Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Fourth Trimester - Anxiety is a bitch....

I really want to write my blog in order but I am going to make an exception - and will come back to the topic in more detail later.....

Today is the first day since my daughter was born that I have truly felt myself.

That my thoughts have not been drowned by anxiety and sleep deprivation, that my heart has not skipped a beat with worry over everything and nothing, that I felt a warmth in my gut in place of guilt, a sparkle in my eye without the veil of sadness and a smile that didn't ache to smile.

My daughter will be 4 months old tomorrow.

4 months - those first 4 precious months.....precious because both myself and my daughter have been so fragile, everyone being careful not to break or crack either one of us.  Physically creeping around the house so not to wake the peaceful baby and verbally quiet so not to conjure up unnecessary thoughts in my sensitive mind.

Why today? Is it the sunshine? The festive period? The fact that my husband has been off so has allowed me time to breathe? The fact that I have surrounded myself with positive people or got back into a full yoga practise? Probably all of the above.....

Having a new baby is of course going to be overwhelming. But not necessarily for the reasons you are warned about. "Your life is never going to be the same again" and "You wont get to go out like you used to" are often heard from your Mama friends.......What they should really say to you is this....

"Its fucking hard - hard looking after another life 24/7, hard because you don't have a moment to think, your body doesn't just bounce back, you will look at your friends going out and yearn to be with them but at the same time wont want to leave your child, hard because you don't just birth a baby, its your birth too - as a mother, a creator, a teacher, a provider, a carer. Breastfeeding isn't as easy as it looks and not all babies sleep through the night. No matter how tough your skin is, you become so vulnerable to life around you as you know it, and its quite often sucks....."

There will be times when you question why you had a baby even though you would never change it for the world.

You will wait by the front door with baby in arms waiting for your partner to walk in so you can pass it over and lock yourself in the bathroom.

You wont always get to eat or brush your teeth

You will wish you could go to work instead of staying at home doing the same routine everyday

You will be lonely, yearning for adult conversation and a glass of wine with your girlfriends.

You will get anxious over the silliest of things

You will feel guilt over every decision you make for yourself or your baby

You will feel pressure from society, family, friends even if its not there.....I could go on....

But hang in there ladies!!!!!!!

You WILL get that first smile, and that giggle, and that cry when nobody else has your magic touch and that feeling when only you can soothe.

Your nipples WILL stop hurting!

You will find time to go get your nails done, eventually.... :)

Your colicky baby WILL grow out of it.

You will create the most beautiful life and soul, which will leave your mark in this world for generations to come.....

Despite what you feel you ARE amazing Mama and you WILL feel better......

Also - don't be afraid to ask for support, from friends, family, online forums or speaking with a doctor. Behind those perfect Instagram accounts, theres Mama's all over the world crying over spilt milk ( probably quite literally) so lets end the taboo and be more open about things.....

Today is a good Day :)

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Things that got me through my first trimester and the rest....

So you're feeling like crap, looking like crap and you cant have a drink or tell any of your buddies whats wrong so they can help you feel better.......and this is supposed to be fun?

I reckon 99% of people don't get that "glow" in their first trimester...instead they realise how desperately lonely it is.......you re pregnant not diseased! But that's not how you feel at the time.

Here's the things that got me through and the advice I wish somebody could have given me.

REMEMBER - Growing a human is fucking hard!!!!! Give yourself some credit! A new life, a new generation, a tiny little heart is beating inside of you and YOU are keeping it alive!

You're totally allowed to feel like shit!!!! But you deserve a medal.....a big chocolate one!!!

This ones hard, I know how difficult it is to see the light at the end of the tunnel but its there I promise..,.BE STRONG - I CAN AND I AM! ( that was my mantra)

And breathe.........Yoga got me through my pregnancy and my birth - its so important to have as much "you" time as humanly possible when you're growing a human - cos lets face it, in a few short months, its not going to be about you anymore!

Tell a few people - you need support and don't be afraid to reach out - find a friend that's recently had a baby, they can help and sympathise. Its also imperative that your partner understands just how difficult these first few months are - you're not yourself, you're weaker than usual and you deserved to be pampered......How come they get to do the fun bit of " wham bam thank you Ma'am" and then they're down the pub whilst you're curled up on the sofa feeling nauseous?! Nope - you're in this together! The support I received from my husband totally helped my state of mind to help me get through.

Lets face it you cant stand the smell of anything cooking so not that! I found adult colouring books awesome - so therapeutic and really quietens the mind.

Mandala Colouring Book from WH Smith 

If you cant stand the thought of eating anything or cooking because of the smell - juice! Its the best way to fill your body with the nutrients it needs for your baby without you gagging all the time.

This is a tough one I know, but trust me - you will thank me for it later - no matter the weather! Yogi Bhajan says if we can walk 5 miles a day we will have an easy labour....... I managed at least 5km a day throughout my pregnancy and my labour was 2.5 hours. Go figure!

I know I know, you feel like this is going to last forever, but it really wont. When you're in the throws of your second trimester you will forget about so many of the woes from your first. And when you get those baby butterflies.....its a whole new story! 

Cos everything's getting a bit tight and your hormones are raging, and every time you go to put something on it doesn't fit and you cry - so to stop this, get yourself some Maternity jeans and get comfy! My favourite are Topshops Baxter's....

Friday, 18 December 2015

Surrendering my body to pregnancy.....one of the hardest struggles I faced....First Trimester

So you've peed on a stick, got the great news that you're pregnant and then realisation kicks in - you're not just pregnant. You're going to have a baby for the rest of your life - and its going to grow inside of you for the next 9 months.......

From that moment on, everything changes.....Your mind, your body, your relationships, your sex life, basically your whole life as you know it......but you chose to block it out. You're not going to be "one of those" women - you're going to be exactly the same as you always have been just with a baby as well.

I totally blocked it out - I wasn't going to let being pregnant spoil my fun or change who I was - I was ready to show the world that life goes on as normal!

So there I was, a strong independent woman who had always looked after herself and her body, slowly watching it fade before my eyes.......

My energy levels demolished, my healthy eating habits were no more, my hormones sent my mind into a mashed up emotional rage one moment and floods of tears the next. I no longer had control......I'd been evicted from my own body and most of my mind for those first few months.

I'd already told myself that i wasn't going to be sick and that i was prepared for my body to change - but I totally wasn't. I was a mess. An evicted tenant left out on the cold December streets of London and i couldn't even drink wine to keep me warm! I couldn't run away from it either - as even though I'd been evicted, there was no escaping this vessel, it was totally my fault I felt this way - I wanted this to happen, but not "this" I wanted to look and feel like they did in the movies. Pregnancy is surrounded by so many preconceptions and taboos that nobody dare talk about and I now fully understood them. It was all bull shit....

My bump grew quickly ( good old relaxin!), as did my butt and boobs, and thighs.......nothing fitted me, I was in denial, every time I would try and force myself into those disco pants just...one....last....time.....I cried - everything I owned was figure hugging and fitted - stupid idea that was! Now I was really suffering - my style no longer mattered - my identity, my character, may as well go in the bin, as well as my life because I've got this massive pregnancy hangover and I cant talk to anybody because its the first trimester and were being safe.

The only way Ive ever been able to describe it was that I was this nice little boutique hotel and someone from a big chain like Hilton had bought me and decided to turn me into a bigger hotel so added a massive extension without telling me this was all happening so soon.....just building, slowly changing the view, the space, the vibe around me.

No matter how much you say you will surrender yourself to your pregnancy - nothing makes you feel more shit and lonely than your first trimester.

My husband, my dog and kleenex ( and some doughnuts) were the only things that got me through.....

It feels like its never going to end.....but hang in there - because it does! You GOT this!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Morning Sickness - How much of it is in our heads?

Morning Sickness - why call it that?!

Everyone I've known to have it have felt rough pretty much all day! Its another one of those pregnancy taboos that nobody tells you about.

You assume you will wake up, have a little spew and get on with your day. Not really.....

What you should be told is you're going to feel like you've drank 50 shots of sambuca on an empty stomach, pretty much every day for the first few months if not more....

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I told myself and anyone else around me that i was categorically NOT going to be sick......Its all in the mind.....I'm going to do my best mind over matter yogi bullshit to make sure that i wasn't on my knees over my brand spanking new toilet calling to "Hughie" on a daily basis.

I actually did manage this! In fact, my husband was sick more than I was when i was pregnant thanks to the copious amount of Christmas parties he went to whilst I was pregnant over the Christmas period.

Before you all think I was bouncing around like I was pre-pregnancy, I was not! I had the worst hangover Ive ever had in my life....It was actually like sea sickness, combined with the worst hangover I've ever had in my life.....Some days I thought that if i was sick then the horrible spinning going on in my stomach would just go away......so did i create this nausea with my "mind over matter - I'm not going to be sick" talk, or was I just lucky? Was it the Food State pregnancy vitamins I'd discovered? Or my mind over matter theory? Who knows, But here's what I did to try my best to avoid it.

I ate shit - all the time!

Nobody bangs on their healthy eating drum as much as me - but all I wanted to eat were sugar and carbs and lots of both. I'm talking jacket potato with beans followed by 3 or 4 donuts or scones 9 and they weren't vegan!

Convenience became my go-to and that often meant stodge! Potatoes, pasta and donuts are all things I probably hadn't eaten for a good few years but there i was craving them and I wasn't about to fight it. This is when I first learnt that I had to just let go of normality as my body was no longer my own....It was my babies now, and what baby wants baby gets.

When I was having a good day I made sure I ate lots of protein, iron and folic acid rich foods such as Avocado, quinoa and spinach, but the thing I learnt was it doesn't matter what it is = just get it in there and make it through the working day! On top of all this you're so tired, and its so hard to hide from people as you've not told anyone in your early stages when in actual fact, its probably the trimester that you could do with the most support in! I wonder if we will ever get over this taboo and normalise pregnancy and pregnancy loss so women don't feel like they're failing? That's a whole new blog post!

I slept - all the time!

I love to be busy, out and about, walking my dog for hours on end, socialising but none of this happened really for the first 14 weeks. On the weekends I would force myself to walk the dog on the heath for at least an hour which would normally result in my husband pushing me up Parliament Hill and me falling asleep in the car on the short drive home ( something I've never been able to do)

I meditated - all the time!

One of my tools throughout this pregnancy was the awesome book - bountiful, beautiful, blissful by Gurmukh - the Queen of Kundalini Yoga, she suggests that the Kirtan Kriya is the best thing possible to stop morning sickness / nausea. Its a really simple meditation that you can do when you have time to sit and relax properly - or when you're on the tube and feel like you're about to throw up as the dude next to you smells like a wet dog!

Here is a video of the Kriya.

...... I used to mentally vibrate Sa-Ta-Na-Ma as I was walking along and do the movement with my fingers.......Even it was a simple trick of getting you to focus on something else - it worked for me....... There is a video of me showing you the Mudras on my instagram page - click here to see it.

There are studies out there that suggest that there is no such thing as morning sickness....but I know a whole load of women who would say that's a load of bollocks......some say you get it with girls but not boys.....what are your views on it?

You'll be lucky to hear that by 16 weeks the 10 week hangover had passed - just around the time we found out the sex of the baby....But did I make myself feel worse by not allowing myself to actually be sick? We will never know....!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Prenatals - the good, the bad and the hangover......

We all know how important it is to make sure our body is prepared to carry a baby.

the prenatal market is saturated with all sorts of different brands, pills, sprays, foods for you to get sucked into.....

ive always been pretty good at keeping a balanced diet without having to supplement so I made the brave statement of saying that I was going to try and do this throughout my pregnancy too - how hard could it be?!

So I need how much folic acid?! OK - So whats that the equivalent of? 10 Avacados each day!!!? OK now I love avacado's just as much as anyone but that just isnt going to happen.....a) because I love avacado's too much and I dont want to start hating them and b) that would cost me an absolute bomb!

So Off to Holland and Barrett I go, in search of my perfect prenatal which I plan on taking before we try for a baby. I'd heard that Pregnacare was the McDonalds of vitamins so I thought to stay well clear of those......My gut instinct is always to go for the most expensive - they must be good if they're the most expensive!

I bought the Solgar Prentals which seemed to work fine.......until I got pregnant....!

Now here's the thing I very quickly found out. Morning sickness isn't necessarily morning sickness!!!!

I started to feel rough - dog rough, 4 day bender kind of rough, in fact worse. I'd told myself i will NOT be sick as I believe that a lot of this is mind over matter and I wasn't in fact ever sick during my pregnancy ( apart from one time i got food poisoning in Mauritius) But I had the hangover from hell......Some days I found it hard to even move.

So in my pregnancy hungover state - I forgot to take my Solgar tablets for around 4 days and started to perk up - I could see clearly again! How wonderful! So clearly that I remembered I hadn't taken my vitamins.

I ran to the kitchen - swallowed the house sized tablets and within 30 minutes I was feeling sick as a dog again! Its these tablets!!!! Its not morning sickness at all!!!!! A quick google search showed that I wasn't the only one to find this problem...... Just think - all those people out there with "morning sickness" and it could very well be just from your vitamins!

For 3 weeks I couldnt face eating any food as I felt so so sick....

I went straight back to wholefoods, high street Kensington the next day and explained my woes to a specialist who seemed to know exactly what I was talking about. She recommended I moved onto "Food State" vitamins, this meant that all the nutrients actually came from food - not other sources which were more than likely what was clogging up my stomach!

So I bought some Wild Nutrition tablets and the sickness feeling subsided pretty much straight away.....They also do fertility tablets as well as the pregnancy ones. Once I had started on these tablets my appetite came back entirely and I was back eating 3 healthy meals a day....

I now have changed all my supplements to food state only as its so much easier on your stomach, there is also another great brand called Together - they are cheaper than Wild Nutrition and I found them to have the exact same effect. These can also be bought from larger Wholefoods and Holland and Barrett stores.

Made me remember - you are what you eat! so give it a go and spare yourself the sickness!