Those of you who know of Laura through her blog Five Little Doves, know she’s not afraid to talk openly on the issues of stillbirth, miscarriage or chronic illness. Through her writing she raises awareness on these subjects in such an honest and deeply touching way. While body image isn’t a subject that features much it’s something that has had a huge impact on Laura in the past. It’s so great to have her take part in the series to share her own experience with body issues and how having children gave her the determination to confront them.
Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?
Love is a difficult one, I struggle massively with body confidence and knew that this would be a challenge. I would say my eyes, mainly because they allow me to see my beautiful children and although I have more than a few laughter lines these days, they remind me of the fun we have had together. Am I allowed to say my womb? I am grateful every single day that it allowed me to carry five children, more than most are ever blessed with, and my heart as although it has been broken, it still loves unconditionally.
Share a memory of when you felt particularly good about yourself.
That would be on my wedding day. Eva was just twelve weeks old and I had been feeling a little down about myself, as many women do in the months post-birth, but as soon as I put on my dress I felt amazing. When I saw the look on my husbands face as I walked down the aisle I truly felt beautiful and that was a feeling I won’t ever forget.
Has your relationship with your body changed over time?
Gosh, where do I even start on this question! I battled with anorexia from the age of eighteen right through to being in my thirties, and there were times when I wasn’t even sure I would survive it. I spent months in a specialist eating disorders hospital and although I would seemingly recover over time, it never really went away. It was only after having the three youngest that I realized what I was doing to myself and, with four children depending on me, I knew that I had to start taking care of myself. I used to loathe my body and yet I seem to have found a middle ground these days where, although I can’t honestly say I love it, I am comfortable with being me, and that’s a huge step forward.
If you are a parent (or have little people in your life), has this changed how you perceive or discuss healthy body image?
Absolutely. I think having the girls was a huge turning point as I worried so much about them growing up with the same negative attitude towards their bodies. And actually, my eldest went through a really worrying stage where he limited his diet and made negative comments about his appearance, and that terrified me. These days I lead by example and make sure that my children see me enjoying my food and never commenting negatively on my appearance, even on the days where I really don’t feel too good about myself, and that is so important for me. I tell my children ten times a day that they are absolutely perfect, just the way they are. I hope that they remember that always.
What advice would you give to your teenage self on the subject of body image?
I would tell myself the same as I tell my children, you are perfect just the way you are. Ironically I look back at the times when I loathed my body and I would give anything to look that way again!!
What’s the best thing you’ve ever done for your body?
Truthfully? Feed it. Anorexia robbed me of so many years and destroyed my body in ways that I will never be able to repair it, but once I finally started to eat properly again and take care of it, I realized exactly what I had been doing to myself for all those years.
Share one confidence boosting trick for days when you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’.
Smile. My Nan always said there is nothing you can wear that is more beautiful than a smile, and even on the days when I don’t feel like smiling, I always bear that in mind.
Who in the public eye do you admire for celebrating natural body shape?
I think most people see “natural” as curvy, where as actually a natural body shape is different for every woman. I admire Kate Upton for her natural curves but I also admire Jennifer Aniston for her natural slenderness.
Give us your best body positive quote or mantra.
I don’t really have a quote or mantra but whenever I’m feeling down on my body I tell myself, I made five human beings, and that puts things into perspective.
I pledge to love myself a little more today by…
Next time my husband asks to take a photo of me with the children, smiling proudly at the camera rather than covering my face or turning my back because I’m not looking my best.
Thanks so much to Laura for being my guest this week. If you are enjoying this series and think you would like to join in then just drop me a message in the comments below- I’d love to hear from you! x