My perfect imperfect mummy body

Lifestyle

One of my biggest fear when I found out that I was pregnant was gaining weight and absolute worst fear was not being able to get rid of the baby weight after having had the baby. 

I know it sounds really messed up but growing up on the larger side of the weight spectrum and being surrounded by stick thin cousins who ate everything in sight and still somehow stayed slim -whereas it felt like I gained weight simply by looking at food. Needless to say I had some issues with my body and was never totally happy with my weight. Top that with the media, pop culture and now social media, I found myself alsways wanting to look like what I saw on TV or a magazine even though deep inside I knew that it wasn’t realistic seeing as 1) these images weren’t even how these people really looked like and 2) there is more than one body type. Lucky for me however I only gained about 10kg in all of my pregnancy, with all the weight practically being in the belly area.

There is something about going through child labour that makes everything look and feel minor. I was looking at myself in mirror the other day (I’ve always been obsessed with this) and it dawned on me that I actually prefer my post baby body. I managed to lose most of my pregnancy weight just a few weeks postpartum but I wasn’t lucky enough to escape the stretch marks which have now taken up residency all over my lower abdomen. Not to mention I’m also now left with a little saggy pouch for a belly (my daughter better love me more than her own life for this). Before having my daughter, this would have tipped me over the edge. Am I totally happy with my post baby body? Absolutely not. I have never had washboard abs but my stomach was definitely firmer and stripe free and I miss it. Having said that however, I prefer this body because it has a story behind it. I mean this body housed a whole other human being for nine whole months! This body endured all the aches and pains, stretching as well as a long and hard labour. This body has given me the best gift I’ll ever receive and the best love I’ve ever felt. 

I realise that I can choose to work on this new body and make the best of it by eating healthy and working out and just choosing to love my perfect imperfections. I also have to remind myself that it’s only been two months since I gave birth. I may never be 100% happy with my new body even after I’ve lost all the weight and haves toned ( because no women ever is) but I’m certainly learning to love my new body everyday – stretch marks, dimples, saggy pouch and all!

Love,
Lilia

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breast is best; fed is fed

Lifestyle, motherhood

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I decided the I would exclusively breastfeed my baby because quite frankly, I was curious at the idea of a baby suckling on my breast for their survival (I’m just being honest)! 

Breastfeeding to me has always seemed like the easiest, most natural thing for a woman to do. In my head, I just knew that when my baby was born all I’d have to do is stick my nipple in her mouth and we’d get the party started. After all, this is what I’d seen my mum as well as other women do. I was so excited to embark on this bonding journey with my baby and provide her with food that was tailor made only for her. Add that to the endless Instagram posts I’d seen of mummies breastfeeding their babies and toddlers and campaigning about the goodness of breast milk and its health advantages, I just knew that I wanted to be one of those mums and ensure that my kid got a great start in life.

My midwife had suggested breastfeeding classes to teach me how to properly breastfeed a baby. I honestly thought it was ridiculous – even when she told me that it wasn’t always easy or possible. I mean how hard could it be? Wasn’t it the most natural thing only second to actually giving birth? So imagine my surprise or more like heartbreak when baby girl was born and i couldn’t get her to latch properly!!

When she was born and had been checked, she immediately given to me to feed her. I cockily tried to put my nipple in her mouth only to be told that I wasn’t doing it right – that I had to place my whole areola in her mouth. Talk about abloody  reality check!!

Because I developed gestational diabetes during my pregnancy and was on insulin towards the end of it, baby girl’s blood levels were low and had to be tested every two hours after birth. Also because I wasn’t able to get her to latch ‘properly’, the midwives decided to top up with formula just to regulate her sugar levels and avoid going to the care unit.

I felt so crushed and defeated as I gave my newborn her first bottle of formula. I felt like kicking myself for not going to the highly recommended breastfeeding classes but I was nonetheless so determined to breastfeed that I stuck to it although it was proving to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done – besides child labour of course.

I’d cry every time I tried to feed her and she wouldn’t latch properly. I was so angry and frustrated with myself – not to mention extremely exhausted and couldn’t for the life of me understand why it was so hard. To top that, my milk didn’t fully come for the first five days. I watched all the YouTube videos there were to watch and read all the web articles, downloaded apps – you name it. I even attheded breastfeeding clinics and spoke to Consultants. I felt like a failure. I tried to express but very little would come out. Top that with family pressures on the importance of breastfeeding and how Breast was best, I started to fall into depression. 

At this point baby girl was mainly taking formula rather than just as a top up and I honestly wanted to quit each time I attempted to breastfeed because it only made me miserable. I was however really determined to give it my all before throwing in the towel. Luckily, I had mummy friends who constantly called or texted to give me encouragement and also share their breastfeeding stories. I was shocked to learn that what I was experiencing was more common than I had thought. Knowing that I wasn’t alone made me feel slightly better about the whole situation. I soldiered on for a few weeks until one day bangs girl just latched and has never looked back.

I now do a combination of breast and formula, giving her a bottle at night as it’s just easier with the sleepiness but I have come to learn that giving your baby breast is not the be all and end all. Sure, it is especially designed for your baby but sometimes is just not possible to do – for a number of reasons. Although I stuck to it, I realise that some mums give up after a while and I can’t blame them. I too waned to give up every day.

The lesson I got out of my experience is that though breast may in fact be best – fed is fed. A fed baby, irrespective of breast or formula, is a happy baby!
Love,
Lilia 

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate 

Lifestyle, motherhood

Baby girl turned 8 weeks on Tuesday and was due a check up appointment which also included having her first shots.

I’ve never been against vaccinations. In fact up until recently I’ve always thought them to be mandatory- sort of like paying taxes haha! I mean I was vaccinated and everyone I know, from family to friends, has been vaccinated so it never occurred to me to ever opt out of getting my daughter vaccinated. I remember vaguely hearing about the possible correlation between vaccines and autism in the media following a celebrity whose child was diagnosed with autism but again as it’s never been something that was challenged by my family or anyone I know, I never paid mind to it as it was never an issue close to home.

My partner however has in the past expressed his feelibgs against vaccinations because to him they are unnecessary and more for the benefits of government and the pharmaceutical industry than for public wellness. So when baby girl was born the conversation arose and to be honest, I quickly made him understand tht the thought of risking my child’s life for an opinion or a person’s belief, even if the person was her dad, was just unfathomable. 

So as the date for her 8 week check up was approaching, I started getting a bit nervous and conflicted about my decision  because as a mother, you’re always questioning your actions and decisions and wondering if you’re doing the best thing for your child. I then did some research on the subject and weighed  up the  pros and cons of vaccinations just to be proactive and not make a decision blindly – especially as it involved my daughter’s health. To be honest, a lot of my findings were arguments for vaccination and those against it were more people’s personal views than actual facts.

I say this not to invalidate anyone’s belief against having their children vaccinated. I believe that every parent is different and therefore what’s best for each kid will also differ but for me, I decided to go for it because although I recognise that everything comes with its share of risks- whether for or against vaccinations – I strongly feel that the risks to vaccinate were less than not to vaccinate. I go back to the fact that both and my partner have been vaccinated as well as everyone I know. I honestly don’t know anyone in my circle who hasn’t been and i decided to rely on that evidence and of course said a prayer for extra assurance.

The first set consisted of 3 jabs and an oral one for the rotavirus. I had read about the side effects of the rotavirus so I knew to except baby girl to have tummy aches and be fussier than usual, which is exactly what happened. I felt bad for her suffering as it went on for nearly 24 hours but I am at peace with my decision to vaccinate. 

Having said that, I’m not looking forward to the next round!
Love,
Lilia