Assessing the damage: post pregnancy body

Hi all. Phoenix is now two weeks old! I have officially survived my first two weeks of motherhood. Wow, I am really doing this! I still have moments where I’ll be in the middle of doing something and I’ll suddenly think ‘holy smoke, we’ve had a baby!’ I can’t believe how much Phoenix has changed already, looking at the pics of him when he was first born (left) compared to now (below right) is startling. He was weighed again this week and is now well over his birth weight and right on track – I am a breastfeeding goddess, hoorah! Hmmmm speaking of his weight I must confess to my first failure on this mission to motherhood…it seems that my inability to count, or to simply understand numbers has reached a new high. I’ve managed to tell everyone the wrong birth weight. He was actually born at 7.9lbs but when the midwife told us his weight she said it like this: ‘seven point zero nine pounds’, so I just rounded it up and thought he was 7.1. That’s really silly isn’t it? But who speaks numbers like that?! I blame the gas and air anyway. So now I’ve set the record straight!

As it’s been two weeks since I gave birth I’m using this post to report back on the early effects pregnancy and labour has had on my body. I think almost every pregnant woman thinks about what will be left of her body at the end of pregnancy and I am no exception. Actually, for me, I was probably wondering this before conception! Pregnancy and labour are such a massive strain on a woman’s body it seems like it’s some kind of sick joke that after going through this whole ordeal you then have a tiny human to look after 24/7 with little or no recovery time! Looking back to when I first got pregnant I realise now how fit and strong I was. I don’t think I realised it at the time and took it for granted. I saw a personal trainer twice a week and was doing regular boxing classes on top of that, sometimes before going to work – gosh how life has changed!! I continued to excercise at a high pace for as long as I physically could and I reckon that’s why I had such a smooth pregnancy experience. I was so blase about my fitness back then and only really focussed on the physical results (and moaning when they didn’t come quick enough) but I would do anything to be that fit now! I cannot wait to get back in the gym, sad I know. By the way if you live in London and want a good personal trainer then I highly recommend Lee, check out his site, but make sure you mention me so I get some free sessions…I need them! http://www.positive-balance.net/

It’s still a bit soon to be throwing myself around just yet so I haven’t really started my other mission yet – getting back into all my clothes, but here’s a rather brave run down of what pregnancy has done to my body so far:

BUMP

I was well prepared that the bump wouldn’t just disappear as soon as the baby popped out, but even so, when it didn’t it was still a shock! The first few days after giving birth are a bit like reliving your pregnancy in reverse. I kept seeing myself each day and thinking ‘oh this was what I looked like at 7 months…and at 5 months and 3 months’. It only took a few days for it to shrink back down and breastfeeding definitely helped speed this up. I know this because in the first week when I was feeding I could feel my uterus constricting and making noises as it shrunk. This was a great motivator to keep going with the breastfeeding! My midriff now looks a relatively normal shape although there’s still a kind a loose tummy there that’s kind of separate to the rest of my body – you can sort of pick it up and move it around, how delightful. As your abs split to the side of your body to let your bump grow through, there’s little definition left when it all comes back. Boo hoo – all those bloody crunches! However I am in good spirits about all this (so far) and if I look closely, and squint a bit, I think I can see my old shape in there somewhere. I feel confident I can shift this ‘jelly slug’ thing hanging around my abdomen and reckon I can blitz it with breastfeeding and some hard-core gym sessions. I will keep you posted!

The worst remnant of pregnancy for me is the dreaded stretch marks. Ugh, how cruel to make us women have these too, not fair! I’ve heard some women say they’re proud of their stretch marks and that they love them as they’re a badge of motherhood. These women clearly need urgent mental help. I didn’t actually get any right until the last couple of weeks so I thought I’d got away with it – what a tease! I only have them on my stomach though, I guess it could be worse. They look pretty bad at the moment but they have faded loads in just the last couple of weeks and I don’t reckon they’ll be too bad once I’ve obliterated my friend ‘jelly slug’. I’m smothering myself in so much Bio Oil these days I look like some kind of oily sea-lion. I’m not entirely sure it really works but I used it the whole way through my pregnancy and only got them right at the last minute so who knows.

BOOBS

My boobs have often been a topic of conversation in the office and at home that they should probably have a blog of their own. Lots of funny things happen to your boobs when you have a baby you have to have sense of humour about it otherwise you could go insane. At the beginning of pregnancy your boobs crank up a few sizes, which for some women (and all men) is a real novelty. As someone who was already ‘well gifted’ in the chest department this was by far a novelty for me and actually a real pain in the ass. I think I set new records for the most amount of sports bras worn in one gym session. Never mind about boxing, with the amount of support I wore I could have survived bullets to the chest.

But the fun doesn’t really start until your milk comes in. When this happens it literally looks like you’ve had a massive boob job. In fact if you’re thinking about having a boob job it’s a good way to find out if you’ll like the results. Rock solid, huge knockers. Definitely no boob job for me, I can’t wait to get back to my normal size, which now feels tiny in comparison to today’s efforts. Unfortunately for any men reading this getting rather excited at the idea of solid milk boobs, I’m imagining like me most women adopt the look don’t touch policy, unless that is you want to take a hit of milk in the face, and let’s not go there shall we…

Whilst I lost the war against stretch marks I have had no problems at all with sore or cracked nipples, solid as a rock those things and still going strong! I started using the Lansinoh ointment a couple of weeks before I was due, and I use it, well, pretty much every time I walk past it in my bedroom. I’m quite obsessed but it seems to be doing the job. I also really listened when I was told breastfeeding should not hurt – if it does then the baby is not latched on properly so I’ve always stopped and started again if this happened.

HANDS AND FEET

I suffered with mega swollen ankles during the last couple of months of preganancy. My feet and ankles got so massive I looked like one of those people on the spaceship in Wall-E. I am delighted to announce that my ankles are back! I feel like I have new sexy feet, there’s bones and everything and no puff! It has made me want to buy lots of new shoes. I’m also quite close to being able to wear my wedding rings again, yay. Therefore I can report that all limbs are safely returning to normal.

‘UNMENTIONABLES’

Without going into to much gory detail, things are pretty much healed in that department. Although I had a natural delivery fortunately I didn’t have that the big scary tear, but I did have a couple of minor ones elsewhere so I’ve had the fun of stitches to entail over the last couple of weeks. It hasn’t been too bad, quite uncomfortable at first but overall not as bad I imagined. I’ve noticed that lots of people have more than one child and as far I’m aware that these additional children are conceived in the traditional way so I’m assuming all will return to normal soon 😉

MISC

On a positive note my hair and nails have never been so strong and healthy! I assume it’s the breastfeeding or the vitamins but I like to think it’s mother nature giving me a pick me up to help cope with all the other effects!

So overall I guess it could be worse and I’m feeling positive so far as I’m still on such a high of having a beautiful little boy. I haven’t even started to get back into excersise yet and already things are slipping back into place. So is it all worth it? Abs-a-bloody-loutley. It’s a small price to pay for such a bundle of love if you ask me. Now where are those chocolate buttons?….

Ems x

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