I was chatting with a friend when she said this to me. Now I know where she was coming from, but it got me thinking.
Are there any Mum's out there who are truly being the Mum they expected to be (before kids)?
While I was pregnant I had time to Google. I checked Pinterest boards and I had in my mind the things that a 'good Mother' should do.
How wrong was I. Expectations versus reality. I expected to be my old self straight after birth.
I expected that my baby wouldn't arrive until 40 weeks (9.5 months right!).
So this baby is happening! You are so excited and want to give this baby the best. What do you buy? Many women get carried away preparing the nest, buying clothes for the baby, setting up a nursery and so on that they forget the most important thing - to look after themselves~!
Here are my Top 5 Ways To Splurge On Your Pregnancy/Birth.
1. Hire an Independent Midwife!
If you are in Perth - here is a list of Midwives that operate Independently (that means that they are not acting as employees of the hospital but are employed by you directly). This is hands down the best way to ensure the Continuity Of Care that we all know helps women get the birth they really want.
I got the call at 4 30am. My client was well over 40 weeks. She rang to tell me that things were pretty intense, and she would like me to meet her at the Family Birth Centre (FBC).
I always wake with adrenalin at that time of the morning. Listening to her as she paused our conversation through a Birthing Wave, I knew that this was it.
Now nobody planning a homebirth really wants to consider that they may need a hospital bag. I see it as having a dual purpose. Of course should you need to go to hospital for whatever reason, its there and its ready (think Girl Scout).. but also if your partner or your doula or midwife needs to get you something - having everything in one place makes it so much easier to find.
When you are planning a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC), it’s easy to want to do absolutely everything you can - this time around. I see women posting often in online forums asking for opinions on whether it’s really worth it to hire a Doula and/or an independent midwife.
Even when you think its too late to get doula support it really isn't.
Just like you - I have been there. I remember vividly being told that my baby needed to be born early. Which absolutely did not fit with the notion in my head that I was still 3 weeks away from 40 weeks (as you can guess mentally I wasn't ready).
I also remember feeling so confused and scared when they said it was an emergency induction and my baby needed to be born now... but then the hospital got busy and I was told I would have to wait until tomorrow. Like what the actual? I needed someone to explain why, but the staff were all quite busy. In fact I waited an hour for someone to enter my room to tell me what was going on, to reassure to me, to tell me where I could get a drink of water.. but noone.
“You’re constantly just feeling like, ‘Are we out of the woods yet? What’s the next thing gonna be? What’s the next hurdle we’re gonna have to jump over? Are we gonna make it to next week?’ It was interesting to write about a relationship where you’re just honestly like, ‘This is probably not gonna last, but how long is it gonna last?’ Those fragile relationships … It doesn’t mean they’re not supposed to happen. The whole time we were having happy memories or crazy memories or ridiculously anxious times, in my head it was just like, ‘Are we OK yet? Are we there yet? Are we out of this yet?’”
I remember listening to her interview and thinking that this is EXACTLY what Parenthood felt like to me. Fragile, happy, crazy and sometimes ridiculously anxious. Those Wonder Weeks just added extra pressure. This too will pass but when?
The Confidence Game in birth is alive and well. I'm writing this blog post in response to an email from a client. Up until now this client has received total support and confidence from their caregiver regarding their ability to give birth naturally. It has always been a valid option for them.
Today when they went to a regular, scheduled hospital appointment, they faced a different person to last time. A person who through their 'counselling' instilled the first seed of doubt in their choices. A person who made it clear that they held the medical degree.
With your first birth you may have had a 'what will be, will be' attitude (or not). This time around you find yourself like Alice in The Magicians. Alice is a magician who knows that she has the power to beat the beast. She is the only one with the power to attempt it.
She and her lover use probability magic to determine their best chance to beat the beast, and the answer is to visit Fillory. Fillory is a magical land filled with talking animals and other magical beasts. It is a land of abundance.
I can't do that' was the reply from one lovely Mumma. 'Why not?' I asked with curiosity. 'It's not what we do in our culture is it?' she said. She was so right and I was so grateful for her pointing out the obvious.
It left me on the one hand saddened, knowing that as culture we expect women to DO IT ALL. In the movies they pop on a dress, heels and cook a three course meal two days after baby is born to entertain all the guests, in a sparkling clean, spotless kitchen.
When it comes to birth, it seems pretty straight-forward. You go in to hospital, you have a baby, happy days begin. So how is that expecting couples, who are going in to have their baby and asking for one thing, are getting another. It's a bit like going to vegan restaurant and being served bacon - ya what?
This is so common, the reason is that there are HIDDEN PACKAGE DEALS - unwritten rules associated with certain decisions. Rhea Dempsey calls it 'This goes with that births' (like the Sussan Ad for those of us old enough to remember).
Once upon a Monday...She felt like she had to do EVERYTHING! She felt so unappreciated. She daydreamed in envy back to the days pre-baby. She had no idea how easy she had it then, until now. She once enjoyed copious amounts of FUN and FREEDOM.
Pre-baby she used to spend her weekends indulging in painting and scrapbooking. Postpartum her paints and papers were packed up in boxes in the garage.
Once the CEO in charge of her life, as well as a Manager of a national company, she was respected and well paid. Now she was engulfed in a 24 hour cycle of monotony... rinse and repeat.. Her life now revolved around when the baby slept (or didn't) and gosh there was hell to pay if he didnt..
I was watching the Kardashians the other day.. I find them truly fascinating. What amazed me the most was that Kim (pre-Kanye) was in this episode expressing how she had fallen out of love with her husband (sports player can't remember his name).
She wasn't interested anymore. DIDN'T WANT TO SPEND TIME with him and didnt know what to do. Wasnt feeling the LOVE..
It had me asking the question - How many of us know that there are 8 STEPS TO BECOMING US?
There is an issue affecting men that nobody is really talking about. Well not in public anyway. The issue is that Dads are gaining weight after the birth of their baby.
They despise it, it frustrates them, they want to do something about it, but they also want to be a good Dad and partner.
They often don't know what to do... or they don't feel that their family is supported enough without them...or they're not really sure if they can safely take a break from their caring role long enough to take action (without getting resentful glares on their return).
I see this happening a lot. So what is going on??
The truth is there are likely a range of factors at play, most of which are largely out of Dad's control.
1. Time vs. Money
Dads are often faced with constraints of time and money. Spending the time and money on expensive, solo activities that were a part of his life pre-baby are often not possible anymore (or at least not as often). Often the Dad is faced with being the sole provider postpartum (at least in the short term) meaning less disposable income for the family.. and when he's not at work he's expected to share the workload at home equally with his partner.
'I want to look good, but I have to be there for the family, so gym time is usually put aside so the family stuff gets done. This means gym time sometimes doesn't happen."
2. Deep Sleep Is A Distant Memory
He is likely not getting much sleep. Newborns right through to toddlers (and even children) often wake in the night, sometimes numerous times (research shows that sleep deprivation can affect the thyroid gland and sleep deprivation is strongly associated with weight gain due to changes in appetite hormones called leptin and ghrelin).
3. Good nutrition takes time and effort
pre-baby at least one partner would have the time and energy to make nutritious food. Post-baby is a whole different world. Shopping with a newborn takes effort. Cooking while breastfeeding can be dangerous. So many reasons why it's harder to eat well with a baby.
4. Relationship Stages
I recently finished my certification with Elly Taylor, doing her Becoming Us training. Her model of Relationship Stages sets out three distinct stages of relationships. Coming Together - Growing Apart - Growing Together - they are a part of the model which explains how we go from being two distinct individuals to being a family.
Now given how long it takes to give birth to a baby after conception, and that in many couples a relationship is started pre-conception, it is really common for new parents to either be in the Growing Apart or Growing Together stage in their relationship by the time baby arrives.
What effect does the relationship stage have on the postpartum Dad?
Quite simply, don't be surprised if a couple who are 'Growing Together' or 'Growing Apart' experience conflict. This conflict may affect how easy the Dad finds it is to negotiate exercise and diet (without extra conflict or even just the fear or expectation of conflict).
If we assume that the couple are in the Growing Apart Stage, the Dad will likely be spending more time on his individual growth, conflict is more common and that is before Dad starts to negotiate 'individual time' to exercise.
If the couple are in the Growing Together Stage, the Dad will likely be channeling his personal growth into growing the couple and the family, and this becomes more important than solo activities.
What can Dad's do to lose weight with a newborn>
The best thing to do is to come up with an agreed plan. Part of the Nest Building Plan (the Plan that I use with couples as part of my Birth Support Package), sets out exercises or activities that are appropriate for each parent (or both to do together).
A daily walk with baby is a great low impact way to start improving your fitness. Gentle activity alleviates stress, and lifts mood.
The key here is not so much the activity itself, but coming to agreement about who will do what, and how often.
Babywearing is a great way for Dad's to spend some time with baby and get exercise. Click here for more info on safe babywearing.
It's then up to that partner to make the time to make it happen on a regular basis (and their partner to support and encourage them).
At our June Pregnancy and New Mothers Group we invited Angela Harrison along to talk about secret womens business. You know the kind of stuff that nobody is talking about.
Angela runs a business called Thrive Women's Health where she helps local women with a blend of Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Herbal Medicines.
If someone told me that I would be a placenta encapsulator ten years ago, I would have laughed myself silly.
Who me, the vegetarian who thinks that placentas resemble jellyfish (and I don't even like jellyfish thank you very much)!
People say nothing can prepare you for parenthood, but that's not true anymore.
Welcoming your new or next baby, or even the one who will complete your family, is a time of transformation.
Knowing how to work as a team with the changes and challenges that are common to most mamas, papas and partners can deepen your connection and strengthen the foundation you are building for your whole family.
Becoming Us prepares, guides and supports you through the first few years of parenthood so you can grow a family that thrives.
Mary Houston's Earphones At Bedtime Free Yoga Nidra series is truly lifechanging... and better still you don't have to a thing to benefit.
How it works is that she sends you a downloadable sound file (MP4) that you can save to your phone. Then you simply listen to it as you are falling asleep. The course lasts for 3 weeks, and you receive a free meditation each week.
Mary's voice is very easy to listen to (unlike some meditation downloads) and you listen as you drift off to sleep. The best part is that you can still benefit even if you are asleep! I highly recommend this to exhausted, stressed out Mums!
The biggest difference that listening to the Yoga Nidra made to me is that what little sleep I get (as the mother of a young toddler) I wake up feeling more rested. When I'm only getting 5 hours a night of sleep I need every hour to count!
A friend of mine posted the following on Facebook and I saw red. When you read it you will understand why.
I took our baby to our local Health Campus as she has been projectile vomiting since 4am this morning, she's has had about 6 hours sleep in the past day and a half. She is screaming in pain and not to mention hasn't had a proper feed since lunch time yesterday and a temp of 38.5.
They seemed quite concerned that she was dehydrated so they wanted her to stay in over night, fine by me as I only want what's best for her, except! They refused me to stay with her, I kinda figured that her being only 4 months old and still breastfeeding it wouldn't of been an option for her to stay over night without me but it was.
I asked if I was able to please stay because I was worried about her and that she's never spent a night without me as I'm still breastfeeding. The Dr replied with: formula is just as good, she either stays here with us or you can both go.
You see it everywhere in the media. Celebrities barely 12 weeks postpartum with no signs of a post-baby belly. I knew the saying '9 and a half months to gain it, 9 and a half months to lose it' so I was not worried about becoming fit immediately after birth. I was also breastfeeding, and although everyone says this helps you lose baby weight that wasn't particularly true for me.
How would you like your postpartum M'am?
After the birth of my first baby I was a little bruised, had a few stitches and was exhausted in many ways, but I was physically OK. I went into my second birth with expectations of much the same postpartum. Boy was I wrong! Every birth and every baby are different.
Second time round I had a longer pregnancy, coupled with a precipitate delivery and a slightly larger baby. Who knows what it was exactly, but I noticed very quickly that when I got up to walk after giving birth, I felt like my ovaries were falling out!! It was painful (not just uncomfortable), and at first I thought I was overdoing it, until I spent all day doing nothing and was still sore when I walked.
I used a Newborn Mothers Belly Band to gain initial relief and wore it 24/7. I had this idea that with patience and time and doing my Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels) that my body would somehow feel better. I put it out of my mind in the short term. This was a really comfortable way to do day to day activities, especially having to pick up and care for my baby. I dismissed how supportive my Belly Band was until I thought I'd go without it one day and within a few hours I put it back on.
Enter The Shapewear
The Belly Band was ideal until the time came when I wanted to do some serious exercise, and then I was back to square one as even a gentle jog was more than uncomfortable. It was about this time I discovered Spanx and I decided to try them when running.
It was just what I needed. I was able to exercise and run again. They were dead unsexy but after waiting so long to get back into exercise I didn't care. They allowed me to exercise enough to be a little fitter.
Where Can I Find Support?
Check out the Assets range in Target (designed by Sara Blakely who created Spanx) this one for example is only $15: http://www.target.com.au/p/assets-by-sara-blakely-remarkable-results-high-waisted-panty-nude/52383960
Where Can I Learn More About Pelvic Floor Alignment?
Lisa Gillespie has a free course: 5 Days Of Pelvic Alignment which you can find here: http://www.lisallc.com/blog/are-you-a-pelvic-floor-statistic/?mc_cid=e3a7bd7700&mc_eid=c1c6eee3e1
Questions, comments, want to share your unsexy postpartum secret? Get in touch!