Feature Friday: "HELLO BABY BODY!"
After what seemed like an eternity of being pregnant (I went to 41 weeks 2 days) my beautiful little Alina decided that she was ready to enter the world at 3.41pm on January 22nd. (The day before I was due to be induced, she really doesn’t like to be told what to do haha).
After 12 hours of labour Alina was born via a water birth, which was such an incredible experience and one I never in a million years thought I’d have. Everything having gone smoothly for us both meant we were able to head home the next day and it was so nice to be back in my own environment so soon. As new parents my husband and I were both on cloud nine, exhaustion and all Alina was just divine and I think having such a positive birth experience definitely started my postpartum journey on the right foot!
The first few weeks were a blur, I still pinch myself that my baby is 9 weeks old and I’m 9 weeks into motherhood. It has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life and the love, my god the love is so deep. It’s a different kind of love from the love you have for your partner, siblings or parents. The type that I think you only experience when you become a parent yourself.
As much as I have enjoyed my new life so far it certainly has dealt some harsh realities. I remember two weeks in thanks to hormones, sleep deprivation, body changes and no time to myself (breastfeeding on demand) I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom with the door closed in a pile of hysterical tears! It wasn’t because I didn’t love my baby or because I was suffering from postnatal depression but because I didn’t recognise this new me. I was different and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it yet, I hadn’t even had a second to really process it.
After running on the euphoria, love and adrenaline that comes with being a new parent everything had caught up with me and resulted in a snotty nosed, ugly crying (like really ugly) meltdown! I remember I looked in the mirror and actually said to myself, what is wrong with you! And the answer was, nothing!
As women there is so much pressure and responsibility that comes with being a new mum, especially a first time mum. People would always use the term ‘I wish babies came with an instruction manual’ and I’d always think to myself, how hard could it be? We’ll I wont be the first or the last to say it, but it’s F*cking hard!!
Which brings me back to where I was saying I didn’t recognise myself. Mentally, emotionally and physically I did not feel like Emily, it really crept up on me from all angles! I think all new mums experience a moment like this - it’s transitional. Like you’re in mourning and you have come to your time of acceptance. I didn’t miss my ‘old life’ but I missed being able to do the simple things, like have a shower, wash and blow dry my hair, go to the toilet the second I needed to go, sleep for longer than an hour uninterrupted! It was in that moment that I accepted it’s going to be like this for a while, but this too shall pass. So I picked myself up off the floor (literally). My mummy mantra, one day at a time!
Being a mother to a daughter has changed me, I know that for the rest of my life I will have a little lady looking up to me and I want to be the best role model I can be for her. Which has made me conscious to be more self loving, to no longer talk down about myself or point out what I think are my imperfections but to embrace it. After all, I want her to know her worth and be confident in her own skin and that all starts with me!
This way of thinking couldn’t have come at a more important time because ‘Hello Baby Body’! Being completely honest though I have never felt so body confident, flabby belly and all. There is something so validating and empowering about having carried and birthed a child. I have a newfound respect and appreciation for my body and what it has been through. I don’t see my lumps and bumps as something I have to urgently get rid of but as proof that I grew the incredible little life that is Alina! Sure there are still things I want to improve on and work towards through fitness and exercise but my former self-loathing is a thing of the past!
As I have always enjoyed fitness and exercise I was looking forward to getting back into it. So at 4 weeks postpartum without putting too much pressure on myself I set small, achievable weekly goals. Having gotten confident by this stage to take Alina out on my own I started by going for a morning walk each day. As the weeks went by and my fitness level progressed I started to incorporate some lightweight exercises at home a few days a week and before I knew it I had a little routine going! As I’m breastfeeding I pay a lot more attention to my eating habits so with light exercise and healthy home cooked meals (thanks to the husband) the weight started to fall off! I feel that because I wasn’t focused so much on an expectation of where I should be, I was a lot happier with any progress no matter how big or small. For me it wasn’t about the weight loss but feeling mentally and physically strong, more energised and to feel good within myself so I can be the best mummy I can be.
Now going into week 10 Alina is a lot more alert and awake for longer periods during the day, which has switched up the routine a little! Some days she cuts our morning walks short because she gets bored lying in her pram, so I’ve started to incorporate her into my workouts! She’s a solid 6kg and I now have my very own live set of weights and she absolutely loves being lifted and carried around! Plus it means that she’s occupied while I get in my exercise and once we’re done she’s ready for a nap and I get some free time.
As women we all have an expectation of where we want to be physically and for me the biggest mistake I made was to compare myself to others. It’s fine to look to others for motivation and inspiration but always remember we’re on our own journey and we need to be realistic in how to achieve our goals. If some days things don’t go to plan (and with a new baby most days they generally don’t), Tomorrow is a new day :)
WRITTEN BY : EMILY TOMINI
To keep up with Em's #mumlife journey follow her on instagram (@em_tomini) where she has a link to her blog site! P.s How hot does she look in the pic above only 9 weeks post partum - GO GIRL!!