Post Birth Photos

I used to imagine that my post birth photos would be a vision of serenity. A perfect memento of the moment my children had emerged peacefully into the birthing pool, caught by their father and handed to me to go straight onto my chest for skin to skin time. The midwife would then offer to take a picture of our new family, and we would beam proudly at our baby as the candles flickered and my carefully chosen birthing playlist provided a gentle audio backdrop to the magical moment we’d just experienced.
Turns out there’s not much time to grab the camera when prepping for an emergency c-section, and not much point in bringing one anyway when the mother can’t hold their baby until half an hour or so after birth as they are shaking uncontrollably and vomiting whilst still opened up on the operating table.
After suffering pregnancy losses and the fear my dream of being a parent would never become a reality, I guess I thought birth might go a bit easier on me, not to ‘make up for it’, but maybe to at least cast a more positive glow on what had been quite a traumatic road to motherhood.

I have a problem with that saying “All’s well that ends well”. All is not necessarily well, even if it has ended well. I also have a problem with the saying “A healthy baby is all that matters”. It’s THE most important thing, but not the ONLY important thing. I’ll talk more about my experiences with traumatic birth and pregnancy loss soon, but for now I’ll just say that I did eventually come home with two healthy babies, and I am so thankful for that. I know many others haven’t.

So these are my first post birth photos with my beautiful babies. Both taken in recovery by my husband, as the midwives were too busy monitoring my vitals after surgery and writing up copious amounts of notes from the days of labour preceding it.
In the first I am giving Welshy a bollocking for nearly blinding the one hour old Midge Bean by not switching the flash off before taking the picture, and in the second, three years later, he’d remembered the flash thing and so I was just trying to focus on feeding T Bean as the poor thing had been crying after being kept waiting too long to eat whilst his Mummy was being sewn up and then monitored for Tachycardia so wasn’t allowed to hold him. “Just hand my baby to me for God’s sake then maybe my heart rate will go back to bloody normal!” It did.

I never wanted to publicise these photos as they didn’t depict that perfect post birth scene that was ‘supposed’ to happen. Now I realise that I am and should be as proud of these images as any mother who did have a textbook birth. They aren’t how I’d imagined, but I’m incredibly grateful they exist.

I’d love to see your post birth photos too! ❤

Post Partum Bodies

First blog post, coming at ya…

In October 2018, a few weeks after having my second baby and whilst still feeling emotionally and physically like I’d been run over by a truck, I left him with his Dad for an hour so I could spend a bit of one on one time with my daughter who had just turned three and had had to adjust to a new house and a new little brother all in a matter of weeks.
We decided to go to the library, an apparently innocuous place to visit whilst feeling like you might break if someone accidentally brushed past you in a corridor. It would be fine.
I began a pleasant chat with the friendly library assistant whilst she was looking for a book Midge Bean wanted, and she asked me how old she was. It was all going so well until she looked down at my belly and announced “And I see you have another one due any time now!”
For fucks sake.
“Er, no” I explained, “I had him three weeks ago…”
She went red, I went red, the other Mums who were with their kids nearby went red and busied themselves pretending they hadn’t heard. “Oh, I’m so sorry” the librarian said. Then “Well where is he today then?!” in an almost accusatory tone, as if I should have spared her the embarrassment of her faux pas by making sure to bring said baby in order to clarify that my bulk in the belly area was for that reason.
I resolved to always make sure I had him with me in future; “Look, I just had a baby! That’s why my belly is huge!”

Well we’re three months on now and the belly is still pretty fucking huge, unfortunately. I wear the high waisted ‘control underwear’ knickers every day, then mostly baggy tops to try and hide it but I’m still really self conscious about it and literally have about four items in my wardrobe that fit me. I must own 10 different pairs of different coloured skinny jeans and at the moment I can only fit it into one maternity pair that, alas, seem to be going in the crotch.

I grow decent sized babies (8lb 12 and 9lb respectively) and during pregnancy all bets are off and I follow the ‘See Food’ diet. You know the one.
I continually had people comment that I must be a lot further along than I actually was as I was so massive (cheers), and the usual jokes of “You sure there’s just one in there? Ha ha ha ha!”
“Yes, definitely just the one!” I’d reply through gritted teeth whilst resisting the urge to blame hormones after giving them a back hander for being cheeky fuckwits.
I also did very little exercise as the first trimester was spent vomming or fighting off the urge to vom and the rest was spent incapacitated with Pelvic Girdle Pain, which as some of you may know is an absolute bastard.
Both babies did not wanna come out and both ended up arriving via emergency c section after fucking horrendous labours, and no unfortunately the surgeons did not agree to my suggestion of a quick ‘nip and tuck’ whilst they were still rummaging in my guts after hauling the cosy little buggers out through the sunroof into this giant shit show called life.

So now I also have the famous c-section ‘shelf’ which is as awesome as it sounds and basically means my belly hangs over the tightened bit where they sewed me up, twice. I’ve read that there’s not an awful lot to be done about it unless you already had a completely flat stomach to begin with, which, sadly I did not. So, that and a bladder that’s as weak as my willpower when presented with a Custard Crème are what I’m contending with right now. Oh and trying to keep two kids alive, etc etc.

I have absolutely no issue with people who’s bodies are larger or smaller than what society/the media deems acceptable if they are healthy and happy. You should be accepted and celebrated without having to conform to anyone else’s ridiculous ideal.

However, I am not healthy nor happy with my body. Apart from how I feel in my clothes/when I look in the mirror, I have also noticed my knees hurt when I’m going up the stairs and I’m knackered most of the time. I want energy to play with my kids who are default set to operate at Duracell Bunny level, and I want to be able to wear my skinny jeans again as I’m pretty sure my maternity ones are gonna split down the crotch any moment now, probably just as a herd of size 8 Spandex Susies jog past me in the street whilst I’m sweating my tits off trying to get the pram up the hill, or whilst bending down to pick my bread and dignity up off the supermarket floor after once again trying and failing to keep up with the quite frankly pissing ridiculous speed at which your items are thrown at you by the Aldi checkout assistants.

Something has to change. I’ve done jack shit so far as I had my baby in September and felt like shit for ages, then it was Christmas so I ate the world and it’s Terry’s Chocolate Orange, then New Year’s fell on a Tuesday and I was far too hungover from Lidl Prosecco to do anything other than vegetate (unfortunate word to describe something which definitely does not have much to do with vegetables), and then it was Wednesday and, well, you can’t start a diet and exercise regime mid-week, can you? Everyone knows it has to be a Monday.
So after spending the week frantically eating and drinking all the crap in the house to ‘get rid of it’, another well known pre-diet ritual, I am officially starting tomorrow. Yes, biznitches.
I have no master plan except to use the My Fitness Pal app and also the last of this Skinny Coffee malarkey that I’ve had in the cupboard since before I was pregnant. I’m also gonna commit to 40 minutes of walking with the pram each day (no mean feat with my chunky 14lb er in it and my two stone toddler standing on the back) and yoga three times a week.

Follow my stories for updates on weigh ins, how much I was ‘hanging out of my arse’ (one of my husband’s delightful phrases) during my workout, and whether or not I manage to resist eating the entire garlic bread my husband presents me with my lasagne…..this actually happened the other night, he had said “Just leave what you don’t want” and I was like “ Have you just MET me?! If it’s in front of me, I fucking eat it!”

A note about these photos. It has taken some big bollocks to post these when I’m at the unhealthiest I’ve ever been, but I promised when starting this blog I was gonna get uncomfortable in order to get comfortable, and the honesty starts here.
This is a real, postpartum body of a woman who’s grown two chunky babbas and who likes beer and cheese maybe a little too much.
(Incidentally the dog and child featured in the background don’t give a shit about how I look, which is nice)

Hopefully I’ll be a little more motivated if I have a few people following my journey (oh god ‘journey’ is so cringe), and please feel free to send any hints and tips my way, or let me know about your own experiences with trying to get healthy after birthing sprogs 👍