The first few weeks (months?? yearrrrs??) after giving birth pass by in a blur that feels like forever but also like five minutes. Days and nights are interchangeable, dry shampoo is your best friend and you’re so focused on this tiny, defenceless human you’ve been tasked with keeping alive that it’s easy to forget to look after yourself. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, you need to fuel your body with good quality food, and that’s why these post partum bliss balls should be within reach at all times….
When I was pregnant with my first babe I had pregnancy advice coming at me left, right and centre; all of it well-intentioned, some of it contradictory, and most of it going in one ear and out the other because #pregnancybrain followed by #sleepdeprivation. With some of the advice, my well-intentioned friends might as well have been speaking another language. Now that I have two babies, and the benefit of hindsight, I thought I’d put pen to paper in case it may be useful to someone else out there.
- 1. There is no ‘right’ cot/bassinet/pram/car seat/insert other high value baby goods here.
I am not an efficient person. My usual modus operandi is to over-research in a haphazard way, second-guess my decision, third-guess my decision and then return to my original decision, having achieved nothing that I couldn’t have achieved in 1/17th the time I actually spent. But beyond choosing something that meets safety standards there really isn’t a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ decision. And even if there was, your baby probably wouldn’t realise it.
2. Use the time before baby is born to rest.
Oh lord, I really really REALLY wish I’d taken this pregnancy advice. Instead, I ran around like a woman who’d had her first taste of freedom from the 9-5 in about 15 years… catching up with friends, not resting, going for long walks, not resting, buying random baby things I’d never use, not resting etc. etc. etc. until labour. And let me tell you, I have not rested since.
3. Don’t stress about having the nursery set up before bub arrives.
I was hell-bent on having Alfie’s nursery perfectly set up in time for my baby shower, which was about two months before he was even due… talk about unnecessary pressure! And given we didn’t move him out of our room and into said nursery until he was around 10 weeks (when his strange grunting sleep noises finally got the better of us), there was about 4.5 months that the nursery was useful to exactly zero people. I learned from my mistakes with Charlie, whose cot was madly hammered together the day that we moved him into it.
4. Have an idea of how you’d like your baby’s birth to go, but be flexible and listen to the experts.
OK to be fair I did listen to this pregnancy advice. I’d had dreams of a drug-free birth, picturing myself relaxing in a warm bath as the contractions washed over me like waves on a beach… hahahaha good lord I was naive. At 36 weeks we found out that there were some issues with Alfie’s growth, and so we made a plan for induction right on term (assuming I didn’t go into labour naturally beforehand). If you aren’t aware, induction speeds up the process of labour so your body doesn’t have enough time to produce the oxytocin to help counteract the pain, and it comes on F A S T. These factors, among others that are too far above my pay grade to understand, mean that you’re more likely to need an epidural with an induced labour. And need I did. Was it the way I dreamt things would go? No. But did that matter, when I held a healthy (albiet scrawny) baby in my arms? Also no.
After the trauma of Alfie’s birth, I became quite anxious as Charlie’s due date drew nearer. Particularly as he was shaping up to be almost a kilo heavier than Alfie was. At around 38 weeks we made the decision to have an elective caesarean. It was an emotional decision for me, but the right one. My physical and mental recovery was tens of times better than it was with Alfie.
5. Don’t get carried away with cutesie newborn clothes… onesies all the way for the first few months
Baby clothes are probably the sweetest little things on earth, and it’s possible that I went a little overboard on some of the less practical items. Sure, some people are all about dressing their tiny tot up for every outing they make, but it turns out that I am not one of those people. All my boys wore for the first few months of their lives were zip-up onesies and I cannot recommend this approach highly enough. Spending half your life re-adjusting your little one’s clothing is not a good time.
6. Don’t feel uncomfortable asking unvaccinated friends and family not to visit until after your babe has ben vaccinated
I don’t know why this is such an uncomfortable conversation, but even though I knew it was my family, and my choice, I never quite knew how to approach the conversation with friends and family. But if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that there are still a lot of people out there who don’t take risks seriously, and that means my family’s health is my responsibility and my decision (and I don’t need to feel weird about it!).
7. You may not feel like exercising again straight away
This piece of pregnancy advice was possibly the most shocking for me. I remember having a conversation with my Pilates teacher a few weeks before Alfie was due, and telling her quite confidently that I’d be back on deck before my six-week post-natal check. LOL. Nearly three years later and I’m still navigating a bumpy return to training.
and on that…
8. Be proud of your new body
You’ve just grown a human, carried him for nine months, then birthed him… that’s kind of a big deal. And whether you had an easy or difficult pregnancy, whether you gave birth vaginally or via a caesarean section, whether you developed stretch marks, have loose skin, pelvic floor issues, or whether you have all or none of the above, I’ll say it again… you grew, carried and birthed a baby!
I have spent most of my adult life priding myself on my strength and fitness and – on a more subconscious level – the aesthetic benefits of being strong and fit, so it was quite a humbling experience to realise that there were many things my body could no longer do particularly well. From the physical (like running) to the vanity-driven (like filling out the butt of a pair of jeans). But as I continue to work through these changes, as I will be doing for quite some time, I have a growing sense of pride of all the things my body CAN do. Like make a toddler feel safe in the middle of the night and nourish a baby with milk produced by my own body.
Phew. There you have it. If little of it makes sense to you yet, bookmark this page and come back to it a little further down the track. Motherhood is a riiiiiiiiiiiide and until you actually jump on, it’s hard to imagine what it’s going to be like.
ps. Obviously this is all based on my pregnancy and birth stories, so take it as sharing based on personal experiences only… because every mum is different, and so is every baby.
Is there any pregnancy advice you wish you’d taken? Share it in the comments below!
OK so lack of movement isn’t usually a struggle when you’ve got young kids (in my experience, sitting still is approximately 833 times harder) BUT with gyms closed and stay-at-home orders in place across Sydney, it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra ways to burn energy up your sleeve. So with that in mind, here are 10 ways to burn more energy during lockdown. Just for you, my fellow parents of toddlers….
Anyone else noticed that reformer Pilates studios are popping up about the place more frequently than babies in your Facebook feed recently? Don’t get me wrong, I L O V E reformer, but it can be hard to know which studios are the real deal, and which you’d be better off steering clear of. Well never fear, today I bring you three Reformer Pilates studios in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney that you need to try….
Here’s a few of the most common ways you might be sabotaging your workouts, along with some simple fixes. Recognise any of them? Yah, me too ….
So it turns out that trying to write my first blog post after having a baby is quite an intimidating proposition. So much has happened in the past eight months… where do I start? How much do people want to hear? How much am I even comfortable sharing? It’s strange, I’ve never had any issue with sharing my life relatively openly, but that changed quite a bit once I fell pregnant. It felt like something I wanted to keep quieter about (for reasons that I still don’t fully understand). And it felt weird sharing parts of my life on here, knowing there was this life-altering thing happening that I wasn’t talking about. Nekminit, months go by, I haven’t written a blog post, have barely posted on Facebook or Instagram, and you still haven’t met my littlest love!…
Ahhh December. The month that binge drinking and 2am kebabs move beyond being socially acceptable and into the realms of ‘heavily encouraged’. The sad fact is though (and I promise this isn’t just the jealous pregnancy hormones talking) that such behaviour reallllllly isn’t good for you over a prolonged period of time. So… how to ensure you can have a good time AND stay healthy this party season? Well, I’m glad you asked…
Drink more water. Then, drink more water
Your alcohol intake is probably going up, right? And the temperature is going up at the same time. Keep a water bottle with you at all times (I’m a big fan of these ones from Lululemon), and make sure you’re alternating one alcoholic beverage for a glass of water when you’re Christmas party-ing up a storm.
Stock your house with healthy, simple foods
If you don’t have a fridge full of easy-to-prepare healthy foods, you’ll probably find yourself reaching for the Uber Eats app far more than is ideal. Think veggies and fruit of all colours, simple snacks like yoghurt and nuts, and pantry staples like tinned tuna, canned beans and those 90-second packets of rice (sidenote: I don’t think I’ve cooked rice in a saucepan for about three years). If you’re afraid of wastage, check out some of the meal-delivery services in your area… Marley Spoon is a fave of mine.
Consciously modify your training routing
If you know that you’re not going to make it to your usual two Pilates classes, two 10km runs and two 60-minute gym sessions then ditch the guilt and get them out of your diary! Instead, plan out an achievable program that you’re excited to stick to. It might be the perfect time of year to ditch those long gym sessions and try out some 20-minute HIIT sessions instead!
Eat (well) BEFORE you party
Hands up if you get socially excited at Christmas parties and find yourself either a) entirely bypassing food for alcohol or b) shovelling party pies into your mouth like you’ll never have the opportunity to eat another in your entire life… oh, don’t be embarrassed, we’ve all been there. Whip yourself up a quick meal before you leave the house and give yourself the nutrients you need, while lining your stomach against all the alcohol you’re about to consume. It’s what we in the business call a win-win.
If you reallllly want to stay healthy this party season, it’s time to take things up a notch. Combat those extra cocktail-related calories with as much incidental exercise as possible. Walk to work, walk to the beach, walk to your Christmas party (bonus points and killer calves if you do it in heels), walk with friends… it’s such a beautiful time of year, why not get out, do yourself some good and burn some energy while you’re at it (just don’t forget the sunscreen).
Prepare an anti-hangover kit for future-you
It’s 2am. You’ve been dancing the night away with your best pals, skipping dinner, throwing back negronis (oh how I miss negronis) and just generally living your best life. But it’s time to go home. You COULD get a kebab and a bottle of coke on your way (eew) ORRRRR you could give yourself a pat on the back as you head home to that Hydralite on your bedside table, and that delicious (but healthy) bowl of complex carbs, protein and veggies that you prepared earlier (have I lost you there? What about a toasted sandwich on grainy bread then?). Have a shower, jump into bed and treat yourself to a sleep in… you deserve it.
What’s your fave way to stay healthy when everyone and everything is just B E G G I N G you to head out and party hard? Hit me up in the comments below.
As I write this, we are one month (minus one day!) out from Christmas. Yikes, right? And as if that wasn’t enough, between now and then I’ll be having a real life human baby of the male variety! I’m terrified and excited in equal parts, in case you were wondering. Now the good news for you is that the impending birth has made me more organised than usual. So much so, in fact, that I’ve got your one-stop 2018 Christmas Gift Guide right here AND I’ve turned it into a massive giveaway, with every single product up for grabs in the lead up to Christmas. Excited? You darn well should be!…
Big news, Team. Actually technically it’s little news, but you catch my drift. I’m adding to the Lazy Girl Fitness team, with a baby boy, due in December!…
As a platform, Instagram isn’t always the best thing for our mental health, so I try really hard to follow only people and brands that add some value to my life. The five inspiring women I’m sharing with you today are all very different humans, from very different backgrounds; some on the world stage and some local to Sydney (for now at least). I like each of them for different reasons, but they do all have one thing in common: they make me feel good about myself.
Bec has been real and raw and genuine on Instagram since way before it was cool. She’s strong, she’s fit, she is truly hilarious and she posts videos of herself dancing awkwardly on occasion (although not as often as she used to unfortunately). If you’ve ever felt like you’re not good enough/small enough/big enough/strong enough/’girly’ enough… any of those ‘enough’ statements, then you really need to be follow Bec. She’ll help you more than you’d imagine someone you’ve never met from Instagram possibly could.
Oh man, Misty Copeland is just ridiculous. In 2015 she became the first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, a groundbreaking achievement given there have been hardly any African-American principal ballerinas at major companies. Her Insta is a mix of breathtakingly elegant dance photos and images that give a bit of a peek into her ‘regular’ life (if we can call it that).
Beck Jackson is only 23, but she seems to have the maturity of someone 10 years older. Honestly if I’d had 30% of her maturity at that age I’d have been pretty grateful. Beck struggles with skin issues and I love how open she is with that conversation; it’s really refreshing. She’s super fit, and you can expect a decent whack of bikini images in her feed with captions that are often quite thought-provoking and always very real.
OK so Chrissy Teigen has 16.3 million followers and you’re quite possibly already one of them. If you’re not, you don’t know what you’re missing out on! Chrissy is freaking hilarious, and I love how unashamedly herself she is, even with so many eyes on her. She says all the things we like to think we’d say if we were famous (but probably wouldn’t be funny enough or brave enough to actually say them).
Julia Hunt must be one of the most likeable humans on Instagram. She uses the platform to spread messages of inclusion and love, and to talk about her experiences with anxiety and clubfoot. She’s gorgeous, funny and incredibly sweet. Must be something in the genetics because Julia is the younger sister of Libby Babet (2017 Biggest Loser trainer,) who is one of the nicest humans I’ve come across in the fitness industry in Sydney. Julia also has a really cute dog and I appreciate that in a person.