SELF LOVE

Self love after babies – sounds easy right? Who would have thought this would be a struggle for most of us. As women, there is a lot of pressure on our body image before babies and I feel like it only gets worse after babies. It may sound like something so minor to some but for me it has been a struggle learning to love my new body.

I never even had any thoughts about this while I was pregnant. You sort of live in this predicament where you expect everything to be the same as before babies. Everywhere we look online seems to be gorgeous girls who manage to bounce straight back after babies with no effort what so ever and I think maybe I was slightly ignorant and thought I would be the same too.

Your newly acquired mum bod is not something people warn you about like they do with everything relating pregnancy, labour and parenting. No one told me that I would get stretch marks in more places than my tummy. The shock I got when I found stretch marks on the backs of my legs behind my knees was scary – how could this be? I thought I had barely put weight on in my legs. No one tells you that its not just your tummy that gets bigger – your whole body can put on weight too.

So like most, I thought I was fat before babies, truth is I was not and I would do anything to have that body again! Then I remember that body had not made two gorgeous babies in under two years! Here is a couple of photos of then –

Even looking at those photo’s as I am writing this makes me really wish I could just bounce back to that. The next photo is a photo of me around 34 weeks pregnant with Kellan, my second pregnancy in under two years. Not only is it hard for my body to do that, my body never got a chance to get back to my ‘normal’ size after Harlee-Jae because I was pregnant again when she wasn’t even 3 months old.

34 weeks and 3 days - 14th August 2017 (3)

I felt massive and ugly in these photos, I couldn’t look past my big thighs, my flabby arms and my double/triple/quadruple (haha) chins. It really took a lot for me to look past all my flaws and realise the real beauty lays within the fact that my body was doing something amazing for the second time and that is pure beauty in its self.

The next photo is my body now. I took this photo around six after my second child and I will be honest, its not the easiest photo for me to post. It is no where near perfect. I have stretch marks on my tummy, on my hips, on my bum, on my boobs and even on my legs. I have cellulite everywhere your body can have cellulite. My hips are huge in my eyes. My arms are double the size they used to be and I have a little mum pouch that I will probably never lose. However, I have decided it is important for me to have some self-love. I do not want to feel sad anymore about my body imagine. I do not want to feel pressure that I should bounce back ASAP! However, how do you love yourself when it is not classed as the norm to love your post baby, mum bod? We all support each other as mums, that is how.

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You see that mum on your Instagram feed or Facebook posting about how she is working so hard to lose the post baby weight – let her know she’s doing good! Lift each other up because the truth is, most of us are all in the same boat wishing we had that old body we never appreciated.

Have realistic body goals. It took you a long nine months to put the weight on. It is only fair you give yourself nine months to lose it! It is not realistic at all to bounce back two months after baby! It is bloody great if you do, I am totally jealous if that is you but remember this isn’t the case for most of us!

My weight and size has always been something that I focus on probably too much. However, I am in no way #fitspo and I feel like I have to have some sort of fitspiration to make some positive changes on my new mum bod!

If there are two things I hate it is – Exercise and diets. Exercise, well maybe I can have a bit of love for it but only to a certain extent, hah! Diets on the other hand are not for me at all! If you do not know me, you will not know that I am one of the fussiest people you will ever meet hence why I hate diets – I am just too fussy, haha! Despite all this I am making some small lifestyle changes just to try help me get to a me I can love and be happy with.

For me, I know I will never stick to a strict fitness regime and diet forever, so I feel as though if I do it and put the hard yards in, it will all be a waste of time because I will just end up back where I started. Little changes that make a big impact are more of my goal!

My weakness is sugar! I love it, I crave it and I could eat it nonstop but I know this is not good for me so I have cut all types of drinks out of my diet bar water! I have also decided to make chocolate and sweet treats exactly that – a treat. I’m such a ‘Yo Lace, you only live once, go buy yo-self that chocolate and Lewis road creamery chocolate milk and demolish it! You deserve it, treat yo-self!’ buuuuuuuuut this had to change. I am also being more weary of my portion sizes. I am so bad at not eating all day then dinner comes and I eat enough for an army because I am starving! Again bad habit so back to regularly eating smaller sizes for me! Other than that, that is all I am changing in my diet.

Exercise – I do not exercise. I am in no way one of those hot gym girls that look good after an hour of exercise. I do zero exercise and I knew I needed to do something. I have started going for a 4km walk daily. It is still hard and I look like a beetroot, a very sweaty beetroot afterwards but at least I am doing it. We have also started doing little workouts at night, which will grow longer and more intense in time. And I am sure all you mama’s will agree with me that mum life in itself is exercise too! Most days I clock over 14,000 steps a day because I have a new born and one year old to run around after haha.

To all the #fitspo people out there, that probably sounds like nothing but for me it’s a lifestyle change. I am not doing this to become ripped, I am doing this to become a better, healthier version of myself. I do not have any expectations to lose a ton of weight quickly but I believe over time I will slowly lose enough to a point where I am happy again. I do not want abs and muscles, I just want to look in the mirror and feel happy again, I want to fit my clothes like I used too and I just want to feel healthier – which I already do!

It’s time for a change. It’s time for society to be more accepting of girls that don’t bounce back, of girls with stretch marks, of girls with a few lumps and bumps on their body. I do not want my daughter growing up in a world feeling like she has to ‘be’ a certain size, look a certain way or be a certain type of person. I want her to be confident in her own skin and be the person she really is.

The best way for this to happen is for me to be happy in my own skin and the person I am today. Sure I’m not the same size as I was 2 years ago, but that doesn’t mean I never will be again. Wise words from my midwife were – ‘It has taken you 9months to grow a baby and take these body changes so it’s going to take 9months for you to be back where you were before’. This is something I really need to remember, to remember that there is no quick fix and in the meantime I am going to love myself just the way I am. I am going to make some lifestyle changes to help the process but only because I want to better myself and be a healthy, happy me.

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Don’t let these insecurities rule your life mama’s. Your body has done great things. Don’t be so hard on yourself, learn to embrace your new body and instead of aiming to be your old body size, find a new body goal that fits with your post baby body! If I can learn to love myself, even with a bit of a way to go – you can too! Catch you next time mates or catch up with us on snapchat (lace1313) to see what we do on the daily!

Lace xxx

MATERNITY LIFE TO HOME LIFE

You have done it! You have made it through the long nine months of pregnancy. You have got through labour, which you can read about here. You have got through the first 24 hours of mum life which you can also read about here and now it might be finally sinking in that your life has officially changed forever!

14th Sep 2016 (2)

Some people love staying in maternity wards – others hate it. I wasn’t really either, I didn’t mind the first couple of days but I was definitely ready to go home by the end. I still class myself as lucky because I am not sure all maternity’s are like what we had. Our town is small so sometimes you are the only one in the ward, which means the midwives are more than helpful! They do not make you feel like you are a pain and always happy to come and assist you.

I was in the maternity ward for four nights, five days. This came down to the fact that breastfeeding was not happening for me and it was better I stayed until I had got feeding locked down because they did not want me to go home and struggle. However, we did turn to bottle feeding by the end but I will talk more about my experience in the future on the blog!

For me the second night was more of a realisation of what I was in for because my midwife took her for the first night to let me get some rest. This was the first night of the four hourly wake ups but I think I handled it okay. I learnt what the drill was going to be and made a plan of what I would do, so when we got home we had a better idea. I was super lucky that my midwife was on the night shift while I was in the ward! She would happily come and help me, stay, and just have a chat while Harlee would wake up. I think it definitely made me feel not so alone in there. I personally think that your partner has just as much right as you to stay with you. You are both new parents and it is a daunting feeling winging the whole mum gig by yourself for the first time. I think it would just be nice to have them there for support and reassurance but unfortunately, they are not allowed to stay.

If you do not personally like staying in the maternity ward I highly recommend allowing as many people as you like to visit! Visitors make you feel less lonely and make the days fly by a lot faster. Although, I was pretty cautious and overwhelmed as a new mum so I actually limited my visitors. Not to annoy anyone but because I was learning about the new person I had become as a mum and also learning about my new little baby. I had only family and my best friends visit – I was just more comfortable with this but everyone is different! Even though I limited who came to visit until we got home, I still felt like I always had people around.

Food, food, food. Pack yourself some snacks! I think a lot of us forget about ourselves and what to pack, I highly recommend that food is on your list. For one I hated the hospital food and I am sure that most people do. I don’t think I ate one dinner… Never fear though, it was not wasted because Ben will eat anything and always polished it off for me! I lived on takeaways and some home cooked meals on wheels from good old Mumsy! Snacks were

super helpful though, I’m not sure if I was just bored or actually hungry – hah, but it was good to have some back up snacks there!

Third day blues – it may hit you or it may not. I am not even sure it is a real thing, Hah! However, I have talked to a few people including my mum who have experienced this! Your hormones have taken a real hit over the whole being pregnant gig so I think it’s completely normal to have these days. On the third day, I got the so called blues. I think a lot of it came down to the fact that I couldn’t produce enough of my milk which was distressing my little baby and I was starting to feel like I was never going to be able to go home! This particular morning felt like forever before the visitors started to roll in and Harlee would not settle – most probably because she was still hungry! Finally Ben arrived and we decided to top her up with some formula and boom! Sleeping baby! Crazy how fed seems best right? I didn’t spend the day alone which meant I didn’t feel too bad. However, night time rolled around and the thought of Ben leaving was making me feel upset and uneasy so I pushed it out as long as possible. Obviously the time had to come eventually where he would have to go home. I remember getting pretty upset but not even having a real reason apart from me wanting to go with him. He left, I had a little cry but I got over it and fell asleep! Don’t feel like you have to hide your feelings once bubs is here. Have your go to person and talk to them. It will make you feel a lot better knowing you have someone to turn too.

Finally the day had come! We were allowed to go home and start our lives as a family and our fur-st(first) born fur baby was about to meet our baby girl! For me it was a mixture of emotions when leaving the maternity ward. I was so happy to be going home but being in the maternity ward with well-trained midwives gives you some sense of security that you don’t have at home.

As soon as Ben arrived, I was super ready to go! We started packing all the gifts and things we had accumulated over the last few days, so many gifts! I sorted myself out and got some make up on to take the token going home photo! My mum also came to help us with anything we had to take and to help us settle in at home. Around lunchtime, we were off. We were starting our new chapter and I was super excited but super nervous at the same time.

My mum had sorted us some lunch so we came home and sat down to eat but I had this weird feeling of what do I do with my baby when I want to do something – like eat? I guess it is just little things you over think because you have only ever had to worry about yourself and now there is a little human who solely relies on you taking care of them. It was definitely different coming home with her but she fit in just perfectly! All that long awaited baby stuff I had ready months was finally in use and it was a matter of just figure out where, what and when we would use it all. My advice for going home would be to not overthink it too much. It is not as bad as you can work yourself up to think it is and you will get through – even if it is hard. Do not hesitate to accept help. If someone’s offering, let them help! I know this is a lot easier said than done as I am not big on accepting help but have people you can trust and allow them in! I was very lucky to have my mum that I would always feel safe to leave Harlee with. It’s definitely easier having that trusted person!

The first night at home may sound scary but it is really not! You have done this for a few nights now and you know what you are doing. Pretty quickly we had a little middle of the night routine sorted. Once I would hear Harlee waking I would get up and flick the jug on, go back and grab her and do a quick bum change, go and quickly make the bottle then sit down and give her a bottle and bring up her wind. As soon as we done this it was straight back to bed and with minimal lighting as possible to try keep her nice and sleepy. Eventually I got faster and better and we could smash out night feeds pretty quickly!

Before you know it, you will learn the ropes of how you and your baby work. There will always be hard nights and hard days but there is always light at the end of the tunnel! I know all of these first days can be a rather daunting thought and it all seems really scary but you’ll be surprised how your body can adjust and will pull through. I hope this has been some helpful information and that it may ease some of those burning questions you have! Again, don’t hesitate to message me either by email, facebook or Instagram! I am always happy to listen and hopefully help with whatever you are wondering! Catch you all next week!!!

Lace xxx