As an early bloomer, I thought I’d got it all out of the way… the painful cramps, the growth spurts, the acne that made my skin look like a fruit and nut-filled chocolate bar, and the excruciating process of finding myself. Puberty is not a time that is looked back on fondly, but when us girls finally reach the sanctity of our late teens and emerge the other side as fully fledged women, our struggles are over, right?
It is with a heavy heart that I am here to discuss the horrifying prospect of second puberty.
Social media has been swelling recently with images of grown women comparing themselves with their 16 year old selves, expressing distaste about how much weight they have put on and how the ageing process has not been kind. But does our growing process really end in our late teens? And more importantly, why are we not encouraged to embrace our strong womanly bodies in our mid-twenties in the same way we are when we are teenagers?
I remember being 16. I was underweight, after having gone through several years of yo-yoing in weight, my hair was damaged, after having ironed it straight repeatedly for 2 years, and I thought I could get away with turquoise eyeliner and foundation that was 2 shades too dark. (I hold dream matte mousse personally responsible for the condition of my skin). So why are these years so idolised? I think it is mostly down to weight, and that’s where second puberty comes in.
I remember one November night crying to myself because my breasts had suddenly gotten bigger. I couldn’t understand it. I was 23 and my breasts hadn’t grown since I was 14! Why now? I’d spent most of my teenage life wanting bigger breasts, but now they were here, I hated them. I didn’t fit into any of my bras or tops, and they were actually really sore and heavy. And before anyone asks, no. I was not pregnant. Over the next few months I began to notice more changes. I was hormonal, irritable, my skin was breaking out, my bum and my hips were swelling, and I was putting on weight, regardless of the fact I was on a healthy diet and was exercising 5 times a week. After months of despairing at the changes, I began to read about people’s experiences with a “second puberty”: the process in which the body takes on a more mature and womanly form. It was officially. I was no longer a late-teen.
I slowly came to terms with my weight-gain and changing body, and began to invest in new clothes to accommodate my more womanly physique. However, I began to wonder why this process isn’t normalised. After all, there are thousands of women everywhere going through the same changes, and yet, society is still idolising our slimmer teenage physiques. I say it’s time to change all that. Embrace your fuller busts, love your new curves, enjoy the process of becoming a woman and really find out who you want to be. Having this time to explore my body and my mind has really opened the door for a more loving relationship with myself, and I am thankful for it. My body is strong and gets me through life, and we all need to show ourselves some love, instead of wishing we were those post-pubescent teens. I can conclude that second puberty is most definitely friend, not foe.