How I Got My Swimsuit Mojo Back Post-Baby

After the horror, I dug myself out of a hole and found acceptance (and a one piece)

In a past life, I practiced hot yoga for 90 minutes every day. I did so scantily clad, sporting the absolute minimal amount of clothing, as I pushed my body to the limit and sweat profusely from every possible orifice that my body allowed. My body was lithe and toned. Neither purchasing nor wearing a swimsuit has ever been a trauma-inducing activity, but rather one that I relished. The corresponding retail therapy trips to purchase said swimsuits were both pleasurable, and quite frankly decadent, pushing the boundaries on how much could actually be spent on so little.

With my mother-in-law recently turned 70, a long-promised extended family vacation is upon me in T-minus 30 days. Heading to a beach paradise post-baby is super exciting. Having to sport a swimsuit post-baby? Not. So. Much.

With the T-minus 30-day count-down on, a cloud of panic has descended upon me, as I set to figure out what I’m going to do about the whole swimsuit issue. I’ve never had body issues. I’ve never shuddered at the thought of myself in a swimsuit. But that was then, and very clearly, this is now.

Last summer I had just brought a new baby home from the hospital. The summer prior was the last time I had worn a swimsuit pre-baby. My quest to locate several viable options needed some serious and immediate attention.

Logically, I decided to start with my current inventory, as purchasing new ones seemed a little extravagant and unnecessary. Placing them in two piles: ‘Maybe’ and ‘Not a Chance in Hell’. This task rapidly became more depressing with each passing moment, as I sadly yielded only one to try on. I braced myself, turned away from the full-length mirror and slipped it on. Slowly I turned around to view myself, revealing what I can only describe as a scary image of my middle-aged, post-partum body that looked nothing like my previous self.

Big tears began to pool in each eye, and then roll down my cheeks. I felt overwhelmed and immediately turned away from the mirror. And then without skipping a beat, this singular bad vision of myself multiplied and didn’t stop. Think the 80s image of Heather Locklear in Fabergé’s TV hair commercial where she multiplies across the screen and “…tells two friends, and so on, and so on …”, only this time the images multiplying were my own scary ones I’d just seen reflected in the mirror. 

For what seemed like an eternity I was lost in my own bad visual episode. My brain felt like it was about to explode. Finally grabbing hold of myself, I took a deep breath and faced away from the mirror. I removed the bikini and placed it back in the closet, together with the others that hadn’t made the cut.

In an instant, I knew there would be no in-person retail therapy component to this exercise. As a confirmed online shopper, swimsuit shopping would now be added to the list. A week later, after henceforth removing all carbs and sugar from my diet, I sat down in front of my computer to shop for a swimsuit, no longer including the bikini option. I was calm and composed and ever-more focused on success. And although I’d never before considered or even explored the available options for one-piece swim suits, I quickly discovered there are loads of interesting choices.

Whether you’re looking for a one-piece, like myself, or a string bikini, shopping for a swimsuit doesn’t need to be daunting or scary. As the lazy, hazy days of summer are upon us all, I’ve created an easy seven-point plan for purchasing a swimsuit online, to help others like myself:

 1. Choose your retailer carefully – This is the time to select an established company with a solid online shopping reputation. You will likely also want them to have bricks and mortar locations to make #7 a no-brainer.

2. Define what type of swimsuit you’re looking for – Bikini or one piece, and don’t let this decision call into question and/or challenge your womanhood.

3. Determine your size – Not your ideal size, or the size you were when you graduated from university. Instead, take your measurements, note them down, and then consult the size chart on the retail website of your choice. Read their body type recommendations. Read reviews for swimsuits that catch your fancy, to see if they’d be a good fit for you. Consider a call or even better, a live chat to clarify. Remember you’re doing this from the comfort of your own home and you’re totally anonymous.

4. Order your fave swimsuits in more than one size – According to the size chart, order the size you think you need, then also order the next size up. And if you really love the suit, consider ordering a third size. This is the time to overindulge to find the right fit.

5. Don’t skimp on options or price – Keep in mind that you’ll be trying the swimsuits on in the privacy of your own home, removed of all pesky, overbearing, nosy sales attendants. No one will want to peek into the dressing room to inquire how things are fitting. Go crazy! Order as many designs as catch your eye. Now is also not the time to be price sensitive. You need to be focused on finding a flattering fit that will make you feel like a million dollars.

6. Try on your new swimsuits – Select a time you’re relaxed and in a good mood, in front of your most flattering mirror. Then sit in the swimsuit. Lie down on your stomach. Roll onto your back. Jump in the air. Essentially make sure both the swimsuit and all of your key body parts stay in place. There’s nothing worse than a great swimsuit not performing when put to the test at the pool or beach.

7. Return the unsuccessful options – Engage in a return retail therapy excursion once you’ve already experienced success and are not stressed about finding happy swimsuit options. Now might be the time to indulge in accessories like a pretty beach hat, or even matching flip flops.

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