Body and mind after giving birth

Baby and Parenting, Self Care

Body and mind after giving birth

Baby and Parenting, Self Care

Outfit jeggings striped top floral jacketIn non maternity clothes for our visit shopping trip out after birth!

I can’t quite believe it’s been over a month since I gave birth to Finley! It feels like forever ago and just yesterday at the same time. As I’ve said in other posts, having a baby has changed me in a lot of ways, both in my mind and body. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was starting to look forward to being able to get back into a more normal healthy living groove for me, but with Fin coming early that’s kind of knocked me for six so I’m much happier to take a more gentle approach to it all!

Body

Obviously pregnancy takes it toll on your body and I was fully expecting to be a bit of a state after birth, however I was pleasantly surprised! I do have a soft belly with red stretch marks under my belly button but it’s no where near as bad as I’d thought it would be. Of course you can’t talk about post pregnancy bodies without mentioning the lady parts, and despite having second degree tears I am now fine down there. Those pelvic floor exercises have really been effective! I did sting a lot for the first week, but since then I’ve been fine and feel ‘normal’.

As I said, I actually felt pretty good about my body and I certainly don’t hate it when I look in the mirror. I love my bigger breast feeding boobs and curves, although I am looking forward to shedding some fat and building more muscle and tone once I start working out again. 

Depression

I’m going to be very open here about how I’ve felt these first few weeks. I have probably never felt so low in my life. Fin coming early left me feeling guilty, confused and ill prepared. Add to that an extended stay in hospital, repeated issues with his jaundice, his heart condition and adjusting to lack of sleep and crazy hormones, and it’s probably no wonder I was feeling like that. I just felt completely unable to cope with everything that had happened. There was of course moments of pure joy and happiness in amongst that, but at times I was seriously worried I was falling into proper post natal depression. James, my parents and my closest friends as well as hospital staff and my health visitor have been amazing, and I’m happy to say that now I feel pretty good having come through all of that, although I still have my moments. I feel an immense sadness at times that my first weeks as a mother haven’t quite been what I dreamed they would be, but then I remember how blessed we are just to have Fin here with us and I focus on the positives. The birth itself was wonderful and I’ve been able to exclusively breast feed him for a number of weeks (although we are having to look at formula top ups to get the weight on him for his op). There is a constant under current of stress and worry about Fin’s heart operation, but as I’ve said before, I’m not letting that rise to the surface and spoil what should be a happy time for us all. I mean for fucks sake I have a stunningly gorgeous little boy!

Stress

As noted above stress has been extremely high these past few weeks, not only connected to the problems Finley has been dealing with, but in terms of my expectations of myself. I am definitely a type A, goal orientated over achiever and I’m having to massively reassess what I can do. I keep reminding myself that Finley and me come first and cleaning, blogging, social media, business stuff etc comes second. The world doesn’t stop when I’m not online after all! I keep coming back to my September pledge of prioritising and just doing what I can.

Weight loss

I weighed myself 1 week post partum and since then I’ve lost half a stone which I’m happy with. I do have a target size, as suppose to weight in mind, although I know that to get there I’m probably looking to lose about 21lbs.  So after several years I’m back in on a weight loss journey, but its actually a process of transformation I’m looking forward too! I’ve taken ‘before’ pics and measurements and I’m all about walking my talk and following the same kind of approaches I advocate when coaching clients and in my 12 week programme (currently under review for a new launch in January I hope, although in line with my comments on stress above that may have to wait and see) with a few tweaks for breast feeding.

At the moment I have a nice routine of meals with breakfast, a decaf coconut oil coffee in the morning, then lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. Occasionally I’ll have an evening snack and sometimes even a snack in the middle of the night. As I’m breast feeding I can’t risk my supply by dropping calories too low, so the best rate of weight loss I’m looking at is 1 lb a week for a while at least. 

For now I’m simply focusing on eating when I’m hungry, enjoying whole, clean foods as much as possible (which is easier said than done sometimes!) and supporting my body and breastfeeding by getting in as many nutrient dense foods as possible. I’m enjoying a good tablespoon of coconut oil a day and drinking some special breast feeding tea* then just generally eating well without stressing about it too much. 

Exercise

I so miss exercising! I’m being sensible and waiting for my 6 week check before I do anything more strenuous even though I feel completely fine. I should really be doing more walking but these last few weeks it’s been hard to find the time to fit it in. After I get the ok from the doc I plan to slowly increase my workouts starting with some yoga and then adding in short you tube workouts I can do while Fin naps, as well as maybe one session at the gym on a Sunday when James can watch him. Next year I will definitely be getting back into running as we will hopefully be doing the Great North Run to raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit where Finley will be getting treated.

Self Care

A lot of self care has gone out the window, however I know what a huge impact it can have on my wellbeing, and therefore my ability to be the best mother I can be so I try and make time for it when I can. Before giving birth I pulled together a little post birth self care kit and have found it really helpful:

Post birth self care kit

I was really worried that I would lose a lot of hair after birth as some women do with the change of hormones so I bought some Avalon Organics thickening B complex shampoo* and strengthening peppermint conditioner* which seem to have helped as I haven’t noticed any changes in the thickness of my hair. I also ordered some E Boost* from iHerb after I read about it in The Little Book of Thin*. It does contain quite a bit of caffeine so I haven’t had much of it so far, just using it after I’ve fed Fin when I need an energy boost. The Inner Me vitamins and other supplements were kept from the Latest in Beauty Hip and Healthy Box and have been brilliant, especially for taking in to hospital when I’ve been stuck in there. The Mama Mio cream I kept from a kit I bought a while ago and I was kindly sent the Melvita cream to review. When Tesco had their Food Fair on a few weeks ago I stocked up on a load more snack bars and they have been an absolute lifesaver for keeping me going and ensuring I make a ‘healthier’ choice when short on time. 

In addition, a few weeks before I had Fin I decided to sign up for the monthly Love Lula Beauty Box*. All of the products are natural / organic and I was absolutely chuffed to bits with the contents of the September box:

September Love Lula Box 2

It included a few full size products as well as samples and seriously, for £12.50 it’s an absolute bargain and a lovely treat!

September Love Lula Box 1

The toner is just wonderful and I’ve been using the facial oil added to my nighttime moisturiser with great results. The organic hand sanitiser has gone straight in the changing bag as it’s so handy for keeping my hands clean after changing on the go. I already have a full size of the Herbfarmacy beauty balm, so this is handy for keeping in my handbag. I’m saving the other little samples for when I finally have the time for a bath! It’s just a little thing, but has really helped me feel like ‘me’ again.

Slowly but surely I’m finding a groove for myself as a new mother, dealing with the stressful times we’ve had and have ahead of us, forgiving myself for a lot of things and starting to take better care of myself with healthy living practices.

If you’ve had a child, how did you feel after the birth? Do you have any self care practices? Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes?

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36 Comments

  1. Rachael

    Thank you for your honesty as always Laura! I always feel so inspired after reading your blog. You are doing so well, and yes I think we all struggle with forgiving ourselves and taking care of ourselves, no matter what the situation.

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks so much Rachael! I think we do often leave ourselves till last which can sometimes be counter productive.

      Reply
  2. Kezia

    Your doing so great – love your honesty:) Keep doing what you can and treating yourself – I may add one of those beauty boxes to my xmas list…

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Kez :-) Definitely try the beauty box, such a lovely treat!

      Reply
  3. Hayley

    Oh my goodness havjng a baby who has no health troubles is hard enough. Just as you think you have got it things change again! I have loved having maternity leave to really focus on the baby – I am so impressed you are working. I know when I go back I will be getting a cleaner to help so I still maintain that quality time!

    I lost lots of weight at first I still have about 1.5 stone to loose same as you and I definitely want to do it before I get pregnant again! I am on a health kick after eating plentifully to establish my supply. I aim to breast feed for 1 year and accept my body may need to hold a little extra to enable this… Plus my boobs must weigh a bit now!

    I am trying not to stress

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      I wish I could get a cleaner! I’m definitely not sacrificing baby time for work, I work when he’s sleeping although I guess I should be resting then! I’m the same with the BFing, as much as you burn extra calories you have to keep them up especially in the phase I’m in right now at the start!

      Reply
  4. Pip {Cherries & Chisme}

    I think you are doing amazingly! All the problems that you talk about are completely understandable given all that you guys have been through. It’s the classic trying to talk to yourself as if you were your best friend and then you’d see how well you’re doing :) xxx

    Reply
  5. Zoe

    I am not a mother but have many friends who are, and from what I hear pretty much nobodys first few weeks with a new baby is how they imagined it! So please don’t feel sad or give yourself a hard time over it. You are doing great! x

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Zoe, I think it’s hard to remember that sometimes so thanks for reminding me!

      Reply
  6. Elaine

    Wow- a lovely blog. So many women feel the same – you articulated it so well.
    You are doing great. Sending happy wishes your way :)
    El

    Reply
  7. Lauren

    You are doing brilliantly Laura. You have had to deal with so much and you are still going lady! You have such a wonderful support network and a gorgeous little son – keep smiling, lots of love xxx

    Reply
  8. Karina

    I must confess Laura,

    I’ve let myself go since the birth of my son, however upon seeing the contents of your Love Lula box(fabulous box indeed:) I decided to treat myself to one for at least the rest of the year!

    I think it’s crucial for any carer to (esp mums) feel good about themselves as it’s reflected on LOs:)

    I love how open and honest you are Laura and glad to hear with support you are back to your usual happy self:)

    Looking fabulous btw:) xoxoxo

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Good for you Karina! I totally agree it’s a case of happy mama happy baby in my book :-)

      Reply
  9. Anna @AnnaTheApple

    So happy things are going so well for you :-) I think it’s very natural to have spurts of depression. A huge change has happened in your life and you’ve had quite a lot of extra stress with Fin’s health issues and hospital stays. But, as always, your outlook and perspective are refreshing and positive :D

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Anna, it is tough but as you say I think it’s fairly natural that I felt like that all things considered!

      Reply
  10. Vicki

    Well done Laura, you’re doing fantastic. I can only hope I cope half as well and manage to remain eating healthily (for most of the time!) after I give birth in hopefully a few weeks time (currently 34 weeks pregnant).

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks so much Vicki and congrats! I’m sure you will do brilliantly :-) Just enjoy those first few weeks and the birth!

      Reply
  11. Nicky

    I absolutely love honest posts…so so inspiring! I don’t think you’re alone in the first few weeks not being what you expected, especially as your little one has had some health problems on top of that..many of my friends dropped off the face of the planet in those first few weeks because it just really took it’s toll on them poor things. You’re doing amazingly and I’m glad you’re not feeling so low, definitely don’t feel guilty about that as I’m sure everyone has told you..it’s a huge change and an unexpected one at that with complications..but none of it is your fault.

    I think you look absolutely gorgeous right now! And it’s good to hear you still love your body but yeah, exercise will give you an added boost :) Your whole approach to everything from weight loss to self care is so amazing :) xxx

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Nicky :-) Yep I definitely started to feel like I’d dropped off the planet haha! Can’t bloody wait to get back to the gym I have to say!

      Reply
  12. Claire Hayhurst

    Thank you for another honest post Laura, it makes me feel so much more ‘eyes wide open’ about babies etc than something that glosses over it all.
    You are doing amazingly and Fin is just gorgeous but I’m not surprised it has been mentally tough since the birth, it must have been such a shock to have him arrive early and have to deal with that and his heart all at a time you were expecting to still be pregnant.
    I’m really glad to hear you’ve been well supported with family and your health visitor, it must make such a difference to have that.
    Your post birth self care kit was such a good idea and those boxes look fab – so many goodies I’d love to try!
    xxx

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Yep I think it’s often painted as a perfect time, and as I said we have had some wonderful moments but it’s been extremely hard as well. Love the beauty box, definitely a lovely treat!

      Reply
  13. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    I think you are doing amazingly! You have had so much to deal with, but you are coping really well. And like you say, after it all you have a gorgeous little boy xx

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Dannii, whenever I’m having a rough moment I just have to look at the little cutie!

      Reply
  14. Stephanie

    I agree with everyone else, it sounds like you are doing really well. It’s so tough after you have a baby, especially your first, just go easy on yourself and take good care. Babies are tiny for such a small amount of time so just enjoy it, this time will fly by.

    On another note the hair loss doesn’t start until about 3 months post partum! Mine fell out in handfuls, it was disgusting!!

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks so much Stephanie I am definitely doing my best to just enjoy and not worry! Ah no and heres me thinking I’d escaped that with the hair!

      Reply
  15. Tamzin

    Lovely post Laura as always your very honest and I love that, it sounds like your doing just fine and things will all fall in to place x x

    Reply
  16. Mary

    Thanks as always for being so honest Laura. Your body is going through so many changes as well as you having to deal with so much emotionally and not being able to control any of it any more that I think it is only natural to feel some form of depression after giving birth. You are looking fabulous and sounding like you have a fantastic support network behind you…always a bonus!

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Mary :-) Yep I when I look at everything together I can see why I’ve had my moments! Definitely lucky to have so many great people supporting me :-)

      Reply
  17. Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    It’s great to hear that you’re doing well, Laura — I was starting to wonder how you and your little guy were doing, so thanks for popping in with such an honest update. And try not to be too hard on yourself, love. I know that it’s easier said than done, and I know that I’ll probably struggle with the same thing when it’ll be my time, but from an outside objective perspective, I can assure you that NO mother has ever had those first weeks/months go exactly as expected. You’re a wonderful mother — don’t let yourself believe anything else.

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Amanda :-) I know, I really need to remind myself that it’s not always how you imagine it for anyone, not just me!

      Reply
  18. Maria @ runningcupcake

    You are doing amazingly well Laura- it is not a surprise that you felt really low at times- hormones for one can mess with you, but you have had a lot to deal with too. Taking care of yourself (with the food,and the beauty bits) is important.x

    Reply

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