time flies when you're being a mum

01 Sep, 2012

It’s three weeks since my due date and that gorgeous last date with Mike. I literally can’t believe how upside down our world has been turned by this little fella and not just practical things, like making sure I eat or being able to go to the toilet in piece and quiet, but emotional things too. I spent at least the first week feeling completely overwhelmed by how gorgeous he was. I’d look at him and start crying just because I thought he was beautiful, or I’d be singing him a song and cry during the nice bits!

Other than being totally knackered and crying at the slightest thing, I’m generally amazed at how little time I have. When he’s asleep the first thing I do is sleep too. If I’m not bothered about sleeping (which is hardly ever), I’m cleaning the breast pump, bottles and nipple shields (I’ll fill you in on my breast feeding success/failure in my next post) or trying to eat something. In the space of 3 weeks I’ve gone from eating like a normal person to a race horse. It’s bizarre.

I thought I’d have time/energy to start working out again! Pah! I thought I’d be able to manage my diet- lots of healthy protein, juices, etc. Double pah!

What has happened though is the bump (i.e. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my baby weight!) has started to go.

Here it is after 4days …

…and here it is after 2 and a half weeks.

And, today, complete with muffin top and camel’s toe, I have squeezed myself back into my topshop Jamie jeans (they’re a size 10 but they’re long and super stretchy so I think they’re more like a size 12 – plus in my hay day they were too big!)

Finally, now he’s safely here I can answer the big question…did I get any stretch marks?! No. Hooray!

Now I need to work on getting some muscle tone back in my belly and losing the baby weight. I’ve just got on the scales and I’m 10 kg lighter than I was 3 weeks ago, which is a result. But… I’ve got about 12kg left to lose to be at my ideal weigh, which is 8kg less than I was before I got pregnant! Something tells me it’s going to take considerably longer than another 3 weeks, especially since my cartoon boobs seem to be growing before our eyes. I should probably stop drinking whole milk too…But it tastes soooo good!

Other posts on stretch marks you might be interested in…

How to prevent stretch marks

Prevent stretch marks shopping list

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15 Jul, 2012

Well, 35 weeks pregnant came and went in a bit of a blur. With 5 weeks to go, it was suddenly very real. I’ve been dreaming about going into labour and worrying about the baby continuously – it’s moving too much, not moving enough, why’s it hiccuping ALL the time, etc!

Mike was still away and I was feeling a bit miserable, particularly after a visit to my Grandparents. My Grandad turned 80 last weekend. He’s an amazing man, still working full time running his own business, very fit and healthy. What he hasn’t picked up with age, however, is any tact, and while we were watching the Wimbledon final last Sunday and just after I’d enjoyed a chocolate, he decided it was important to tell me, in a very matter-of-fact way, that I’d put on more than baby weight. Particularly in my face and legs. Although I knew this was true, it made me feel like utter shit! And, without Mike being around to make me feel better, I was very down.

And, the feeling stuck around for most of the week. That coupled with trying to finish my report so that I can start my maternity leave, I’d say I was happy to see the end of my 35th week!

What I did do during my 35th week, which I am really pleased I did before I went to see Grandad, was a photo shoot. This was actually a belated Birthday present for Mike as he had mentioned it would be nice to have some photos of me pregnant. So, I called up our wedding photographer, Caroline, and sheepishly asked her if she would be willing to do some maternity photography for me (and I did mention the ‘sexy’ word – cringe!).

Well, thankfully, she wasn’t phased in the slightest by my request and was more than happy. So, a day after I turned 35 weeks pregnant I got my kecks off! It was such a lovely afternoon – I felt relaxed and despite the fact that I generally feel massive (as confirmed by Grandad), it was nice to celebrate this time too.

I got the photos back yesterday and I am so pleased with them – particularly after feeling generally miserable about my body, this has been a nice little boost. So my new recommendation is if you are struggling with body image, that so happily sits with pregnancy weight gain, get your kit off! Although pregnancy feels like FOREVER, it’s not and in no time I’m going to have a little baby. I may well even miss this bump that is making me walk like a duck, with a fat face and extra large tree trunk legs.

Although most of the photos are for Mike’s eyes only, I thought I’d share one because Caroline did such a good job of avoiding the usual cheesy preggo shots, and I’m amazingly impressed to say that with the right lighting and a very talented photographer some of them are quite frankly hot! (If I do say so myself)

Courtesy of Caroline Briggs, www.carolinebriggs.co.uk

So there you go! I’m sure this won’t be the last of Caroline (now our family photographer!) as I’ll be enlisting her help again once mini-Mike makes its appearance.

If you want some maternity photography like this (and I recon everyone should now!), you can contact Caroline through her website: www.carolinebriggs.co.uk

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02 Jul, 2012

I’m aware it’s a bit of a cop out of a blog post today but I wanted to tell you about 2 things and since I have a report due on Thursday and I’m travelling all day today to get home, I’m taking this opportunity to just write a quickie!

Well, firstly, I’m very excited that my gorgeous husband, Mike, and his work mate ‘Giff’ have been kindly working on my new blog design and I love it! For a sneak preview you can see it in more detail here (but only for today!), but if you don’t see it today, here it is a bit smaller…

Secondly, I was flattered to be asked by the lovely ladies at Wiggly Rascals to write a guest post about Pregnancy Weight Gain (something I now know A LOT about!). You can read my post on their site and also if you have any thoughts on weight gain yourself, they would really appreciate it if you could tell them about your experience – just follow this link and fill in their survey!

I’ve had the loveliest time this weekend with my best friend, Alex, down in Olney (despite being VERY disappointed to not meet Alice from morethantoast!). The sun has shone, we’ve eaten more cherries than you can shake a stick at and had the most dismal failure of a BBQ, it will go down in history and I’ve loved every minute of it. Here’s me and Alex on her ‘sun terrace’ (I’m displaying my knowledge of pregnancy weight gain in true style there)!

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25 Jun, 2012

I turned 33 weeks pregnant on Thursday and I’m feeling better than I have done at earlier points in my pregnancy. Despite this I didn’t get much chance to workout with various other things getting in the way. So on Saturday I was well up for a good gym session. Here’s what I did:

  • 20 mins on the bike (I did about 140 cals)
  • Resistance work – 3 sets:

> 10 x bicep curl (with 5kg weights)

> 10 x squat to shoulder press (with 5kg weights)

> 10 x tricep curls (with 1 5kg weight)

> 20 x slow sumo squats

  • 10 mins walking (about 40 cals)

In terms of weight gain, I’ve now gained about 24lbs, which is within the guided amount for this stage (despite the chinese, chocolate, crisp mishaps along the way) and leaves between 1 and 11lbs that I can gain (but would prefer not too!) for the next 7 weeks. In my hope of keeping the final weeks under control, and inspired by watching Jodie Marsh’s bodybuilding programme on Saturday night (you may think I’m crazy but I quite like how she looks – minus the bronzer), I’ve ended up looking to the hardcore pregnancy mums for inspiration/advice. I’ve found a particular post by Abigail Kluttz called Baby Bumps and Barbells, which has really useful advice about exercise and includes an eating and exercise plan. At this stage, diet is going to be the main thing that prevents too much weight gain, rather than exercise. So, hands off the pies!

Baby bean must also be feeling pretty good as it’s been kicking like crazy this week and I have finally caught some genuine footage of the little dude doing it’s thing along to 6 music:

The kicks have actually started to twinge or even hurt at times so things must be starting to get a tight in there! I’d been panicking for the last few weeks that junior wasn’t in the right position – i.e. head down. But after a visit to the midwife today, I’m very happy to say that baby is where s/he should be! All hail the space hopper that has become my best friend – here’s my new workstation at home!

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25 Apr, 2012

I really admire what The Shape of a Mother‘s creator is trying to achieve – namely giving mothers a place to show off their mum badges of honour and talk about how they feel about them. The idea being this is liberating and shows people what women really look like when they aren’t busy being air brushed.

HOWEVER, since I’ve not yet had my first child it has scared the shit out of me. I don’t want a bum on my belly and loads of horrible stretch marks but it seems that this is the only possible outcome (unless you are my lovely friend Ania who has no stretch marks and has gone back to the size she was before having 2 kids, if not smaller – please, dear god, let me have her genes too!!).

So, aside from panic about the fact that I’ve put on another 4 lbs over the last week (really need to stop eating like a trucker), I’m all about trying to prevent as much as I can from getting morphed into something that can’t be morphed back. Starting with weight gain.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, try not to put on too much weight! I’m mainly talking to myself here. It seems that one of the main pieces of advice to prevent most issues (stretch marks included as they are caused by a growth spurt) is to keep a handle on your weight. I’m guessing this will also prevent the excess sagging skin (bum belly from earlier) from seriously taking shape while you’re happily growing junior and none-the-wiser.

Looking more specifically at stretch marks, according to supernanny.co.uk the good news is 75% – 90% of women develop stretch marks. How is that good news? Well, it isn’t especially but on the bright side, this does mean that there is an outside chance that you won’t develop any purple meanies if you’re in the 10 – 25% gang. They go on to suggest the following pre-birth tips to prevent stretch marks (the post-birth advice includes surgery!):

1. Massage your skin – this will improve circulation to the skin, therefore, promoting new tissue growth. You can do this with moisturiser but I think a circulation brush (which is meant to get rid of celulite in a similar way) might also do the trick. According to Beautiful on Raw collagen production (required for lovely, non-stretched skin) is encouraged by getting rid of the old, dead skin cells. So, exfoliation could be the key here by also providing a massage.

2. Get the right vitamins and minerals – you especially want vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc and silica for healthy skin.

3. Drink loads of water – keeps you and your skin hydrated, of course.

4. Get the right cream – and start using it early on. Apparently you want something with Vitamin E in it.

What I can gather from all number of sources is that when it comes to stretch mark prevention creams can cost the earth and are as much use as a dog on roller skates. The stretching occurs under the skin (i.e. out of reach from creams) and is caused by a loss of elastin and collagen in the skin. (Having said that, I’m still moisturing everyday as I have insanely dry skin but I’m just buying the cheap stuff!)

Taking this into consideration, I’m, therefore, more interested in what to eat rather than what to put on to prevent stretch marks.

According to stretchmarkremoval.com the name of the game is keeping your skin (namely the connective tissue) “elastic and pliable” in order to prevent the marks forming by eating the right things. Foodrenegade.com go one further and fully believe that by altering your diet you CAN prevent stretch marks! Hooray. In this article, foodrenegade shares the amazing story of a woman who after an initial stretch mark riddled pregnancy then went on to have twins (large twins at that – 6 and 7lbs!) 15 years later without a single mark. She puts it purely down to what she ate.

So, what to eat…basically things that will help your skin to maintain it’s moisture and elasticity:

  1. Vitamin E – scar reduction and skin firmer. Get it from Spinach, watercress, asparagus, carrots, tomatoes, almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.
  2. Vitamin A – reduces skin inflammation, scar reduction and skin firmer. Get it from dark green leafy veg (broccoli, watercress, etc.), and orange fruits and veg (such as carrots, oranges, apricots and mangos)
  3. Vitamin D – important for organ function (and skin is one of the biggest organs). See link for where to get it from.
  4. Vitamin C – scar reduction and skin firmer, and important for collagen production. Get it from collard greens, kale, and red peppers, oranges, grapefruit and lemon. You need plenty every day as the body doesn’t store it (Beautiful on Raw believes that this should be your first port of call in prevention).
  5. Omega 3 – supports the production of collagen. I’d say get it from fish rather than a supplement.
  6. Zinc – excellent mineral for the skin. Get it from fish, nuts, whole grains, peppers, and leafy greens, lentils and chickpeas. Also you can add a supplement.
  7. Silica – nourishes the elastic and collagen fibers in your skin. Get it from cucumber, celery, peppers, carrots and tomatoes.
  8. Rosehip seed oil – supports the production of collagen. Take as a supplement and also put on the skin (perhaps check with your midwife first though).

And, potentially as important is what not to eat (unfortunately)…

  1. Animal fat
  2. Junk food (no more late night kebabs then)
  3. diet and regular soda drinks (does this include things like Fanta as well as coke? I’m assuming so – bums! As if having to give up booze wasn’t bad enough)
  4. Caffeine

These types of food are harmful to the skin and therefore exaggerate the issue of stretch marks.

Finally, and as ever, hubspages suggest exercise! By carrying out aerobics and resistance training, and going for a 15-30 min walk everyday, you can prevent the worst of it.

We shall see and fingers crossed big style! At least with all this to think about, we won’t have time to even go near a chocolate bar. Let me know what you think…if you’ve had a baby and kept the stretchies at bay, please let us in on your secret!

Resources:

Avoiding the dreaded stretch marks – supernanny.co.uk

How a proper diet prevents stretch marks – stretchmarkremoval.com

Prevent stretch marks with nutrition – foodrenegade.com

Foods to prevent stretch marks – Livestrong

Stretch mark – Beautiful on Raw

How to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy – hubpages

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