Love EVERY Body 5 - Stomach/waist

Hello lovelies!

I'm posting a couple of days early as usual.
This is a hard one for me and I doubt I'm alone in that. If you're not comfortable with putting photos of your midsection out there then please don't. These assignments are about gently pushing your boundaries, not causing a meltdown. If anything ever makes you feel uncomfortable, skip the photos (or the whole assignment.)

Right, so how do I feel about my belly? Mixed feelings. I've never had a flat stomach, even at my lowest adult weight when my bones were jutting out. I come from a family of pear-shaped women with little boobs in comparison to their bottom halves and bellies that poke out. When I was a teenager desperately in need of someone to tell me I was OK as I was, I could've done with a trip to an art gallery, where I would've seen plenty of women with figures just like mine, and I probably would've seen the beauty in those forms captured in oil and canvas.
It never happened of course, and I'd always disliked having a belly, but I didn't know how good I had it until I got ill with Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME. Now I have IBS and belly bloat. I never had stretch marks until I had IBS and now they snake up my belly. You can see them in the photo below, my silvery tiger stripes. Sometimes my stomach swells so much it feels like my skin is going to burst.
A few years ago I spilled a kettle of boiling water all over myself and got a scald the size of a large boot print. It has finally gone away now, but for a long time it bothered me. Strangely it shows up again when I'm hot and/or wet, like when I'm in the shower.
When I had my second ectopic pregnancy in 2011 and had to have my fallopian tube removed it caused a couple of problems. Firstly having all my tissue cut through like that didn't do the perkiness of my tum any favours, and the trauma of them rooting around in my innards caused me to get ovarian cysts, which causes even more abdominal bloating. Yay, lucky me! Now I look pregnant most of the time with a rock hard jutting round upper abdomen, which is quite ironic when I'm never going to be a mum. Life's a comedy, right? ;)

So we've been through quite a journey, this body and I. So far I've concentrated on the aesthetics of my belly, but that's to do it a disservice. It feels lovely, so soft. Hubby is always stroking it and I normally go to sleep on my side with my knees up and one hand resting on my tum. It gives me comfort somehow. The strange thing is for most of my adult life I hated the overhang - or the apron as they like to call it in medical terms - and hated not having a flat stomach to look nice in clothes. I never knew how to dress for my shape until I started blogging. Looking at photos of myself has been the biggest help in knowing what suits me. Had I known how to dress myself years ago I probably wouldn't have been so down on myself.

My stomach doesn't bother me now, except for it being a little droopier since my operation. My upper abdomen really bothers me, because of the swelling, the aching skin, the looking pregnant, and the changeable nature of it - never knowing whether I'm going to look normal (for me) or vastly distended. I guess we never learn to love ourselves except in retrospect, when we realise we weren't so bad before. Why spend all that time beating ourselves up?! Answers on a postcard please, because I have none.
Side view of belly and bum
So I guess you could say on good IBS days I'm happy with my belly, but on the bad days, not so much. I don't loathe my belly, but I don't love it either and it's something I'm working on. Self love is always a journey and our feelings on our body parts are always going to be complicated, so don't worry if you feel really down on yourself right now. We're inundated with so many messages every day about how bodies are only worthy if they're perfect and it takes time to start unlearning those feelings. I'm sorry this isn't a more positive post but we can only grow through being honest with ourselves. Thanks for reading.

No comments