Louisa Claire

Looking In The Mirror At 30

When I looked in the mirror as a teen, I rarely liked what I saw. I compared myself to my super-slim girlfriends and mistook my curves as “fat” instead of sexy. Now as an adult, I look back on photos like this one with disbelief because man, I look amazing! I am quite horrified that I thought I looked anything by beautiful…is it weird to say that? I’m talking to my 17yr old self here…


And here I am again, at the end of 2000 in the Cook Islands again feeling like the fat one …

cook islands

This photo was taken last Jan and it’s only now that I look back on it that I see the definition in my neck and the lightness of my smile and think I actually look nice.

Jan 2010

I confess I found myself in tears last week. Having not regained my “sexy” curves and feeling a little more frumpy than I’d like I had a minor meltdown. By minor I mean my Mum was so worried she offered to fly down for the day on Thursday to take me shopping.

I’m learning that I can’t see what’s in front of me. When I do feel happy with how I look I worry that I’m deluding myself and not being “self aware”. I seem to have a deeply rooted belief that there is always going to be something wrong with me.

Today I am wearing my black maternity pants with a new 3/4sleeve black top. I teamed it with a colourul necklace and my funky green and pink shoes and this is what I saw:

A new body.

It’s got more curves than I’d like at the moment, but my baby is only 5 months old. Be kind to yourself Louisa.

I have carried, birthed and fed two people with this body.

I nurture my children with this body.

I play with my children with this body.

I am made a wife with this body.

One day, I pray that this body will carry, birth and feed more children.

It’s a new body, but it’s my body I need to hear this voice more often…be kind to yourself Louisa.

I know that I don’t want to look back on photos in another 20years time and regret the time I wasted feeling frumpy when I could have felt beautiful.


Thoughts on “Looking In The Mirror At 30

  1. Great post! Totally relate.

    I have terrible self talk, and always find news way to criticise what I see, despite my self awareness of this!

    I know that 36 year old me is going to be shaking her head at myself in ten years time, wishing I’d made the most of the youthful body I have now in my 20’s.
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  2. I feel exactly the same way when I look at photos of myself from my youth. I can’t believe I ever was a size 10 and still felt “fat”. I’d love to have that body now.

    I find it hard to accept my body as it is now. There is just too much of it, it is too unfit. I literally can’t keep up with my boys. One day I want to look at photos of myself from today and think “Wow, you’ve come a long way!”

    You are beautiful, Louisa and still so young. Be kind to yourself…
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  3. You are right – you look amazing in all the photos.

    I think I am similar to you in body shape – tall and curvy. I too always felt fat in high school.

    I don’t really struggle with body image these days, but I admit, it is mostly because I don’t even think about my body! I spend most of my time caring for my hubby and kids. My spare time is for reading or blogging. I probably look in the mirror for a total of 2 minutes each day.

    I need to get back to some “me” time and loving my body, rather than just ignoring it!

  4. I did a total double take when I saw these photos pop up in my news feed today.

    I felt the same way Lou back then – I never felt pretty – I thought I looked like a boy (all gangly and awkward). Now I look at those photos and think that I must have been pretty damaged to think like that!

    That said, I look at recent photos and dislike them, then 6 months later, I see them again and am amazed that I never liked them to start with.

    I think it’s time we all cut ourselves a break. Our bodies are amazing – they never choose to let us down… whereas our self-perception/brain… it’s not my bum that needs kicking… it’s my mentality!

    • Um, so…. awkward. You know I stole these photos from your facebook page right? ;) Good thing you are my oldest friend and I can get away with this stuff…. ;)

      Anyway. You are totally right about everything AND you are beautiful xx

      I think my bum needs kicking sometime thought ;)

  5. Oh honey.. honestly, if u see the frumpy me typing away on this lovely Mac, you’d laugh! hairpins stuck in places where hair won’t get in the way, pants with bad tailoring *ahem*, and *drumrolls* a really really old 19 year old XL jumper, that’s been stretched wayyyy out of its shape.

    We will ALL have our bad days (I had it for like 2 years, before I got myself in a hypothetical health scare)… and the only way now is up.

    Big hugs.. no guilt. Plus..30 is sooo young. What I’d give to be 30 again!!!!
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  6. Man I totally hear you. Samish age, second child also 5 months. Battling with who I am some mornings, loving the curves another. do find that exercise helps me to think better but I wouldnt say that it changes my shape becuase the reality is if I start thinking that way… that’s when it becomes no longer just something nice to do for myself – not that I really like it! I like that your keeping it real for the rest of us. It’s easy to get up inside your head when it’s just you in there.

  7. I have had the same exact thoughts! I look back at photos of me and remember feeling fat and I think “where?” I would just about kill to look like that now! So I try as much as possible, to enjoy the stuff about me and my life that is not effected by by weight and it turns out that it’s just about everything!!! So much energy and heartache goes to something that really shouldn’t matter that much. My baby is only 4 months old so I need to be kind to myself too. I hate my stomach but I need to remember the tenant has only recently vacated and It will take some time to remodel.

  8. I feel the same way. I have blogged about it a couple of times. Its nice to find the peace within yourself, even if you’re a little softer than you would like to be. But you have a baby, and your priorities are on caring for this little soul. You can always slim down if you’re not happy down the track, but for now be kind to yourself. I dare you! You will see the world with new eyes.
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  9. I too often look in the mirror and don’t like what I see. But then I remind myself of the one amazing thing about us women. We have the ability to transform ourselves. It may take a little longer than we would like sometimes, but if you do not like something about yourself, you have the power to do something about it – even if it is simply changing your view.
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  10. So good! So true!
    I have to tell myself the same things you listed when I look at my stretched out tummy- two babies are here because of you, tummy. So what if I’ll never have a normal belly button again- I got two sweet girls out of it & I’d never trade them for a belly button!
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  12. Oh I hear you on this one! It’s so funny because I’m looking at these pictures going- ‘there is no fat one! What’s she on about?’ and yet I know if someone looked at pictures of me they would probably say the exact same thing! We women huh? What are we like?
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  13. i think we can safely say that the pressure is still on when it comes to girls and women and their body image, the ‘role models’ displayed in the media, even the expectations of many males.. (who are less strict with themselves, go figure). it’s probably almost worst than before our mums went liberating themselves (or some did), if you look at the whole anorexia etc symptomatic, size 0 models and public obesity entertainment. not to mention the new norm in body hair removal et all.
    but in the end, i think 30 is a good time to finally settle with that body of yours, enjoy the years to come, be more relaxed, you ARE a new woman, a mother of two, that’s what your body has achieved indeed!
    if it comes at any consolation, by natural disposition but also with this more relaxed, mature attitude you are now reaching your peak when it comes to sexuality (as opposed to our poor males who are going down down from the age of 20, oh dear, lol) !
    That’s something to fully embrace and enjoy, yep, with THAT body of yours and THOSE curves – and who knows, doing it more might burn a few calories extra ?
    he! i am completely serious. :)
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  14. I bet 90% of the women reading this can relate! I know I can. I felt heavy when I was young (I wasn’t, I looked great) and I feel heavy now. I’m more at peace with my body now but I’m still plagued with self-criticism, just not nearly as bad as I used to be! I don’t want to teach that to my daughter. I want her to feel comfortable in her own skin.
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  15. Darling Louisa. You have been sounding like me in every post I’ve read of yours lately!

    Might I just cast your mind back to that one about bullying: I, personally, find a huge contribution to how I was conditioned to view myself as a teen was how I was mercilessly targeted by horrible girls who thought themselves so flawless and superior. It does terrible things to a girl’s body image and self esteem. Couple that with a broken family, absent (even if present, if you know what I mean) mother and separation from my father and you have the makings of a self-image heading for the garbage.

    I too look back at early photos and think I was really lovely. Perhaps that comes from looking at the younger me through the now experienced softer, more loving eyes of a mother as I have now carried and fed two children too, with my amazing body. It’s still amazing, despite having been covered up in recent years by more fat than I would have liked ;-) but all of a sudden, two months ago, I discovered it was time for it to finally go. I’m not looking back. But I am looking at my wedding photos and marvelling that I EVER thought I was too large (because I went down the aisle 5kg over my goal weight! ridiculous! I was thin enough anyway!!).

    Love to you, Louisa. Love and strength. You’re doing amazing things, sharing and expressing on your blog. The reassurance for others will be far-reaching, I’m certain. xox
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  16. You were really hard on yourself. I felt this way too. I’ve also learned recently that what I wear makes a big difference to how I feel about my body and have started throwing out all the clothes that don’t help me feel good. It’s starting to make a difference. I am also shopping differently and only buying things I know I will feel great and and not just buying for comfort or because it’s cheap and right there. I am now back to my pre-marriage weight after a month on the 12wbt and it feels awesome. I also keep remembering that skinny doesn’t equal happy and there’s no point striving for it just for that reason alone.
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  18. I can totally relate to that. I too have struggled with accepting what my body is ever since I had my 3rd child. Yes, I did look good when I had him, just that a year later, my body morphed into something else altogether and having your MIL state that you’ve put on weight, just doesn’t help. I think I have lost weight, but my shape is still womanly. I have curves, I have boobs, I have stretch marks, I have battle scars – but this is me. And while it took a long time to accept this, I am happy to say I have definitely accepted what I am now.
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