I've been thinking about the changes that happened to my body when I had my children (and what will happen if we have any more), and I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that the view in the mirror isn't the view in my head any more.
All my life I have been either dieting, exercising or in the middle of some minor eating disorder in a bizarre bid to get the image in my head to somehow transfer into my flesh and bones. I tend to think I've got close after the event, when I look back at pictures and go "hey, I looked OK then!" but I undoubtedly thought differently during the "then" period.
Before I had my first child, I attended WeightWatchers and successfully lost about 15kg (just over 2 stone), so I was at a healthy weight for my height when I had baby number 1. After baby, I lost the excess weight by walking a LOT (I delivered and collected census forms, which took 3 weeks of walking for about 4 hours a day, every day), so when I got pregnant with baby 2 I was pretty well back to my pre-baby weight. Now I am about 7kg above my pre-baby weight, and about 10kg out of the healthy weight range for my height.
I have discovered that trying to restrict my food intake with children around is impossible, unless I want to go insane, and I also found that the stress of trying to change my eating habits significantly tended to push me back towards bulimia, so I decided that food intake is just going to have to be left alone. I know I ought to drink more water, but other than that my diet is reasonable.
I think that the only way I can go now is learn to accept the changes that have come about through childbirth and breastfeeding, and make an effort to be more physically active.
I was thinking about how womens bodies change when they have children, and I came to the conclusion that the physical changes are similar to the changes we experience at puberty - they are permanent, fairly sudden and relatively surprising (even though we know what MIGHT happen, everyone is different). Our breasts grow more tissue to supply mik, our hips widen to accomodate the baby and our hormone levels go insane.
The permanency is what I think I need to accept and work with.
My body has reached the next milestone in it's growth. Puberty began the process, and bearing children is the purpose of the pubescent changes. It's a neat little circle really. I have reached an important step and I simply need to go with the flow, as I did when I first grew breasts and found my bum getting wider!
I am no longer just woman-shaped, I am WOMANLY. Only women can bear children (at the moment!), so being the shape of a mother is an honor.