“I wear Spanx to bed. My husband’s like, ‘What is this stocking on you?’
And I’m like, ‘Trust me, it’s better this way.’ Everything looks better with Spanx.”
Actress Julie Bowen
Last week my beautiful friend Nicola, 7 weeks post-baby asked: “when will my tummy not have this bulge?”
Nicola like myself and so many women before us are faced with excess skin across on our stomachs following a cesarean. Unfortunately, 9 months post-Georgie and my pouch is still very prominent and truth be told, much bigger 2nd time around.
Up until Nicola’s question, I was feeling rather confident in my own skin, well at least underneath my layers of Mummy uniform. I’d found the perfect formula for dressing and disguising my new lumps and bumps and I felt good about myself. A lot of this inner confidence came from my newfound appreciation for shapewear.
Once upon a time, I had the pleasure of working with Trinny & Susannah on a style roadshow. Our aim was to inspire women to get properly fitted for bras and embrace a fruit that distinguished their body shape. I remember watching these two mesmerising women either pulling up their own dresses to reveal a nude shape suit (Susannah) or hauling women’s boobs up to show them where they should sit (Trinny). I was in my early 20s then and found the whole performance to be entertaining. I never imagined in a million years I would be squeezing my own body into giant pants.
But here I am after two gorgeous boys and my new best friends come with life support. One of my favourite sets come from Next, a pair of Firm Control High Waist Shaping Briefs and the Georgie DD+ Minimising Full Cup Bra.
I totally love the high waisted briefs, as they smooth my Mum tum, define my waist and ultimately give me back an element of shape. They also don’t give me VPL and feel like a second skin under my clothing. The non padded bra gives me full cover and minimises my bust and smooths my overall bust shape. It’s one of my daily go to bras for wearing under almost anything. Both styles almost sculpt my silhouette whilst staying unvisable underneath my clothes. Until now they were my secret confidence boosters.
But back to Nicolas question, am I happy to continue hiding under my layers of stripes and well-cut dresses? Or is it time I shaped up. If I am so intent in disguising my stomach, then surely it was an area making me unhappy.
Thankfully my deep body analysis coincided with an introduction to a personal trainer called Emma, a friend of my husbands. Historically when I have embraced exercise, I have always felt incredible afterwards. Not just in the body sense, but how my mind feels also. However like so many Mum’s, time, motivation and childcare sometimes goes against us.
So before I start my training journey I wanted to document what my body looked like before, I also wanted to do something for me. I wanted to have something to look back on when my belly pouch is the least of my worries and I can be proud of the Mum I am now. In all honestly I’m terrified of hitting publish on these pictures and my poor family being subjected to “Our Renee in her knickers on Instagram”. But hey, I promised to be honest with you and you can’t get anymore honest than being in your nudes. x