We all know about social media algorithms, and their incessant recommendations based on your history of follows, likes and comments can be both a blessing and a curse. In my recent experience, they are more curse than blessing. Instagram is the worst. It has a habit of making me feel embarrassed and uncomfortable in my own skin.
Many accounts I follow are fellow parent bloggers; a lot of things I like are based around pregnancy and parenthood; and a most of my own posts are of myself, my family, or about my pregnancy. A few algorithm calculations later and I am confronted with the 'perfect' photos that the app thinks I may like. The skinny mom-to-be; the nicely tanned, bikini clad pregnant body; the perfect round bump with no stretch-marks or scarring; and the beautifully made-up new mother with not a hair out of place.
I am not like that.
My body is far from perfect. I have scars from past operations (for appendicitis and an unsuccessful one to try and find an explanation for my infertility). I have tan lines all over the place from spending time in the garden with my daughter, and not in a tanning studio. I have stretch marks from two gruelling pregnancies and various weight gain and loss.
Recently, after realising how much my daughter watches me - and idolises the things that I do and say - I decided that I had to learn to love my body; both in and out of pregnancy.
I hate SPD / PGP and all that comes with it... but I can learn to focus on the good reason behind the pain!
I know that the cause behind the problems is relaxin, and relaxin is a hormone that my body requires in order to allow it to adapt and change shape and - ultimately - give birth.
I may not ever love the fact I have to deal with the pain and suffering on a daily basis - however I can to strap myself in to my tubi grip and various braces to ease the pain, and focus on the end product - being able to safely bring my baby into the world.
I hate the stretch marks that cover my belly... but they are a reminder of the amazing thing that my body is doing. I'm creating a baby!
My daughter has learnt to accept that the red marks that adorn my skin are part of me, and so must I. My body has been through so much, and I have the marks to prove it.
The stretch marks I have are my reminder of the miracle that is bearing a child.
You can read my review of it here; but to summarise - it's comfortable and the gel and cream smell great and although stretch marks from this and my first pregnancy are still around (scars - which is what they are - take forever to disappear completely) they are no longer red and raw. I have also not had anymore appear since using it.
I hate the way my skin has turned dry and spotty... but it is easily covered with a small amount of make-up!
I have never really been a big make-up wearer, but I have found that it helps me to feel a little more human when used to cover up my rough pregnancy skin. It doesn't fix the fact that my skin is red, dry and spotty beneath, but it certainly helps to make me feel a little better about what I look like.
I hate that my hair has changed, and on some days fallen out... but I can make a little effort and no one will know.
I was shocked the first time I noticed that my hair had begun to fall out. I lost clumps of it when I ran my fingers - or a brush - through it. It seems to have stopped now, but I still try and make a bit of an effort... whether it be tying it up in a bun with a pretty flower accessory, or plaiting some Danish braids round the sides of my head. Having made a little effort means that I look and feel much better about my appearance.
Disclaimer: The lovely team at Secret Saviours sent me one of their belly bands to review. The fact that I love it is based on my use of the product.