It’s safe to say three babies in four years has taken it’s toll on my poor old body. This last pregnancy was really hard on me especially, and the last few weeks before Ernie arrived I felt like I was falling apart, just trying to drag my battered old body over the finish line. Every midwife appointment came with another problem, blood pressure too high, iron too low, this, that and the other in my wee! Nothing that ended up causing me or the baby any big problems, but I certainly took it as a sign that my body had had enough of being pregnant and needed a bit of TLC.
I’ll admit it, I didn’t look after myself at all when I was pregnant with Ernie. I’m really frustrated about it actually because when I first found out I was pregnant, I was determined to stay as healthy as possible. I was the fittest I’d ever been (which really wasn’t hard) after discovering a love for running in between having Greta and falling pregnant with Ernie. I wasn’t a fitness queen or anything, don’t get me wrong, I mostly ran so I could eat cake without guilt. But I managed to run the Great South Run in October 2014, which is 10 miles, 10 months after having Greta, and I was really proud of that. I was planning a healthy and active pregnancy and I was doing yoga and Pilates religiously.
What changed suddenly though, was that I came under quite a lot of stress. At our 20 week scan, as well as the amazing and unbelievable news that we were expecting our first son, we were also told that one of the measurements in our baby boy’s brain was slightly too big and we would have to wait 2 weeks to be re-scanned by a consultant and find out if there was something wrong. My whole world stopped for those 2 weeks. Thankfully everything looked ok at that scan but we still had to wait for a further follow up scan for confirmation. Even after everything was ok with the next scan, the worry didn’t leave me and if I’m honest, it still hasn’t completely. At the same time, we were in the middle of selling our house and buying a new one, and there was problem, after delay, after setback, as there so often are with these things, a saga that continued right up until we finally moved when I was 35 weeks, and the sort of uncertainty that you really don’t need when you have 2 young children and are pregnant with your third.
So for the second half of my pregnancy I was really stressed, and what do I do when I’m stressed? I eat carbs and hide away indoors watching rubbish TV. I wish I was one of those people who puts on their trainers and goes for a jog when they’re having a bad day, but unfortunately I’m just not. If I was, I would have run several marathons before Ernie was born. Instead, I put on a lot of weight.
So now I’m 3 months post partum, I don’t recognise my own body and I’ve had to work out a new way of dressing that flatters my larger size and different shape (dresses and A line skirts are the key, skinny jeans are not). I tried to diet and it didn’t work. It turns out that when you’re surviving on little sleep and breastfeeding a newborn, it’s not a great time to start a restrictive eating plan. Who knew? I’ve come to terms with the fact that my body is going to look different for a while, there’s not a lot I can do about it quickly, and my babies are more than worth it. But what I have come to realise is how much better I would feel, if I just started looking after myself a little bit more.
I’ve decided to make one change a week, to try to instill some healthy habits into my daily routine. This is going to be hard for me. I seem to have something in my brain that goes ‘well if you’re going to do something you may as well do it properly’, and what starts out as a little jog a couple of times a week suddenly turns into – there’s no point running unless you’re training for a marathon, and if you’re doing that then really you need to be clean eating and that’s all well and good but you need to be doing some strength training too if you really want results, and then what about yoga? you need to fit that in somewhere….. When I start something, it either doesn’t take off or it becomes a new obsession. There’s nothing in between. I don’t have space for a new obsession in my life, I have my kids, I have my blog, Carl sometimes gets a look in and that’s more than enough to keep me busy. I’m aiming for the somewhere in between. Small changes, one thing at a time, that hopefully build up over time to a healthier me. You never know, it could work!
So this week I’m starting with a super easy one, but one that I know will make a big difference. I need to drink more water. I do love water, and I know that when I drink my 2 litres a day I feel so much better, I eat less rubbish, get fewer headaches and I have more energy. But it’s easy to forget to drink. Let’s be honest even vital information, like which boob I fed the baby from last and what days I’m supposed to take Mabel to pre-school, doesn’t always get remembered these days.
I’m now on the look out for a pretty water bottle because 1. I’m much more likely to do something if it looks nice and 2. if you leave a glass of water anywhere around here for longer than 30 seconds, it’s either going to be stolen by and subsequently spilt all down the front of the toddler, be filled with toys/biscuits/cat food/anything else lying around, or just be plain old spilt all over something really important. And no matter how high you put it, don’t be fooled, its never out of reach. Bottles are the way forward. One with a child lock would be great!
So, the first step towards a healthier me, starts today. Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it goes, maybe I should keep a tally of cups of water drank vs cups of water spilt.
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