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Self Care & Body Empowerment

Q&A with Melissa Suffield

Melissa Suffield, 30, is a body confidence advocate and writer, documenting the journey of her relationship with her body through motherhood at @the.confidentmama

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As an advocate for self-care and body empowerment, what inspired you to become involved in promoting these important causes?

After giving birth to my son, and coming to terms with my own changed body, I realised just how unhealthy my body image had actually been before – at a time when I thought I was happy and healthy, I was bordering on obsessed with food and exercise. It enlightened me, being in a new, softer, bigger body, and I wanted to let others know that weight gain, stretch marks, and rolls did not equal misery, a lack of worth, or compromising health. My mission is to show that joy, style, and self-love can exist no matter what you look like.

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In a world where body image issues are prevalent, what advice would you give to individuals, especially women, who struggle with self-esteem and body confidence?

Our bodies are going to change throughout our lives. As we age, gain weight, lose weight, navigate illness, pregnancy, stress, vacations – we are constantly changing. So, if we’re only happy with one very specific version of ourselves from one precise moment in time, we’re going to spend a lot of time miserable, chasing a girl who doesn’t even exist. The more we focus on connecting with ourselves on the inside, the less the girl in the mirror starts to matter!

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Positivity is a central theme in your work. How do you maintain a positive mindset in challenging situations, and how can others cultivate positivity in their lives?

My main goal in this life and in everything I do, is to have as much fun as possible. Whether that’s going on adventures or having a dance with my son while I make my morning coffee. Looking for those windows of opportunity to play and find joy in the mundane, has given me such a boost and it’s my number one go to when things get tough. How can I make this more fun? How can I get more joy out of the situation. It isn’t always easy, but it’s always worthwhile.

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In your view, how can individuals, especially women, build self-confidence and resilience in a society that often imposes unrealistic expectations?

I wish there was an easy fix, I really do. But the reality is that our body image issues are too broad and too unique to us to find a one size fits all answer. For me, I found that wearing great underwear helped me turn a huge corner – I took the time to celebrate every inch of me, and how it moves. And great scaffolding means you stand taller, walk with more purpose, and look even better in your clothes! A win for me across the board.

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In your vision, what does a world that fully embraces self-care, positivity, and women’s empowerment look like, and how can we collectively work to make that vision a reality?

Listening to women. When it comes to their health, better education at a younger age, and investing in researching reproductive and hormonal conditions, the postnatal experience, menopause, etc. – removing shame from those experiences, and equipping women with the information that they need to make informed decisions. Listening when women speak, when they say no, when they ask for what they want. Women’s voices are too powerful to be spoken over or dismissed.

Follow Melissa on Instagram @the.confidentmama

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