And that, my beautiful readers is why things have been a bit quiet from me! These past 17 months since becoming a mum have been some of the most wonderful, joyous, mind blowing and difficult of my entire life (I expect if you’re a parent, you’ll understand!) It’s a real emotional whirlwind but having the most beautiful, healthy and happy contented little Buba makes everything worth it.Although I’m loving spending my maternity leave with her, I’m also pretty excited to return to my personal trainer life and working with more pre and post natal mammas now I’ve had first hand experience. I want to help as many expectant parents as possible, I thought now, while in the midst of the pandemic was as good a time as any to post this.Written at 40 weeks of what I can only describe as a dream pregnancy, I thought I’d document my experience, while I still had the energy/capacity to do so (glad I did as Viviana arrived two days later!)The purpose of writing this is not to make anyone who cares enough to read it feel bad about what they should do/should have done, but to make you aware as either an expectant mother/someone hoping to get pregnant, that pregnancy does not have to be the traumatic ordeal so many people have made it out to be in our society. Especially during such uncertain times. Misery appears to unite and it would seem people are only too happy to share their negative experiences with you (whether they are actually asked to or not!) meaning the positives tend to get ‘lost’ along the way.
I believe there are several simple practices we can adopt throughout pregnancy in order to have slightly smoother, gentler and, dare I say it enjoyable time while being knocked up. And all these practices are still available to you during lockdown, even if certain ones have been moved online. It’s a bit of a long read so I’ll divide it into two parts and sections for you to easily find the bits relevant to you.
Of course, just like with anything there are no guarantees and as what I’m about to share with you is only my own personal experience, please consult with a health professional if there is anything you are not sure of. And of course, I’ll put a list of the resources at the end to save you spending unnecessary time googling…
Be aware of your company
The best advice that I was given once we’d told everyone our exciting news, was to avoid stressful situations, unnecessary drama and people that bring you down. I’m so very glad I took this advice, as I think the stress any of the above can affect our wellbeing and our babies far more than we’re even aware of. We are now responsible for not only ourselves but another tiny being, so why not give it anything but the very best it deserves?! In some cases, this might mean distancing yourselves from negative family members or ‘friends’ who leave you feeling drained and down when you walk away from them. I could not believe the negative effect so many people had been having on me, so in a way it’s a shame that it took being knocked up to make me realise this – but I’m so glad I did!
Remember you are not obligated to do ANYTHING or see ANYONE you don’t want to, so please don’t be afraid to say no. Any decent person will respect your wishes, especially as you’re now thinking for two. It also helps to have a few nice things to look forward to. Whether it’s a meal out, a pregnancy massage (I’ve enjoyed three throughout this pregnancy!) or just watching a funny film together, make the most of this precious time and enjoy it. We also had a bump photoshoot for my birthday, which was great fun and the photos were phenomenal.
Build your pregnancy support team
While we’re on the subject of people, this is where the other side of the coin can be explored: building your own baby support team! Surround yourself with positive radiators throughout your pregnancy, rather than drains.Friends or anyone you enjoy being with that makes you laugh and gives you a boost are so important at this time. They’ll also understand if you’re ever tired and need to cancel.
Also, please take your time to explore the different antenatal classes available to you, as different types suit different people. I chose to do a course of Daisy Birthing classes, which I’m so glad I did! It takes on a much more holistic, positive and gentle approach to giving birth and each one left me feeling so positive and excited (as well as relaxed as we always finish with a meditation!)
One of the best decisions my husband and I made was to also practice hypnobirthing. We hired a private teacher, the amazing Emma who came to our house and taught us what felt like an unbelievable amount of information, but delivered in a gentle, positive and helpful way that was so very reassuring. It has 100% changed the perceptions my husband and I had about birth. I cannot recommend it enough, and if working with private teacher is out of your budget, there are classes you can attend as well as numerous resources online.
My other recommendation is to hire a doula. Not only will your doula provide the support you need throughout the pregnancy (and even at the baby’s birth should you wish her to be) she will be there to help and support you with whatever you need once the baby arrives. This to me is such a comforting thought, has made me even more excited about bub’s arrival and has removed so many of the “what if’s…” that were running through my head as soon as I found out I was pregnant!
If hiring a doula sounds like another “unnecessary expense“, firstly it might help to know that they’re actually not that expensive. And when you consider the price peace of mind costs…for me this was a no-brainer! Pssst: hiring a doula may also be your strategy to preventing anyone else turning up to offer help, whom might not actually be helpful! You can kindly thank them for the offer, but tell them you have all the help you need and you’ll let them know when you’re ready for visitors! #justsayin
[Our doula Sally Carter was an absolute Godsend and helped us with everything, more than I can ever have hoped for.]
Thank you so much for reading, stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll discuss my pregnancy fitness, supplement routine…and how I avoided stretch marks, swelling, back ache and unnecessary weight gain.