Even with the advent of cosmetic ranges which cater for my almost translucent Scottish complexion, I still don’t like the feel of foundation on my skin so I stick to moisturiser and a mattifying gel as the base layer of my hastily applied camouflage. This has the side benefit of me not needing to look in a mirror, handy when the small humans are using all the mirrors as a complex signal network in their Jedi vs. Transformers battle for world domination. In fact, other than blending my concealer amd slicking on some mascara, I avoid mirrors as much as possible. The undead automaton looking back at me freaks me out too much.
When Sam was nine months old, Euan and I got married. Although I wasn’t a fitness fiend and despite my huge appetite while breastfeeding, the impending nuptials meant I was fairly self-disciplined about getting back to something resembling a pre-pregnancy body. That and a couple of turns at bridesmaiding (one in a godawful blancmange pink dress and one in a drop dead gorgeous dress I was determined to do justice to), meant that I was still steadily working off the pregnancy changes right up until I fell pregnant with Leo.
I had a good couple of months where I was happy with how I looked. And then my second pregnancy treated my abdomen in much the same way as that scene in the first Alien film. Surgery during the second trimester and excess amniotic fluid in the third trimester meant that I struggled to look down in the shower without a wave of revulsion at the way my poor tummy looked after the birth.
Chasing after two kids meant that I shifted the weight steadily enough but I had so much loose skin and almost no abdominal muscle. And in the blink of an eye, I was pregnant again. Chasing after three kids means lots of energy getting expended but not a lot of time for a regular exercise schedule, and reducing the numbers on the dosage of antidepressant prescription is more important to me than reducing the numbers on the scales. The dosage is coming down slightly which means the dropping jeans size is a bonus rather than a focus.
I have no fitness regime to speak of, just walking as much as possible with one child attached to me and pushing another one in the buggy as I try to keep up with my dynamo of a firstborn child. That and worrying, anxiety can be very slimming, silver linings and all that.
The image in the mirror still doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny though, because it isn’t really the one I expect to see. I think I probably looked the best I ever looked right before I fell pregnant with Sam. And the woman in the mirror now is two or three sizes bigger than that as well as distinctly saggy and very tired.
I am blessed with friends who I can trust as a critical eye and a recent compliment from one of them made me concede that I’m perhaps a bit harsh on that woman in the mirror. She might not be a 25 year old with a tiny waist but she can juggle the needs of three small children, cook meals that contain actual vegetables, sink large amounts of gin without a hangover and her eyebrows are surpisingly on point.
So even though Leo often refers to me as Mummy Squashy Tummy, I’m resolving to be a little kinder to myself. Still not going to give up more tea drinking time for my makeup routine though.