While in Jamaica, something a little bit surprising and absolutely incredible happened.
I asked my husband Peter to take a quick shot of me on my phone in my bikini, a red Boux Avenue number I bought last year but had barely worn, so he snapped away, bless him, telling me I looked gorgeous.
This man has always made me feel as confident as possible, at my heaviest and most uncomfortable pregnant, and even when unwell, he never fails to make me feel good about myself.
Like my Dad, he isn’t a man who ever sees body changes, or cares about size or shape, and nor should he. I’m so lucky to have such strong body role models in these guys, and my own Mum, in my life.
This holiday in Jamaica thanks to Beaches Resorts who invited us to review their heavenly resort, marks the first time I’ve REALLY felt confident in a bikini again, now that my youngest son, Alexander is 2 1/2.
I’ve had 2 c-sections (an emergency and an elective), carrying big, tall baby boys both times and it’s safe to say my body is definitely not what is was and why and how could it be.
My tummy has lost definition and I have stretch marks, but here’s the thing, it doesn’t bother me at all. Honestly.
I feel, finally, confident in my own skin, my body made and carried two beautiful babies and I’m pretty proud of myself, and must note that day to day I never, ever think about those marks (I love them) and my body size is actually smaller and firmer than before babies. I’m healthier too.
I feel I can rock a bikini or anything I like, and shouldn’t be made to feel otherwise, and nor should you.
As a real woman (we’re all real right, but someone who is 5’6″ and a UK size 10 not 0) I regularly model for style brands who love me for who I am (I’m also an ambassador for Nova Harley and The Essential One) and even had a swimwear shoot for heidi klein whom I’ve worked with for a while, out in Jamaica, and have another shoot for them back in the UK soon.
I also had another swimwear brand asking me to model for them after seeing my bikini shot on FB too. Just goes to show huh?! Progress. The beauty of reality.
Believe me, I know how hard it is to accept our own bodies, confidence takes a hit particularly when we go through such remarkable change with pregnancy but I welcome the day when a picture of a Mum like me, with stretchmarks, isn’t a big deal, when it’s regarded as completely normal, natural and images like mine are naturalised to the point that all we see is a woman wearing a bikini (or whatever she likes).
That picture has reached over 100,000 people so far on FB, Instagram and Twitter and is still being commented on over on my FB page and instagram daily, with the reaction moving me to tears.
I sat crying reading the hundreds of comments from women saying that because of that shot, they’ll now buy/wear a bikini or swimsuit with pride, will take their kids swimming when they felt they couldn’t before, and are committed to starting a journey of loving their bodies.
How wonderful is that?
That we women, together, have the power to create change and promote body confidence to one another with the ease of one single photograph. Each and every one of us.
I never for one moment expected any of this, I was admittedly nervous to hit publish as I would have felt pre-kids and stretch marks, and I must note and probably surprisingly to my readers, feel that a lot when it comes to photographs generally of myself, but when I asked Peter if I should, he encouraged me, saying I looked great, happy, glowing and radiant.
And you know what, I thought, why the heck not, why shouldn’t I share a picture in a red bikini I love, like many other women do daily on social media, particularly when I feel good about myself and want others to, as well.
I honestly thought that perhaps just a few blogger friends or maybe some family members might comment on the image, so to receive such an overwhelming, positive reaction has touched me.
I hope we’re at a tipping point where every single woman, mother or not, bikini or not, can start feeling proud of their bodies.
No woman (or man) is perfect, we’re all diverse in our looks and bodies, and as you know, the models you see in magazines usually undergo 10 hours or more of photoshopping and editing. Perfection doesn’t exist people.
Imperfection is perfection.
I’ve created a hashtag #proudinmybikini and would love you to share your own pictures rocking your bikinis/swimwear on social media if you feel like it, and I’ll include all the images in a blog post here, at the end of the summer celebrating we wonderful women.
Here are some simply super bloggers: beautiful women inside and out, who’ve joined me so far…