Often I do things that I am afterwards baffled by and this week was no exception. I popped into Tesco’s for salad and came out with a raspberry bikini that had been reduced to a tenner in the sales.
The main reason that this particular incident baffled me is that six months ago I had a baby. Even at the best of times, I don’t enjoy wearing bikinis. Even before I had kids I never liked my stomach. I remember being on a beach in Bali on honeymoon eight years ago, in a designer bikini, sucking in my midriff. I was a size 10. Yup, I now look back at old photos and want to punch myself in the face.
Now my tummy is the tummy of a person who recently had a baby. It’s also a tummy that has concertinaed to accommodate two other little people over the last five years.
So I was a bit baffled, again, yesterday when I went to a spa, put on my ten quid bikini and didn’t suck in. As I sat in the sauna a twentysomething couple came in. They were tanned and lean and gorgeous, in the early stages of courtship; shy but flirtatious, just about not ripping each other’s swimwear off. And instead of sucking in, I thought instead about how grateful I was.
Because this lumpy body has created and safely delivered three human beings. I still can’t get my head around the miracle of that; that my body can grow an actual person.
My body is in the workhorse phase; on the frontline of pregnancy and early motherhood. For the last five years it has not been fed, rested or exercised as it should. For the last six months it has fed my baby girl and hasn’t slept more than a few hours at a time. But it is strong and healthy nevertheless. It is doing the heavy lifting. It is getting the job done.
Last week this body hopped onto a horse, and jumped a few fences; something it hasn’t done for two decades. Yesterday it did an 8km run, a distance that it hasn’t covered in years. My brain didn’t have to think about either of these things, my body remembered for me. It got me safely around.
I didn’t do either of those things elegantly. No one will have thought phwoar when they saw me in the sauna. But that doesn’t matter. My body is a bloody miracle. Yours is too.