Ostomate showing stoma bag

Body positivity with a stoma

Body positivity is one of those topics that is automatically judged, by yourself or by society. What I mean is, as an ostomate, either as a newbie or if you have had your stoma for a number of years, at some point, you may struggle to love the body you have. It's only natural as your body changes after surgery; you have scars (or one long scar) and a bag now attached to you 24/7.  Many people struggle to love themselves even without any surgical changes!

So, how can we find body positivity? Does it start with fashion magazines, clinical support, emotional support, or somewhere else? The answer is totally individual. It may start with a fashion magazine, where you see an outfit you just HAVE to have or dare to dress in to find that confidence boost you have been searching for. It may start with talking to other ostomates who understand how you feel. Whatever helps you to find your confidence is the key! For so long, society   has painted different bodies in a negative light. Now, in 2022, there is so much diversity in society that we are slowly enabling people to love their bumps, blemishes, and bags!

When I first had my bag, I was so relieved to be well again that how my bag looked didn't bother me. After all, Crohns Disease already gave me body confidence issues long before due to the weight gain and weight loss. I decided that I didn't care what people thought, and if I wanted to wear a crop top in summer, then I was going to bloody well do it! And I did. However, this changed after pregnancy and my c section surgery.

For 4 months, I hated the body I was left with: stretched, saggy, the overhang, and weight gain. For that entire 4 month period, I cried and felt so low.  Getting myself out of that dark hole was a process of patience, acceptance, and lots of emotional support.

Now, I feel my confidence slowly coming back and I have accepted that this is my new body. Yes, my bag sticks out more due to the overhang, however, I can’t change that, so I need to change my perspective instead. It's always a work in progress, but as the saying goes, "hard work pays off." It's not a 'one size fits all process, and it is so important to give yourself time and love

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