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BRAND IN FOCUS // THE POSITIVE BIRTH COMPANY

I’ll try and be brief with the introduction here, because I’m doing my upmost to avoid all and any negativity right now!

(I’m currently 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant). 

—–

My pregnancy with Eli wasn’t straight forward. We had a lot of complications and constant monitoring. We were high risk. Then came labour. I won’t go into the details, but I had a pretty awful and traumatic labour with Eli. I was induced at almost 42 weeks, I had no say in the labour, it was an agonising 30+ hours with every intervention possible. It all ended in a whirlwind of a dodgy episiotomy and ventouse that saw the room fill with 15+ people and before the threat of emergency C-Section.

It was VERY medical. I was never given options – I accepted what was told to me, because heck, Doctors know best, right?

We knew no different. We actually thought it was a ‘normal’ labour!

Following the stress of Eli’s pregnancy and in hindsight, the trauma of his birth, plus my miscarriage in-between; falling with this my third pregnancy, I KNEW something had to change.

My anxiety was through the roof when we began trying again; despite my medication and an abundance of self-help. The anxiety was surely inevitable following a miscarriage, yes. But the anxiety surrounding labour didn’t need to be there. This is where Hypnobirthing comes in…


I started researching into Hypnobirthing properly as soon as I got the second line on that pregnancy test back in November 2018.

My initial belief was that Hypnobirthing was all about being hypnotised during labour… L O L. No, it’s definitely nothing to do with being hypnotised. But after reading the birth stories on forums and blogs, I still sat on the sceptical fence… I mean, what even is this HIPPY, DIPPY, BALONEY?!

The more I read, the more I became obsessively intrigued by it. To the point where, yep, you guessed right, my anxiety surrounding labour took a real back-seat.

Having used The Yes Mum cards for daily affirmations I ordered the book: Your Baby, Your Birth.  I would pick the book up and fall asleep and it became clear I needed something more engaging. I also wanted to do something that James could get involved with at the same time. Local classes were really expensive and not at convenient times for us.  It’s certainly worth mentioning here too that James found my labour with Eli horrendous. He felt totally helpless and all he could do was sit beside me with his hands turning white under my constant clench. Him being there was all I needed at that time, but he will be first to admit that its scarred him somewhat – he definitely experienced birth trauma too. This time he wanted to be helpful, to have a real role in my pregnancy and subsequently, the labour.

—-

Then pops up The Positive Birth Company on Instagram. Boom. I began following and was hooked. Incidentally, Siobhan had been following me too and very kindly offered for us to give her Digital Course a try.

I obviously jumped at the chance! I’d read that starting a Hypnobirthing course would be best from 28 weeks onwards. But as we had it at 25 weeks, it seemed daft not to begin straight away.

Once my profile was all set up on the Digital Pack, I familiarised myself with the platform. From a user point of view, it’s a really neat and simple platform first of all. It’s organised perfectly and so easy to use. The branding is spot on too – which really helps when you’re trying to learn but also ‘zone out’, the colours and fonts used are quite obviously well-thought through. I was so impressed with how thorough the course looked – six sections with everything you could ever possibly need to know (and more!) surrounding pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond.

It came to bedtime so we grabbed the laptop, put candles on and cosied up in bed with the first of the 6 sections in the Digital Pack. Each section is from 40-60+ minutes long. So you want to dedicate some real quality time to this. We decided we would look at one section a night – where possible; spreading it over days where needed, so it wasn’t too much information at once.

We were immediately into it. Siobhan has such a gentle and clear tone – plus the information was exceptionally thorough and we really, really enjoyed learning. We were pausing videos along the way to recap what we’d learned so far- and again when we had decisions to plan between us. Learning to use more positive ‘birth language’ still has me on my toes at times – for instance, we refer to contractions as a Surge  – it just rids the questioning of any negativity and apprehension that could slow labour down. Likewise, talking about the ‘power’ of a surge, as opposed to the amount of pain I’m in, will help me to understand how my body is working to birth my baby – allowing my body to be in total and instinctive control of the labour.

I think we’d both agree that one of the most interesting sections for both of us was the SCIENCE section. We both learned SO MUCH about the female body and what it goes through during pregnancy, labour and birth. I honestly can’t believe I’ve reached the age of 33 , having had one child, not knowing some of the actual childbirth process. I feel like Siobhan really needs to take elements of this course into schools – its been a true education for us!

One of the best bits of this course has been getting to grips with the roles each of us will ‘play’ once labour begins. My only job here is to remember my Up & Down breathing and to keep calm, relaxed and at ease. Whereas James has an actual  list of things he will be seeking to fulfil – something he’s genuinely excited about and so grateful to have responsibility for; especially following the helplessness he felt during my labour with Eli.

It’s also worth highlighting here that Hypnobirthing isn’t just for ‘normal’ vaginal delivery – this is an education that will take you through all aspects of labour, whether that be via water, land or theatre – whether thats planned theatre or unplanned. The relaxation tools and techniques will enable you to have confidence in your OWN decisions during labour and birth (and postpartum too!). The tools will give you back the control of your labour. This feeling of being in full control is something that I’m finding very empowering after such a dreadful labour with Eli.

After completing all 6 sections of the Digital Pack, you can quickly review specific sections in the Course Notes Booklet (which you can download and print – we’re taking a copy with my Maternity notes) – which is great for back-referencing. There are also a series of MP3’s included too, which have been so invaluable during my pregnancy – especially these later weeks when I can often get into bed feeling deflated. I listen to the Positive Affirmations for Pregnancy MP3 on repeat when I’m in the bath or for an hour or so, as soon as I get in bed. This normally soothes me into a lovely slumber (before I’m awoken shortly after for my first loo-trip of the night!). I can imagine this MP3 being perfect during labour – I’d been looking at Spa Music to play – but actually, I think I’d prefer to have the MP3 running in the background as a reminder that I’m getting closer to meeting my baby.

 

On top of all of this, you also get a (now editable!) downloadable PDF template for highlighting your birth preferences; should you wish to prepare any.  Obviously, you can do this yourself, but the sections on the template are perfectly set out and clear to read in a rush. My midwife was very impressed when I presented them at my 36 week appointment (!). My birth preferences have completely changed since starting this Hypnobirthing course – and again since reading the positive birth stories on the closed Facebook community page (which you also get access too once you sign up for the course!). Reading these stories every day has been so helpful in cementing the notion that I CAN do this and I WILL do this – whenever my baby decides is the right time.

To surmise, I can quite honestly say that this Digital Course has changed our lives. Obviously; we have the birth bit to come. But I have to say that the course, by @thepositivebirthmama (and her amazingly soothing voice), has provided such wisdom, scientific facts, relaxation tools and the foresight to retain control this time; for both @jameshill.tv and I. Weirdly, I am actually excited for labour to begin – however and whenever it does happen✨ And I most certainly would not be feeling this way had we not studied this course. I’m not even sure I would have gotten through the last 20 weeks so easily without it either. How many people can say that?

Thank you so much @thepositivebirthcompany for making me feel so different this time around – and the tools you’ve taught us both will continue to be helpful for life in general postpartum, I’m certain 🖤 We’re both shocked at how informed and relaxed and prepared we feel.

I will be doing a full write-up post-labour, however it pans out! But for now, I cannot recommend @thepositivebirthcompany enough. Currently pregnant? You MUST go forth and seek for yourself!

C
✖️✖️✖️

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MORE FROM THE POSITIVE BIRTH COMPANY

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Upon completing the course, I purchased the Little pack of positivity directly from The Positive Birth Company website. Each pack contains 28 cards, each with a positive affirmation for pregnancy. I immediately placed the cards around our house where I would see them as a little reminders; reducing anxiety and boosting confidence around birth. The more confident you are, the more relaxed you will feel. The more relaxed you are the better your birth will be.

—–

Also available, to continue your understanding of Hypnobirthing (or instead of doing the course), you can find Hypnobirthing: Practical Ways to make your Birth Better, by founder, Siobhan Miller. The book is widely available, including from Amazon.co.uk, here.

—– 

Now that I’m mentally prepared for labour – I also wanted to share the accompanying App by the Positive Birth Company. The FREYA app is currently available on the App store. I’ve used it frequently when tracking Braxton Hicks – again, its simple to use, effective and we know this is going to be an essential when labour begins for real. During the timing of surges, the Up Breathing soundtrack is so useful  – especially if you don’t want your birth partner to attempt to do it for you (we tried and I found James’ voice too distracting – and we also creased up when he attempted to read out the positive affirmations too).

“Freya is the world’s first hypnobirthing-friendly surge (contraction) timer and virtual birth partner. She will coach you through each surge with a simple breathing technique and help you to relax in between with positive affirmations, calming visualisations and guided relaxation. The more relaxed you are, the more efficient and comfortable your labour will be. Freya will help you to remain calm and in control throughout. She will also keep track of how frequently your surges are coming and how long they are lasting. She will even let you know when it might be a good idea to contact your midwife! Freya will be with you every step – or surge – of the way!”

ALSO COMING SOON – THE POSTPARTUM COURSE.

Follow @ThePositiveBirthCompany for the latest details!

—-

MORE ABOUT SIOBHaN MILLER

Expert hypnobirthing teacher and founder of The Positive Birth Company Siobhan Miller has made it her mission to change the way women around the world approach and experience birth. Through her teaching she seeks to educate and empower women – and their birth partners – so that they can enjoy amazing and positive birth experiences, however they choose to bring their babies into the world.

Siobhan debunks common myths about hypnobirthing and explains why she believes it can make every type of birth a better experience – from a water birth at home to an unplanned caesarean in theatre.

So, what is hypnobirthing? Essentially, it’s a form of antenatal education, an approach to birth that is both evidence-based and logical. Hypnobirthing certainly doesn’t involve being hypnotised; instead, it teaches you how your body works on a muscular and hormonal level when in labour and how you can use various relaxation techniques to ensure you are working with your body (rather than against it), making birth more efficient and comfortable.

Siobhan’s advice and guidance will change your mindset and enable you to navigate your birth with practical tools that ensure you feel calm and in control throughout.

By the time you finish this course  you’ll feel relaxed, capable and genuinely excited about giving birth.

To read more about how and why Siobhan started The Positive Birth Company, please click here.

 

 


For clarity, I was kindly #gifted The Digital Course by The Positive Birth Company. This is not a sponsored, paid post or an ad – but does contain a highlighted Affiliate link, above.

I only shout about items that I genuinely believe in, so be safe in the knowledge that I’m in love The PBC!

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PREGNANCY & ME // THE DUE WINDOW

As I sit  bounce on my birth ball and write this post, I am currently 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant.

The “Any news?” and the “How are you feeling today…. ?” and the “Any twinges?” and the “Any sign of movement?” and the “Do you think it’ll be today?” and even the “ARE YOU IN LABOUR?!” messages are coming in thick and fast. In fact, they’ve been coming in thick and fast since around 35 weeks. Granted, the influx of messages this past week isn’t helped by my stint on BBC Radio 1 with Scott Mills & Chris Stark; that was my bad. But also, imagine this, 5 weeks of daily messages that aren’t really helping with my precious Oxytocin* levels.

*Oxytocin is the ‘love hormone’. The hormone we release when we feel good. This exact same hormone is responsible for every single surge we experience during labour. The hormone that drives your labour is Oxytocin – so we want to ensure our body is filled with Oxytocin!

I know the messages are well meaning and I know they’re from a good place, mostly of excitement for us all, which is lovely! Even when its from the random ‘friend’ with whom you’re “friends” with on Facebook, but haven’t spoken to since you left school or the SECURITY GUARD in sodding Waitrose! I’ve been polite and responded with my favourite affirmation, “My baby will come when my baby is ready”. – Which I know has caused some annoyance, but it is a true statement and it’s my go-to affirmation! Let’s be honest though, we really aren’t going to forget to message or indeed announce the arrival of our little babe. Honestly, we won’t…. Unless the messages and calls and comments keep coming, in which case, maybe we won’t tell you anything  😉 (To say that, The First Fourty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing a New Mother is looking very favourable right now, would not be an understatement 😉 haha)

So, with this all in mind, my phone is either on silent or on Do Not Disturb…or perhaps I’m resting/nesting/napping/busy hanging with Eli. And if I do happen to open a message regarding the imminent arrival of our little one, even if its sent under the clever guise of “How are you doing today? Not as hot, which must be great for you!“, then I’m truthfully sorry, but I just cannot reply to these messages or comments any longer. James will update you instead. I’ve already taken myself away from social media (if you hadn’t noticed). The pressure of going into the later stages of my ‘due window’ and receiving daily communications like the above is driving me to distraction. I was tempted to switch my phone off completely… but I would assume that reaching the answer phone would only stir up additional excitement. So Do Not Disturb and having James monitor my messages it is. This might sound drastic or even dramatic, but in the most polite of terms, I have to put myself first now. I struggle with anxiety, and I’m dealing with all-sorts in me head as it is, so from my own personal perspective, this is just something that I need to do.

Being ‘overdue’ is exactly why we should be given a DUE WINDOW – or a ‘due month’. Every NHS provider here in the UK will allow a woman to reach 42 weeks before any medical assistance. And even then, we can decline intervention of any kind, unless there is a medical necessity of course. Therefore your ‘due window’ ranges from 37 weeks to 42 weeks. As my sister pointed out the other day, women have been giving birth for millions of years without assistance – they’ve also been giving birth without a specific time slot for the baby’s arrival too.

The obsession on due dates is mind-blowing. The pressure on women to give birth by an exact date is ridiculous. Dates can be wrong, really wrong. My cycle following my miscarriage went from being a standard 28 days to anything up to 35 days. I don’t know the exact moment I ovulated and I don’t know the exact moment I conceived this little babe. My body is not a robot, and neither is my baby. So how on earth is the baby meant to know when to arrive?! She doesn’t get an alarm clock in there that goes off at 40 weeks.  In actual fact, here in the UK, only 3-5% of babies are born on their ‘due date’. Thats potentially 97% of women going into the later stages of their own due window. This is quite commonplace. And even though I’ve been doing alllllllll of the old wives tales (Curry, Pineapple – of which has now severely blistered my tongue, x3 cups of Raspberry Leaf Tea a day, 6 dates a day etc), NOTHING will kickstart labour unless the mother is relaxed, calm and at ease. Any slight stress or apprehension, (darling family and friends, I am really sorry, but the messages are included here) WILL stop labour from starting. This most certainly happened with Eli so I have been doing EVERYTHING I can to avoid the trauma of Eli’s labour and birth happening a second time around – with Hypnobirthing playing the integral part here <<<< That will be my next post.

So, until I’m stress-free and relaxed, my baby will not release the hormone, Fibronectin. Yes, this is getting very Science, but as I said, this is not down to me, this is all precise science. Fibronectin is the protein produced by the baby which is released into the amniotic sac. This protein is then picked up by the cervix and given the go ahead to start labour. My baby quite literally knows when and how to be born.

Here is a list of things keeping me busy in the meantime:

  • “My baby will come when my baby is ready” – by literal means, as mentioned above. I trust that my baby and my body will work together when the time is right. My baby is cosy and healthy and safe in there right now. She’s still kicking the crap out of my ribs and undercarriage. So thats the main thing!
  • Napping.
  • Cleaning and tidying, again.
  • Probably re-packing my hospital bags for the 100th time.
  • Waking every hour during the night to empty what appears to be a full bladder that comes from god only knows where.
  • Ordering a take away because its too hot and I’m too tired to cook.
  • Enjoying the final days/weeks of my pregnancy – I feel so lucky to have had these last 9 months with my bump (despite the sickness, the additional appointments, the SPD and despite the hot, hot heat!). If this is the last time I’m pregnant, I really want to treasure it in the final stages.
  • Practicing my Hypnobirthing affirmations and Up/Down breathing.
  • Over-using my birth ball.
Bathing in Clary Sage, eating all the chocolate and drinking all the faux-prosecco!

 

  • Likely to be nagging delegating jobs to James.
  • Most importantly of all, I’m cherishing being able to hang out with our nearly 7 year old boy who’s life is also about to be turned upside down when his little sister finally decides to arrive. The Summer holidays have fallen at just the right time for us – so I’m treating these final days, just us two, as a real luxury.

I know and understand its difficult to be patient when you’re excited for us – we’re desperately trying to be patient too! And also please know, that this post isn’t meant to cause offence, its more just a way to update you all with were we’re at. I apologise profusely if this does offend; this is sincerely not my intention and I really hope you can all understand. We honestly appreciate all of the kind words and messages; I will look back over everything when the babe is here 🙂 James will also be in touch when anything of significance happens. And we promise we won’t forget to let you know when she does to decide to arrive Earthside.

Which you never know, could always be sooner than we think 🙂

C
✖️✖️✖️

 

 

 

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ONLINE PETITE NEW ARRIVALS // 19.10.2018

Hello all and Merry FRIDAY. It’s been quite a week. A lot of tiredness and all the emotions. But here we are on the brink of the weekend, we just about made it!

So let’s get going with this week’s round-up of PETITE New Arrivals that have hit the Online Stores this week. I do this every Friday, just in time for the weekend – though, sadly for my purse strings, as we all know, online shopping definitely isn’t limited to the weekend! All items are available online, at time of publishing this post.

Let me know if you see something you like! And don’t forget to tag me in any shots of your purchases – tag me @judypink and use the hashtag #NeverConciseShopping

——

Off the back of my THIS IS ME blog post, I will now be mainly focussing on Petite styles for my blog. Going forward, I feel like this is most relevant to me and what I would WEAR. Being mid-size and petite is really difficult – so if I can find some styles that would suit my stature, then I hope they give you some inspiration too! I want to be completely honest in my focus and I really think embracing my “mid size, size” is the way to go forwards!

Have a great weekend!

C
✖✖✖

NEW ARRIVALS // 19.10.2018

Petite Fit Slacks - Black - Ladies | H&M GB 2
H&M PETITE // Slacks //
£19.99
GLAMOROUS PETITES // Spot Print Midi Dress //
£36.00
TOPSHOP PETITE // LEOPARD PRINT SUIT CO-ORD //
From £45.00
GLAMOROUS PETITES // Satin Jumpsuit //
£39.00
GLAMOROUS PETITES // Satin Jumpsuit //
£39.00
TOPSHOP PETITE // BORG COAT //
£69.00
ASOS PETITE // TAPERED BALLOON TROUSERS //
£35.00
CULT OF YOUTH // CZ Sparkle Luna Hoops //
£40.00
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LOST INK PETITE // Spot Print Jumper //
£38.00
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ASOS COLLUSION PETITE // Slinky Navy Midi Dress //
£15.00
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ASOS COLLUSION PETITE // White Boxy Blouse //
£15.00
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ASOS PETITE // Mono Double Breasted PJ Set //
£34.00
M&S // ONLINE ONLY // Faux Fur Sandal with wide block heel in snake print
£39.50

 

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ASOS COLLUSION PETITE // Vegan Trousers //
£30.00
ASOS PETITE // Sequin Midi Skirt //
£65.00
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TOPSHOP PETITE // Boucle Teddy Coat //
£79.00
RIVER ISLAND PETITE // Knitted Hoody //
£40.00
M&S PETITE // FUNNEL NECK COAT IN CHILLI RED //
£59.00

 

MÈRE SOEUR // Grocery Canvas Tote //
£16.00
TOPSHOP PETITE // Borg Denim Jacket //
£65.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ONLINE PETITE NEW ARRIVALS // 05.10.2018

ONLINE PETITE NEW ARRIVALS // 05.10.2018

This is the first weekly round-up of PETITE New Arrivals that have hit the Online Stores this week. I’ll do this every Friday, just in time for the weekend – though, sadly for my purse strings, as we all know, online shopping definitely isn’t limited to the weekend! All items are available online, at time of publishing this post.

Let me know if you see something you like! And don’t forget to tag me in any shots of your purchases – tag me @judypink and use the hashtag #NeverConciseShopping

——

Off the back of my THIS IS ME blog post, I will now be mainly focussing on Petite styles for my blog. Going forward, I feel like this is most relevant to me and what I would WEAR. Being mid-size and petite is really difficult – so if I can find some styles that would suit my stature, then I hope they give you some inspiration too! I want to be completely honest in my focus and I really think embracing my “mid size, size” is the way to go forwards!

Have a great weekend!

C
✖✖✖

NEW ARRIVALS // 05.10.2018

TOPSHOP PETITE // FLARED JEANS //
£40.00
TOPSHOP PETITE // FLORAL PJ SHIRT //
£35.00
M&S (SHORTER LENGTH) // ANIMAL PRINT MIDI DRESS //
£69.00

I absolutely love this NEW dress from Marks & Spencer, who by the way, are consistently smashing the dress-game this season! I’ve not seen it IRL yet, but I think this in the shorter length would be a perfect shape for women with my stature. The silky-golden goodness makes it a perfect Christmas dress too (yep, I went there!). And you KNOW this dress is gonna fly out of stores and online, so in the words of M&S themselves, “GET IT OR CRY LATER”. Eeek!

MISS SELFRIDGE PETITE // RUST CO-ORD SUIT //
£67.00 (total price)
NEW LOOK PETITE // MOM JEANS WITH RIPS //
£27.99
RIVER ISLAND PETITE // FAUX LEATHER TROUSERS //
£46.00

 

Wide Fit Block Heel Faux Fur Sandals
M&S // BLOCK HEEL SANDALS //
£39.50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean, does it get any better than fluffy heels?! And such a good price! These Marks & Spencer beauties will be smashing with dresses, skirts and allllll of the jeans!

 

RIVER ISLAND PETITE // TEDDY SHEARLING COAT //
£95.00
YAS PETITE // STRAIGHT LEG TROUSER //
£55.00
ASOS DESIGN PETITE // JUMPSUIT //
£38.00

 

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ASOS PETITE // ROLL NECK JUMPER //
£30.00
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ASOS DESIGN PETITE // CHECK COAT //
£75.00
Image result for 1343780 ASOS
ASOS COLLUSION // PETITE // VEGAN LEATHER DUNGAREES
£35.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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ASOS PETITE //
FLAT KNEE HIGH BOOTS //

£45.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will do a blog post on the new ASOS COLLUSION range next week as it’s really bloody cool. And really well priced too!

M&S // ANIMAL PRINT MIDI DRESS //
£39.50

And how could I not include a little bit of animal print? I love this shape that M&S keep reviving. It’s just the right shape for my stature. It nips in at the waist, which is flattering for ALL body shapes and sizes, and the long sleeves are always welcome.

 

 

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NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE // THIS IS ME

THIS IS ME

Where do I even begin with this?

Right, DEEP BREATH. Here we go!

I have always been small, in height, the smallest at school… the smallest in every single friendship group since then. The smallest in the family. When I was working at Eli’s school last year, there were even children almost my height, and they were pushing age 8 (!!), if that. I was often mocked as a child because of my height, “short arse” and “little legs” are the nicer of the names I was referred to. It made me feel ‘picked on’, and singled out to be referred to because of my height. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know I shouldn’t, but I actually really DO care what other people think – to my own detriment.

I had the familiar pang of sadness, that I’d had so many times as a child, when Eli came along. He’s on the shorter side of “the chart” for his age – he’s always followed the same line on the chart. He was born with several conditions too (Talipes, Torticollis, Hypermobility) which in turn could have some kind of effect on his growth. He’s actually only just below average height for his age. Most kids are ABOVE AVERAGE in height; making him look smaller. I became/become hyper-sensitive when we get adults proclaim  “Oh isn’t he small!” “Eli is so tiny for his age isn’t he!” “My son is 3 years younger than him and already his height!”. Why are you even referring to his height? Why is it such a BIG THING for you to point out? I’m totally digressing from my own issues here because I’m being defensive and protective of him; but just wanted to point out that your throwaway comments about something like height (and I’ll get onto this now, but also, weight) can actually hit someone in such a bad way, especially when they’re already mega conscious of what you’re pointing out. Instead of referring to my son’s height, how about you refer to how agile and strong and clever and cheeky and funny and how unbelievably caring and creative he is?

ANYWAY…

Back to it.

My height I cannot do anything about and I wholly accept that. So why oh why have I found body-acceptance so damn difficult?

I’m a complete little bit ginger (which again, I was cruelly bullied for as a child), I have a gazillion freckles, I have a rather large nose (which I do now accept and got pierced later in life because I was learning to embrace it… not embraced enough for me to tell my parents I’d had it pierced however!). I didn’t grow up with a good self image. At all. I’ve always struggled to look in the mirror.

I’m ‘petite’ – I’m quite literally 5 foot nothing. I have big old Mothering hips and a bust. I had a big arse well before it was in fash-un. I distinctly remember being told I had a ‘duck bum’ (that protruded as I walked), as a child. Putting on the odd pound here or there makes me look massive because of my height and stature.  My body shape is TOTALLY different to how it was when I was 8, when I was 15, when I was 21, heck, when I was pregnant with Eli at 26 and it’s even different to the months and years following the birth of Eli.

When I became a parent, I KNEW, I had to let go of the self-conscious me. I KNEW I had to let go of the cringing in the mirror. I KNEW I had to let go of the posing at my best angle and just live in the now and be the natural me in photographs.

I knew all this and still continued through life with the same mindset – just now being extra careful not to project any of my feelings onto Eli directly. I’m ALWAYS the one behind the camera. Never in front – unless my body is cropped – or unless I take a mirror selfie (the one I post is usually out of around 2000 that I take and cry over before eventually posting). It makes me so bloody sad going through our photos from our recent holiday to Florida; I’m barely in any of them. There’s probably 3 that I let James take of me and I would never ever post them. (He would be the first to admit that he is just awful at taking candid photos – so theres no point wasting phone memory on taking any of me at all). The confidence issue doesn’t stop with the photo-taking though.  I also walked around in 40c heat in Florida with my arms covered every single day. I was sweating like I never even imagined I could sweat, but still, I refused to take of the kimono or the jacket or the long sleeved dress. WHY? Because all of these strangers would see my bare arms?! GOD FORBID LASS. It’s nuts isn’t it? It’s actually nuts. I am my own worst enemy.

Since having Eli 6 years ago, my body has changed drastically. I put on 4 stone whilst pregnant with him. It came off quite slowly. I did every diet possible – but in the end I stuck to slim fast and the 5:2. Within a few months, I had gone down to a size 8-10. And I was still miserable. I was still unhappy with my body. The scars, the stretch marks, the wobbly bits. My dumpy little legs and my zero torso cos Petite. I still didn’t want to have my photograph taken. I still didn’t want to look in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m now 32 and I’m only truly learning what it means to have ‘self-love’. I had a tough time following my miscarriage last year – not just because of the obvious. But because I was blaming this sack of a body I had to get around in. I blamed by body for failing to protect that baby that was so wanted. But my body wasn’t to blame at all. My body did what it needed to. When I realised that, I realised and understood how strong my body really is. How amazing my body actually is. But still, I couldn’t get that emotional response to project onto the outside and transfer into true body confidence.

For years I have watched and admired the confidence of so many amazing women across the media. (REAL women, like you and I). People like @StyleMeSunday and her Body Confidence campaigns – instantly jump to mind. For years I have wished I had just an ounce of that confidence. To be able to dress to my size, to not hide behind the floaty dresses (I will still love my floaty dresses, but not for playing hide & seek in!) , at jaunty angles and to actually feel comfortable within my own skin. To allow photographs to be taken of me… photos of me and my boy.  After all, when we’re gone, the only thing that will remain are these photographs of precious times and now all I can think about is the lack of any photographic evidence of us all together. It’s really just so sad, isn’t it? It’s terrible.

So? What’s your point? Well, stranger on the internet, I have began to finally feel better about my body.  More recently, folk like @mollyjforbes, @Inpolife, @life_with_Ivycoco, and of course, @CharliHoward@Erica_Davies & @HannahfGale – have all posted such amazing content with such honesty, how can I not take just a little bit of it on board? How can I not think better of my own body and bones?

About a month ago I went to a gathering organised by @MidsizeCollective – I almost didn’t go. I felt massive. I was beyond nervous. I was going on my own (I did meet up with long-time IG pal @i0wen in the end!). It all felt too much. I didn’t want anxiety to get the better of me.

I’m so bloody glad I went. It was exceptionally inspiring to be in a room with other women who understood me and my body shape. To be able to chat and share in our shopping woes of being ‘middle sized’ women. Because, you know what, we are the forgotten women. Not skinny… but not plus size. We’re NORMAL sized women. But why does it feel like we’re invisible? Why is it so difficult to find clothing that fits us? Why, oh, why, do we find body confidence so damn hard to work with?! Why are we not represented within the Fashion industry… within shops and their marketing? WHY OH WHY OH WHY?

I just want to feel comfortable in the skin that I have. To be comfortable with the skin that I’m in; whatever my size. To have appreciation for my body; and confidence in where my body takes me. We ALL have a body, whatever shape or size or height or colour(s) it may well be. So that’s our NORMAL. No more, definitely, no less. We’re all NORMAL.

And you know what? I heard that THICK THIGHS, SAVE LIVES. So it must be ok!

I also just wanted to give  a shout out to @annacarsarina, who has also set up her new account all about Mid-Size and Mid-Age style – she has carefully curated such a beautiful feed full of body happiness and inspiration. So thank you Anna – and thank you to all the other women mentioned above (and to those beyond this blog post) who have shown true and honest versions of themselves in a bid to normalise body confidence. THANK YOU. You are wonderful women and it’s also kind of ridiculous that we’re even having to write about this in 2018, isn’t it? Anyway, again, thank you for being YOU. I wouldn’t be sat here typing this out, without you.

So from this day forward, I swear I’m going to be happier in my own skin – I’m going to ALLOW photographs to be taken of me, candid or otherwise. I’m not about to jump into a bikini and show off all my bits… but I promise that I’m going to beat these bloody body confidence blues and get on with my life. Because you know what? Life is too hard and too tiring and it’s just too damn short to be fussing over what you look like in a pair of skinny jeans or with your arms out… or ON THE DAMN BEACH. Yes I could do with loosing a few more pounds (I cycle every day for almost 2 hours, but I also love crisps and chips and gravy), but importantly, I’m giving up on feeling body-shame and I’m going to embrace what I have, in the now and at the minute. And I would urge you to do the very same.

I cannot imagine what life must be like for those who are bringing up daughters. The pressure must just be so immense surrounding body positivity. I find it difficult enough bringing up a son in this world and talk endlessly to Eli about how we’re all different shapes and sizes and colours and that’s what makes us all so cool! The fact we’re all different and truly unique and diverse. The more we educate and understand and share the honesty, then the more NORMAL this whole movement will become. Hopefully, it won’t even BE a movement any longer – because, we’re all just out there living our best lives.

Additionally, I’m going to be using my social media platforms as a place to shout about Petite styles and fashion and inspiration because no, there isn’t enough of it out there. I’ve always tried to be inclusive of my styling tips/recommendations, but the industry definitely isn’t inclusive of people like me and my size. So sod the industry, and PETITE WOMEN, LET’S UNITE! #PetiteWomenUnite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there we have it.  My body confidence post, DONE.

Peace & Love

C
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