Raise your hand if you enjoy wearing a bikini in public? How many of you raising your hand are a Mom? I am going to guess that most of my Mom readers didn’t raise their hand since it seems like we are expected to cover our “Mombods.” I don’t know who decides if Moms can wear bikinis, but I say we all should be able to wear whatever we want.
After having two children and entering my thirties, I’ve learned it can be hard to enjoy wearing a swimsuit in public. There is an internal struggle with the wonderment of what the public is thinking as I step out of my coverup. As soon as pregnancy hits the insecurities begin. Whether I was questioning if I should show my bump, or I was breastfeeding and my chest was swollen, or if my postpartum skin is sagging around my midsection, or if my non-youthful butt doesn’t look right in youthful cheeky bottoms, I’m self conscious from the moment I put on a bikini. Just last week I was worrying what the people sitting by our blanket were thinking as I bent over to chase my toddler out of the ocean. Were they whispering I should be wearing something with more coverage?
Who decides if Moms can wear bikinis anyways?
Let’s take it back a few years… four to be exact. Pregnancy changes a woman’s body drastically, as does breastfeeding. Instead of embracing a postpartum Mom-figure, I learned after having Annabelle I was expected to cover it with a tankini, magicsuit, or even skirted bottoms.
I remember the first time I wore a bikini after I had Annabelle – within six months of having my first child, I was thinner than I’ve ever been before from breastfeeding. The comments about my body started pouring in once I posted a picture of myself wearing a bikini on social media. My friends and family were shocked at how skinny I had become, a few friends mentioned the size of my chest, and everyone commended me for wearing a bikini (because apparently no one wears bikinis after a baby?).
“Wow! #MomGoals in a bikini?!”
“Can’t believe you’re showing your stomach!”
“You go Mama for wearing a two piece after having a baby!”
I remember being confused and wondering what was so special about a Mom wearing a bikini. Why would I cover my stomach if I was feeling confident with how I looked? Who cares if my milk filled boobs were on display? It is easier to nurse in a bikini. BUT, I bought a one piece soon after and posted a photo of myself in it online. Suddenly my friends were asking WHY did I have on a one piece? Why was I covering myself up?
I wore the bathing suit once before tossing it in the back of my closet. I felt constricted, suffocated, and it was so hard to nurse my daughter without wanting to just take off the whole bathing suit. I realized I had to not only stop caring about what others thought, but to be a good role model Mom, I would have to do what made me happy. When in front of my children, I should feel confident, relaxed, and able to have fun without worrying what I look like (or what others are saying).
Now that I have two children and I’m almost 33 years old, I’ve heard the conversations about wearing a one piece arise again. I even bought a few this summer since all the Moms around me were doing it. We went to the beach last month and every time I stepped into a one piece, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Not to mention a little known fact, a one piece draws attention to my most insecure parts: my thighs and butt. What’s the point of wearing something I don’t like just to appease someone else?
I want my daughters to grow up feeling comfortable to wear whatever they want to wear on the beach – as long as it’s appropriate (ahem not a thong).
If beauty is being comfortable in your own skin, then who is to say we should wear anything but what we feel good wearing? At the end of the day, most people are too wrapped up in their own insecurities to care about anyone else. The moral of my story – do what makes YOU happy – not your family, not your friends, not Facebook… not the critical people at the beach. Wear what makes you feel beautiful.