I gave birth to my first child at 35 years old. I was never sure if I would have children. It had always been a question mark for me. Was I too selfish? Will it be too hard? Am I ready to be responsible for another human? Will my body change too much? It wasn’t until I met my current partner that I thought: “maybe motherhood is for me”. It’s amazing how the right person being in your life can change your whole outlook.
I had my son via an emergency c-section. He got stuck during labour and was in distress when the doctor tried to move him. Having been in labour for 27 hours by that point, I wasn’t opposed to the c-section. I just wanted my son out safe and sound, and thankfully he was. The recovery wasn’t an issue for me physically. I was out of hospital by the next day and walking around in the park when he was three days old. I know, right? Wild. Looking back, it sounds crazy after major surgery! I took my recovery for granted as I now know that many women take a long time to recover from a c-section. This could have been down to my physical ability beforehand, as I was in the gym 1-2 times a week working on my strength until I was eight months pregnant. The gym is my safe space; the recovery was a more of a struggle for me mentally and embracing what was now my new body.
“Eat and drink plenty, and make sure to rest when you can.” This is what the midwife told me before I left hospital and I really wanted to breastfeed my son, so that is what I did. However, this lack of movement and increased eating meant weight gain. I actually gained more after pregnancy! I don’t know how much I put on between when I gave birth and when I decided to take action. But for me, I looked in the mirror when my son was about six or seven months old and I wasn’t happy with what I saw. It wasn’t the stretch marks and additional skin I now had to live with, it was the fact I couldn’t fit into anything in my wardrobe. Everything I put on looked awful to me, I just wasn’t comfortable. To get comfortable, I needed to get accountable.
I have always been a foodie. At 24 years old, I had a similar feeling where I saw a picture of myself and I was just too large. So, I hired a personal trainer (PT) and made myself accountable. I lost 22.5kg. Making myself accountable really works for me, and, more importantly, I felt ready mentally. So, this time round I hired an online PT for three months.
The PT provided me with an exact diet and exercise plan and I had to check in (with images and weight changes) each week. That accountability and not wanting to fail was what drove me at first to keep going with the same mundane foods each day and the 5am starts in the gym. But seeing the changes, gaining confidence and how that made me feel amazing, mentally, is what kept me motivated. Over the next three months, I lost 15.5kg and became much stronger mentally and physically. I was back to me again, and fly and happy!
Sure, I still have stretch marks and loose skin, but those are my tiger stripes that show the world that I had the privilege of giving life. Do I still eat well? Yes, because it makes me feel good. I make sure to have vegetables with every meal, not overeat (or just eat for the sake of it), and drink plenty of water. Do I still work out? Yes, because it makes me feel good, look good and helps me with my body confidence. I still get up early in the morning to go to the gym too (as with a small child this is the only time possible), and I still work on using weights and keeping up my cardio health.
Getting your head around having to care for another human life is hard enough and this should be the priority for any mother. Getting back to me when I was ready and had the means to do so was also important. I have to be in the best mindset and physical health in order to look after my child. Maintaining my physical and mental health in this way has helped my body confidence and overall happiness.
“Look good, feel good” is my motto! And if I ever have another child, I will be sure to implement these small changes sooner.
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