I remember one of the things I wanted to achieve 2 years ago was to be more present in photos, both on the blog and off it. I think I did really well through pregnancy, but since having Ben nearly a year ago now, I’ve definitely fallen back into obscurity. I looked back over my Instagram feed the other day and realised there were barely any photos of me, just of the boys.
That first year after you have a baby is such a difficult one for a woman and I think my confidence really took a knock. It’s understandable – your body emerges from pregnancy looking so different than it did before. Even aside from the body hangups, you’re left feeling like you don’t know how to dress this new body. I didn’t know what looked good on this new body – seemingly nothing at all – and when you’re limited to clothes you can breastfeed in, that’s yet another limitation that makes it all the more difficult. I really struggled to find clothes that I felt suited me – everything I tried on seemed to make me look either fat or frumpy. I’ve been various sizes in the past, ranging from an 8 to verging on a 16, but my comfortable size is a 12, and finding myself at a very clear size 16 after having Ben was a real shock.
But I’ve felt a change recently. Sure, I’ve lost a bit of weight (the plus side of going dairy free!) and I’m down to a size 14. Still not a size I’m massively happy with though, and it’s not an increase in body confidence which has changed. I’m putting it down in a huge part to Ben’s improved sleep, which obviously has a knock on effect for me. Finally he’s sleeping for a good chunk of the night, and I actually feel like a real person again. A person with interests and hobbies, and a person who finds joy in things. A glimmer of the person I used to be, who loved a girly shopping trip, a cocktail in the sunshine, and buying a new dress. And also partly the arrival of the warm weather, which always leaves me wanting to get my legs out and enjoy the warmth of the sun. I’ve felt myself wanting to go shopping, to branch out from the jeans and jumpers which have been my go-to, don’t-even-think-before-throwing-them-on, outfit for ages now, and buy pretty dresses.
Photo by Miss Betty and Me
I’ve bought a few lately, and they’re not the style that I might have gone for in the past, but I’m really enjoying wearing them. I bought 3 dresses, all from Joanie Clothing, and they’re so flattering that I’ve been wearing them all non-stop since they arrived. Two of the Pepper shirt dresses cut in a 50’s style, both with really fun prints (one with swans and one with bicycles), and the beautiful Zooey dress in the top photo, which has a lovely retro 40’s feel to it, and feels feminine and floaty to wear. I love that Joanie Clothing show photos of both a skinny and a plus size model wearing their clothes – it helps so much to see them on a figure more like your own. I’ve bought so many clothes over this last year that have been sent back after discovering that they didn’t suit me, but these three have all been huge hits.
Photo by Miss Betty and Me
Finding clothes that suit me again has given me a new found confidence in getting in front of the camera, rather than always being the one behind it. It’s odd to write a blog where you share your innermost thoughts, and yet your readers don’t really know what you look like, so I think it’s really important from that perspective. But even aside from life as a blogger, I think it’s so important that as photographers, we hand the camera to other people at times, to make sure that we are there in the record of our family lives. It’s really difficult though, and it’s advice that I often struggle to take myself. I hate how I look in lots of photos – I’m awkward when it comes to posing, but especially when I feel uncomfortable in my own skin, it’s really difficult to relax. But lately I’m seeing more and more photos where I’m happy with how I look. I can still pick flaws if I wanted to, but I look relaxed and happy, and I think that’s a great starting point.
I’m making it my mission this summer to be brave and start sharing more photos of me!