Ok so looking back there were definitely highs and lows of being pregnant and it’s a statement of the bleeding obvious to say it isn’t all fun and games…but sometimes I really miss being pregnant. And here’s why:
*People give you a seat on peak-hour trains (ok so maybe not everyone (*insert commuter-shaming wagging finger here), but shoving your bump in their general vicinity ought to do the job eventually).
*People tend to help you/move out of your way (excuse me, wide load coming through).
*You can’t be mean to a pregnant person (scary hormones could be a factor here, or maybe that you resemble a jolly fat Santa minus the beard, or most likely the fact that in the not so distant future you have to squeeze a small person out of your unmentionables).
*You got BEEEWBZ (okay this may not be a positive thing for those already fortunately well-endowed but to have finally reached a solid B cup felt like a worthy accomplishment to me).
*Your hair and nails have never been in better nick (got to love that oestrogen hormone…).
*You can blame most things on baby brain (ok so perhaps you (by you I mean I) live up to hair-colour preconceptions most days but at least for a few months you have a scapegoat for the fact you put the toilet roll in the fridge or have accidentally sent your boss an email listing breast pump options).
*You have SUPER HUMAN powers (No seriously. Did you know…when pregnant your heart size increases by a third, your blood volume goes up by 30%, your lung capacity increases by 40%, cardiac output increases by 30% (i.e. your heart is working at a higher capacity to pump blood around the body) oh and you sort of become elastic-girl when the hormones you produce called relaxin and progesterone relax all your ligaments, as well as fibrous and muscle tissue to accommodate the growing little gremlin-to-be. Wowzers).
So there you have it, you can grow a person, you have super powers, you get a good few months of general amnesty, and you can take on the world, why not! Oh but the downsides… you’re so goddamn knackered ALL the time, need a wee every five seconds, are an emotional wreck 87% of the time, and feel like you are experiencing the worst hangover of your life for the first 3 months of this magical and wondrous journey.. oh and yeah there’s also that squeezing a tiny being out your unmentionables part.
And of course what happens after childbirth? Your body has not only lost all of its super powers, but has actually been replaced by a completely and utterly ravaged shell of its former self – pelvic muscles obliterated (yeah yeah we’ve all heard the one about your husband’s favourite pub being burnt down, I wouldn’t worry, that pub might be under renovation for a bit but it is pretty much in a permanent state of closing time after you have kids anyway). And your belly no longer has this lovely life form residing within so has now become this empty saggy sad sack (with an internal divide if you have what they call diastasis recti when your linea alba abdominal sheaths don’t rejoin following childbirth – another blog post on this another time..), and your lady bubbles are a veiny hot mess a-filled to burst. They will of course then join your belly to become the second and third empty saggy sad sacks you will now own. WTAF. The post natal period sucks, it is a sad sad time for our lovely bodies, ladies. I hear you.
In almost all of my post natal classes women often ask me will I ever get my pre-baby body back? And here’s the great news – the answer is yes, you will get those former glory days back I promise you. I have seen it time and time again and people who feel it is beyond their capacity can and do lose all their weight gained during pregnancy, their muscles and skin tighten and tone back up, and ok there’s not much I can do for the bubbles-to-sacks without a Pamela Anderson wand, sorry. Getting that body back does require a certain amount of diligence and commitment but you have to remember muscles have memories – they remember the body you had before you lost the ability to see your knees, toes and lady parts. It is there, and you can even end up even stronger and fitter than you were before having children, just have patience. Below are pictures of me right after having Theo and about a year afterwards (actually that’s better than it is now!!!). And as for those former super powers, well we all know you get whole new ones when you become a Mum anyway!
Please see my Super Power Postnatal Exercises blog for some simple but effective exercises you can do at home to gradually build back your strength and fitness levels after giving birth.
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