Is that me in the mirror? Thinking about body image.

I have spent years hating how I look. Well let's face it we all have bits of ourselves we would swap for bits of a friend. Although not literally of course. That would make for a grisly coffee morning with chunks of flesh passing around.


But I love my friend's glossy carefree tumbling curls, and another friend's impossibly flat stomach ( after three children!) and another friend's classic and classy beauty.

I could take a few inches from my taller friends' legs, I could pinch an inch from someones hips and give them a few inches off my waist.

I have enough of my stomach to share with a host of skinny folk I know and let's not even mention the teeth. A dodgem car accident followed by a finger sucking habit has not exactly left me with a model smile. I usually carefully keep my mouth closed for photos but I do love this one of me and my friends where my rabbit teeth are fully on show but I don't care because we are obviously having so much fun.

madmumof7 with friends

Actually in the past few years I have become more comfortable in my own skin. I have had seven children, I'm well over 40, I have not enjoyed the wealthy woman's advantages of personal trainers, dietitians and home swimming pools so frankly - I could look a lot worse!

I loved being pregnant. For obvious reasons, but as an added bonus I actually managed to look slimmer. As the baby bump took over my general fat it made it look like, if I wasn't pregnant I might have a flat stomach and waist. I have always had skinny legs and arms so being pregnant made me look skinny with a bump.

About that stomach fat-turns out carrying a lot of weight round your middle DOES make you more prone to diabetes- I was diagnosed some years ago with type 2.

And this was a bit of a turning point. Between diet changes and medication I lost a bit of weight, saw my cheekbones reappear and the bloated 8 months pregnant look I sported even in between my many pregnancies finally dropped to about a 4 months pregnant look. If I avoid dairy it shrinks still further. Still, I am careful about what I wear and how I pose for photos to avoid my belly dominating the picture!


Anyway with the confidence of age and slightly less belly here began a new era. I started enjoying buying clothes again, and with the hair cut in a style I love despite the grey, a bit of makeup ( usually mascara, a barely-there fake tan and tinted lip gloss) I am largely happy with how I scrub up.

DH of course has assured me of my beauty through thin, fat, spotty, greasy and healthy really living up to our wedding vow, "for better or worse" but it doesn't make him a reliable guide when you ask "How do I look?"

I resorted to asking the older children (mummy is always beautiful to a little one) but they have already picked up from DH that honesty is not always the best policy, especially in regards to the question; "Does this make me look fat?"

Recently DS2 asked me to take him shopping. If that was DS1 it would have meant for shoes and clothes but this is DS2 so it was shops selling bits of wire and black boxes and electronic circuits. He knows me so he threw in lunch on him as an incentive. So off we went.

In the house before we left I checked the mirror. Hair OK. Skinny jeans and a cute gilet and scarf carefully arranged in a careless manner. Fab.

When we got to the shops, I got out of the car and caught a glimpse of myself in the car ears ( or wing mirrors as adults like to call them- see previous blog posts for explanation).

And I saw a mom. With lines around my eyes, bags under them and distinct wrinkles on my forehead. And as I type this I am noticing that my dry, wrinkled hands are in dire need of moisturising TLC.

I might be wearing the same type of clothes as women 15 years younger than me, but the reality was revealed in the sunshine -time is taking its toll.

But hey, in candlelight or under the light of the government enforced not very bright eco-bulbs I still think I look OK. And I figure that in the same way that all brides and babies are beautiful, everyone is beautiful when they smile.

I figure I can't give a better gift to my children than an example of being happy in your own skin.

So I'm going to touch up the lipgloss and smile!

I might invest in a good foundation and concealer tho......
madmumof7 with German friend
no makeup on either of us but still love this picture of
me and my friend Claudia. 11 children between us
and smiles that show the closeness that we share
after almost 30 years of friendship

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