Video by Mamamia

I felt ashamed, and I’m still not sure if it’s because of my reaction or because I haven’t made any effort to sculpt my body into a shape considered traditionally beautiful in accordance with the current standards of our Instagram-obsessed society.

So here it is, a love letter to my flaws, because each and every one of them represents a significant moment in time that I should embrace rather than hide.

To my dear imperfections,

I must first begin with an apology. I am so sorry that I have hidden you away for so long, rarely letting you see the light of day. You must be feeling awfully claustrophobic tucked away in those wintry clothes that I tend to keep in regular rotation, long after the seasons have changed.

My big, chunky, solid thighs. You’ve really had a rough go of it for as long as I can remember. If we are being honest, I’ve probably refrained from introducing you to the outside world since puberty struck and decided that any excess weight was best stored around those strong quads and hamstrings. I’ve never looked at another woman and thought to myself, “She shouldn’t be wearing those shorts”, so I’m really unsure why I’ve decided that shorts are not permitted in my wardrobe. I promise to correct this error immediately and ensure you have the summer you deserve, in the sun.

Image: Supplied.

To my arms, cursed to spend your days covered ever since Ian 'Dicko' Dickson uttered his infamous "tuckshop lady arms" comment on Australian Idol many moons ago when I was an innocent teenager. You jiggle when I move - shock horror! You know what, though? You also lug around 13 kilograms of heavy toddler for a large portion of the day, so you really deserve more credit than I’m currently giving you. Singlets it is! Gee, I’m going to enjoy being a lot cooler this summer with all of that extra exposed skin!

My beautiful, abundant, life-sustaining breasts. Through my youth, you never failed me. You have always been my most revered asset; I could always rely on you to boost my confidence if required. But I’m ashamed to admit, that since I stopped breastfeeding and you decided to sag to my belly button, we haven’t really been on speaking terms. I am eternally apologetic for this. I failed to acknowledge the tremendous work you had done in nourishing my child for 13 months. What an incredible part of the human body you are, and while you may look a little different these days, I promise to marvel in your immense wonderment from now on.

Image: Supplied.

I once had a friend say to me, “You are so lucky that you never put weight on your stomach.” No, as we’ve previously discussed, the thighs bear the brunt of that responsibility. My poor tummy though, you’ve copped it badly these last couple of years. Despite my best efforts to smother you in coconut oil and Bio-Oil daily, you stretched to your absolute limits to safely house my beautiful little boy. As a result of this, you are covered in stretch marks that make me cringe whenever I see them.

To add to this, you are covered in scars from the emergency appendectomy I had when I was 26 weeks pregnant that required five incisions on my big bulging belly. The icing on the cake is the sagging mum pouch, created by my beautiful little boy, that has refused to contract back to any kind of pre-baby shape 21 months after his delivery. To you, stomach, I say: we grew a friggin' human! A whole, big, giant, wriggling baby human, whom I love with my entire being. So what I should feel is eternally grateful to you for housing said human for nine, long, treacherous months. You are a bloody rockstar!

So in conclusion, to my body in general, I do love you. I promise to let you out a little more often and appreciate all of the amazing things that you do for me.

Thanks in advance for the rest of my life,


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