Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds – source pop sugar.com
Curse you Blake Lively!!!!!….. It would really have done the world of good to the female populations’ self confidence if the stunning Blake Lively ballooned out like a swollen whale and was plagued with hormonal acne while pregnant…. but alas, apparently having Ryan Reynolds draped over her arm as the ultimate man candy wasn’t enough of a blessing, she blossomed into that glowing, magical pregnancy unicorn that I hate to know exists. Now I honestly don’t wish any curses upon her, and really do HATE mum-shaming culture but damn it bites sometimes! Being pregnant with number two I’m living in a little bit of fear of the massive weight gain I put on the first time around (25 kilos!!!!….. yes 25 kilograms on a nice average 62 kilo frame…. it was a waddling, swollen nightmare). I’ve been trying so much harder this time to look after my body (and in turn this growing baby), but to also appreciate and allow the necessary changes to happen. Because last time it was only really in hindsight that I realised how awesome being pregnant was, and how proud of my body I was. It totally completely sucks sometimes, I hate having the skin of a teenager for months, and proper elephant ankles (second only to Kim Kardashian’s whoppers when pregnant with North….. those pictures were my comfort)….. but my body honestly rocked it sometimes! Even with my breaking of the bathroom scales, I came out with only two minor stretch marks that soon faded into insignificance! My average B cup boobs totally owned the breast feeding thing, even though they loved to leak like tears in The Notebook. And at the end of the day my insanely clever insides managed to create and grow an entire perfectly proportioned human…. something that no male can ever do, no matter how fabulous or how many California’s they Govern. So if you are interested in any way at all, feel free to peruse your way through my pearls of incredibly substantiated wisdom in caring for that bump….
Do something active. This has been my salvation second time around… I am about as active and physically committed to exercise as Jabba the Hut on a good day! But horrible pain in my hips from them constantly expanding and the fear of having absolutely no endurance in labour has given me pretty damn good motivation. I now enjoy frequenting a local Aqua Aerobics class with the company of 40 women at least 30 years my senior, and honestly those old birds can aqua lunge and squat circles around me any day. This combined with a good old Pregnancy Yoga DVD from eBay has kept me feeling so sooooo much better. As always be careful what you’re undertaking physically while pregnant (especially if it’s new) and get the go ahead from your Doctor.
Smother that belly. I think each medical professional will give you conflicting advice if this helps or not but over moisturising those new bumps and curves will never do you any harm. In the very least you get a free massage out of the partner every now and then (threatening them with googled images of horrific stretch mark damage is usually enough). I started the habit nice and early, as soon as those two lines appeared I made sure there were oils and moisturisers always at the ready. Have even convinced Evie (my 18 month old) that rubbing cream on mummy’s belly is really fun…. still working on her neck massaging skills.
Magnesium and TEDS for fat feet and muscle cramps. If crazy hormones and snoring isn’t enough already to turn off your man then just wait until he sees you in a super hot pair of hospital support stockings! I get the worst fluid retention if I’m on my feet for anything more than one hour and wearing anything more attractive than CROCS or Nanna’s Paediatric Clogs. It’s not a pretty sight for anyone and is only surpassed by the vision of my uncoordinated struggle to pull on the super tight TED socks (that my wonderful father smuggles home for me from work at the Hospital). But these socks coupled with a few sprays of 100% Pure Magnesium Oil onto the soles of my feet seriously works wonders for my fluid build up, those demonic calf muscle cramps and even help me sleep better. Seriously, buy some magnesium oil (wouldn’t recommend spraying it anywhere near your growing bump without a Drs thumbs up or any broken skin), it lasts forever! And go visit anyone you may be slightly acquainted with in hospital in the aim to steal their hospital bed socks …… or buy some from the chemist if you’re rolling in extra change
Beware Pregnancy Arms…. These things will put any bingo hall to shame and have a tendency to haunt you in Facebook tags for years to come. A little motivation goes a long way and I have a particular photo of myself around 8 months pregnant with Evie that is stuck on that social media wall of shame which shows my previously shapely arms as headless lumpy figures standing awkwardly close to my side. It is my absolute least favourite image of myself and although keeping my arms slim (or as slim as possible for someone who retains fluid like a camel) is an entirely selfish aesthetic goal, it is one I’m happy to be striving for. And there is thankfully an absolute master of arm sculpting called Tracy Anderson who’s ‘Sexy Arms’ workouts (easily YouTube searched) are deceptively horrendous and effective. Start off with the 4 min one and when you feel like punishing yourself a little further dive into the 12 minute version. And the major perk of strengthening your arms is that you’ll soon be carrying around a 3.5 kilo baby constantly and you’ll be wishing you did absolutely anything to help make that easier.
Above everything be kind and forgiving of your body and its changes…. I like to maintain that with a team of stylists I too would look like Blake Lively…. hmmm, maybe more like an average Lena Dunham…. but that’s ok coz I make insanely adorable babies and people would pay good money for that! Stay tuned for some more pregnancy-change related articles….. might be a while away because my next subject is Pregnancy Brain so naturally I have absolutely no idea what to write…. xxx Elise
In hindsight I can see that this post is actually just advice on how to take advice. hmmm…. advice about advice. Oh the irony. 🙂 But I’d still love to share some of the lessons I really learnt on my journey.
One of the numerous pregnancy joys is the incredible influx of advice that suddenly becomes warranted from absolutely everybody. A simple grocery run turns into a mammoth educational journey with colic warnings from the old lady by the pineapples, ‘breast is best!’ acclamations from someone pushing a trolley filled with kale (warning: stereotyping) and the overly helpful shop assistant filling your basket with prunes, mattress sized sanitary pads and castor oil.
When you add increased hormones to these scenarios it can quickly become very overwhelming! I personally became terrified of unknowingly doing something ‘wrong’ and embarrassingly being pulled up in public. I remember at one work function helping myself to some crackers and cheese when one colleague shouted across the room, grabbing everyone’s attention, ‘STOP! CAN YOU EAT THAT??!.’….. Me, stopping mid mouthful thinking, ‘do I spit it out?’.
At the end of the day, this colleague is a beautiful, caring woman who honestly had no ill intentions, and most baby/pregnancy/parenting advice that you’ll come across will be said with the best of intentions. But it is important to establish, for your own sake, how to handle all of this advice. I’ve outlined a couple of my tips below…
Choose your mentors. Great business men and women are never without them, and all parents should surround themselves with other/older parents that they look up to. My hubby and I are ridiculously blessed with some great families that we both admire (and who’s brains we pick annoyingly frequently). Once you’ve singled out who’s opinions really matter to you it makes it so much easier to smile politely, nod and switch off from any unappreciated incessant advice.
Decide with your partner what is right for your family and what you both value the most. Sit down and chat with them, you might be surprised on how strongly they might feel about feeding, sleeping preferences and labour choices. And have this chat waayyyyy before labour starts…
Appreciate people’s interest and excitement. I’m not a fan of unnecessary ‘pregnancy entitlement’. Don’t excuse away being a b#@ch to a sweet old lady who might be a bit forthright. She probably just swears by her advice as it worked like a dream for her. You’ll soon learn the desire to shout from the roof tops absolutely anything that helps navigate the crazy days ahead of you.
Be flexible. Regardless of how much easier it would make it, your little baby has not read all the books! For many people (myself included) preparing for parenthood is all about over education! ‘Read everything and talk to everyone!’ was my motto 🙂 But once my unique little Evie was born, the only one who knew everything about her was her! Thankfully we weren’t too set in our ways and quickly adapted.
Don’t let people (or google) mess with your head. I know I said don’t be a b#@ch, but that doesn’t mean let people walk over you. If people are offensive, upsetting or rude… literally walk away… while visualising a baby vomiting all over them! And the same goes with Google, it is an incredible source but if you are vulnerable never ever ever be left alone with it. I do admit to googling a lot while pregnant, but generally things along the lines of, ‘is heartburn from the devil?’, ‘is out-farting my husband normal?’ and ‘how the hell do pregnant people shave their legs???’. Don’t turn to the internet for serious concerns or worries because regardless of your symptoms you will be soon convinced that death is imminent.
And above all, you will learn what works for you. Absolutely everyone is different and each journey unique. What works for me might be your idea of a nightmare, don’t take anyone’s advice as the gospel truth.
I’d love to hear your thoughts as to how you handled advice…. we’re all a part of a great big community and it would be horrific to ever feel alone in it. Oh and thank you everyone for your visits to the blog, I hit 1000 views today and did a little happy jig 🙂
This is not going to be a mum-slamming, guilt-tripping post! Please take everything I say with a grain of salt and a side of good humour 🙂
This topic has come up multiple times for me in the last 6 months or so. I’m not sure if it’s just me but I feel like absolutely EVERYONE is reproducing these days. To the point that I worry outsiders look at my friendship circle and conclude there’s some underground breeding program going on.
But I do love it, I would personally struggle if I was going through this crazy chapter on my own.
But bulk breastfeeding posse aside, we have noted and developed (mainly through error) the fine art that is telling your birth story.
Choose your crowd – You should be ridiculously proud of yourself for surviving this epic battle, but please, for the sake of 15 year old register boys worldwide, not everyone needs to hear the tale.
Beware the heavily pregnant – It happens so so often! As one mum describes every honest detail with vigour, the blood drains from the poor soul in the corner as she stares terrified down at her massive bump! I personally remember several times wondering how many ‘Hail Mary’s’ I needed to do to miraculously remove this baby from my belly….
Don’t get sucked into ‘winning’ the best/worst birth story. Competitive mums hold your tongue!!!! You’ll get caught out one day when your story has grown from a 5 hour labour to a 35 hour marathon.
Everyone’s story, pain, triumphs are relative to themselves. You cannot tell the mum who had a Ceasarean that she doesn’t have a ‘real’ birth story. It seems ridiculous but I hear it way too often. They are all different and they are ALL incredible.
Queasy stomachs look away. It may surprise some people but the consistency of a Mucus Plug is not always a complimentary detail to your story….. even writing that term makes me cringe….
Remember the ‘Compliment Sandwich’! Often used by my husband when I’ve left my clothes piled up on his side of the bed, the basic method is to ‘sandwich’ an ugly detail or reprimand with two compliments. 🙂 Surround your description of the 18 hours of pushing, 5 metres of tearing and 20 litres of blood loss with ‘I was so ready to get this baby out’ and ‘as soon as I looked into that teeny squished face, the pain literally faded away’….. little white lies can be the salvation of keeping the world reproducing
Pick specific friends that get the whole nine yards. It is so important to identify particular people who are your confidants. You can tell them every detail, where you’re struggling, where you’re wonderfully proud of yourself and where the details are foggy from too much gas (though the crowd of student doctors huddled around me in the shower asking me ‘if it hurt’ is clear as day).
If you’re dying to shout your story from the rooftops, become best friends with an online community. I’m one of ‘those people’ who read as many birth stories as I could. Join an online forum and include every detail, because if people don’t want to listen…. then they don’t 🙂 but please please please beware the ‘compulsive opinion-ator’. Never give a second glance or thought to a complete stranger that attacks your journey.
If you don’t feel like sharing….. then don’t! For everyone it’s a personal thing and it is entirely your prerogative if you want to keep it to yourself. But don’t bottle up any fear or anxiety…. this is a natural and common after effect of child birth. Talk to your doctor, midwives, birth partners and close friends if you are worried about anything that happened.
Don’t be offended if someone won’t listen. They will either have a great reason or a crap reason. Either way, shouldn’t bother you! Never look for someone else’s response to validate your experience. At the end of the day there will always be people like me, reading millions of stories online, just waiting for you to add your tale to the pile 🙂