I worked out until the week before I had my baby last year so I felt ok about the amount of weight I put on etc and the fact that I had managed to keep in shape and felt good. I was planning on having a natural birth with no pain relief (if I could manage it) and the midwife scheme I was on meant I should be able to do early release home. Then at 34 weeks Maya decided that she didn’t like being in the correct position and turned around to a breech position, over the next 3 weeks I tried everything to get her back in the correct position (which included lying upside down on my ironing board whilst it was at a slant) but ironically the fact that my stomach and pelvic muscles were stronger meant that this was unlikely to happen so at 37 weeks my birth plans did a 180 and I was booked in for an elective C-Section. This was something I had been dreading as I knew it meant no exercise for at least 6 weeks, a C-Section is major surgery which a lot of people overlook because unlike other major surgery you can’t really relax afterwards and you have this amazing, fabulous little person after the surgery. But it was the best thing for Maya and I with her being breech so I accepted it and looked at the positives. No labour, knowing the day you would meet your gorgeous little person and the obvious one of certain parts staying as they are 🙂
I had no idea how long it would take to get back in shape post pregnancy but given my profession, the fact I had not put on a huge amount of weight and the fact that I didn’t have too unhealthy a diet and wasn’t really drinking at all as I was feeding Maya made me think that it hopefully would not take too long. I was wrong. Between the C-Section, feeding Maya myself, sleep-deprivation and being in my mid-30’s having her it was a lot harder than I expected. I think I was lulled into a false sense of security, we have all seen the celebrities who disappear after the birth of their babies for a few months and re-appear with this amazing post baby bod. There is no doubt that this can be extremely demoralising for ‘normal’ people. By normal, I mean those of us without 24 hour childcare, a personal chef and at least one if not more personal trainers/fitness coaches. When I was doing my training in LA one of the other girls training was a personal chef and personal fitness coach. She would get a set of keys off her clients, go to their house first thing in the morning, get them out of bed and whilst they were brushing their teeth etc she would make them a shake/smoothie, then they would go out and do an hour or so training. When they got back and the client was in the shower she would make them a fabulously healthy breakfast which they would come down to and then she would do all the cleaning up after. No doubt about how much easier this makes it even if you do not have a tiny baby, throw one of those into the mix and you can be lucky just to get your shower never mind the rest done!!! This is just some of the luxuries that celebrities have at their disposal to help them shift the baby weight, they also have night nurses and of course the ‘mummy tuck’ which is when they have an elective C-Section a few weeks early so they don’t put on the end of pregnancy weight gain and then also have a little bit extra removed as well as the baby. Now I am certainly not saying all celebrities do this, some can be lucky and have the type of body that springs back into shape but that type of body is not all that common, particularly when you are having kids past your teens and twenties and other factors definitely impact on it too.
I found that when I was feeding I was starving, the hungriest I have ever been by a long shot. My sister is a great cook and one day she brought me down three slices of her yummy banana bread, normally I would struggle to eat one full slice I had all three of them in a row that day!! Between being so hungry, getting about 3 hours sleep a night and not being able to exercise so sitting around a lot I was eating so much more than I normally ever would and I wasn’t craving chickpeas, kale and carrots unfortunately (although I was eating these too) it was stuff like the banana bread etc and you cannot diet whilst breast feeding the baby literally does not get what it needs from you. Personally I believe if you make the decision to breast feed, and it is a very personal choice which no one should give you their opinion on unless explicitly asked for, you also make the decision to not be able to call your body your own until after you finish. You store maternal fat, you can have a ‘mummsy’ look, well I certainly did anyway and as I said you are so hungry. It is often said that breast feeding helps you lose weight this may well be true for some women but the vast majority of women I know who have breast fed are of the opposite opinion. I know some mums who breast fed their first but not their second and they all said they definitely lost weight a lot easier when they did not breast feed. I suppose as I did not put on a lot of weight I am specifically talking about the last 10lbs, for most women this can be the hardest.
I started back exercising after 6 weeks once I got the all clear from my GP, I breast fed until Maya was just under 6 months and I still did not feel like myself until another while after that. I wasn’t huge I was in size 10 clothes but I wasn’t anywhere near in the shape I wanted to be in and knew I should be with the exercise I was doing but anyone who knows anything about fitness knows how important a factor sleep can be in getting in shape as of course is diet, mine certainly wasn’t terribly bad as when I was feeding (& pregnant) I was conscious of making sure Maya was getting good food through me but I was eating a lot and as I said wanted heavier, more carb laden food a lot and definitely a bit more sugar than I had before I became pregnant.
I can honestly say that it took me almost 11 months to feel like I was close to where I wanted to be. I think it just needs to be said that it may take you a few weeks if you are lucky but even with hard work it may well take a lot longer than that. Obviously getting in shape is the same post pregnancy as it is normally from the point of view that you have to put in the effort and hard work, getting rid of the jelly belly as so many women call their tummies will not happen without this. I feel great now and can honestly say at the end of the day it is all worth it as Maya is by a million miles the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me but it can be hard not seeing the results you expect so keep at it as they definitely do come it may just not happen quite as quickly as you expected it to.