A Weighty Issue

As a new mum I am currently in the throes of ‘trying to lose the baby weight’.

No pressure! Yeah right!

In ‘Celeb-Land’ it seems the norm to pop out a sprog and look incredible mere days later…or hours…or minutes! How? How do they do this? It seems as if some magical transformation takes place; a Fairy Godmother appears with her magic wand and..POOF… all fat  dissipates, dissolves, disappears! Hooray!

Just look at the stars that have had babies recently and the transformations that have ensued. Claire Danes at the Golden Globes for example! Really? Come on!

The 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards in LA

Claire Danes google images

This is Claire one month after having her son. ONE MONTH! I mean honestly, how does this even happen? It’s not just sour grapes on my part is it?

I looked at her on the red carpet and then looked at myself: milk-stained pyjamas; big M&S Granny knickers; greasy hair scraped on top of my head and the unforgiving parachute belly (we’ll get to this in a minute). How was she doing it? We’d had our children within a week or so of each other. Why didn’t I look like that?

Google Images

Victoria Beckham google images

What about Victoria Beckham? As you can see from some of the first pictures that were taken after the birth of her fourth child, she’s not carrying an ounce of extra weight! Grrrrrr!

In one way it’s amazing to have such women as role models. It shows that if you work hard and you want something enough then you can do it. On the other hand, it’s totally unrealistic for the mere mortals of this world to achieve these results weeks after giving birth. We don’t have the time, help, money or resources to enable us to concentrate solely on our figures.

I remember reading an article about the Supermodel Giselle when she’d had her first baby; probably around about the same time that I’d had my first son and was feeling like the walking dead. She gushed about how amazing motherhood was and…how easy it was to get back into shape. If I remember rightly her typical day went something along these lines: get up and have breakfast with the baby; go to the gym for three hours; come home and have lunch with the baby and then go and take the baby to watch daddy at his football practice.

Hmmm. Ok then. Yes I could probably see why it was easy to get back into shape. Three hours in the gym may indeed sort out the parachute belly!

Now if you’ve never had children you won’t be aware of the parachute belly, although you can probably imagine. After ten months of pregnancy your big stretched preggy tummy expels it’s precious cargo and you’re left with…..well I can only describe it as a parachute without any wind. Perhaps a deflated hot air balloon will allow you to picture it more clearly? Either way it’s rather disconcerting to say the least; even more so because of the exceptionally hard stomach that you’ve been waddling around with.

Where do the celebrities store their parachute bellies, that’s what I want to know??? They mustn’t have them – it’s the only answer!! Nearly every friend of mine that’s recently had a baby is talking about their weight, or their tummies and how on earth they’ll ever regain their previous figures. After my first child it took me eighteen months to get back into my jeans!! Eighteen months! That’s unheard of in celeb-ville!

I have therefore come up with the following as possible explanations as to why, with an 11 week old baby, I don’t look like Claire, Victoria, Adriana Lima or Allesandra Ambrosio..

google images Allesandra

google images Allesandra

  • celebrities are all really tall – at least 7ft and so at 5ft 3in I am bound to look like a fat hobbit in comparison
  • they never eat – ever (I can’t do this)
  • if they do happen to eat it’s only lettuce and steamed fish – mmmm
  • they only drink water from natural springs located in the Scottish Highlands and so have amazing skin
  • they have magical powers
  • the skin on their stomachs is super elasticated and snaps back into shape within minutes of giving birth
  • they also have abs like Superman, which, like the elasticated skin, pull all internal organs back into their previous postions beautifully
  • their babies sleep
  • then feed calmly once a day
  • then sleep again, thus enabling said celebrity to have at least 10 hours of sleep a night
  • a Fairy Godmother looks after their baby during the night and most of the day when they will be at the gym, enabling them to have a serene demeanour in all paparazzi photos..

I think I may be spot on with these theories. There can’t really be many other explanations can there?

What’s Breast for Baby?

Breastfeeding.

This one word can drum up such a heated debate amongst men and women of all ages and generations. As with most things baby related, everyone has a fervent point of view on the subject! And quite rightly so don’t you think?

Right then. Here’s goes. Look away now if I’m likely to offend you with my point of view but you see it’s a topic very close to people’s hearts  (see what I did there?) and so is bound to ruffle a few feathers.

Breastfeeding sucks (sorry I couldn’t help it)! I mean both literally and figuratively: it sucks. It really really does.

Women however, are under immense pressure to breastfeed in today’s society. If you don’t breastfeed it’s almost as if you are an outcast, doomed never to be part of the the elusive ‘Baby Club’. Strangers look at you with scorn and derision as you produce bottle instead of  breast at social functions and random people ‘tut-tut’ you, as you empty your formula into the bottle for your baby’s feed. Mothers that you’ve never met before draw in a sharp breath when you say that you are no longer breastfeeding, or that you’re ‘giving a bottle at night’. Woweee! You’d think you’d committed a crime against humanity!

I have breastfed both of my babies and let me tell you that it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life!  I was adamant that I was going to breastfeed and that I would give my child ‘the best start in life’. Of course I understood that my body was going to produce the best food for my child and that I, in my new role of ‘Mother’, was going to be able to feed and nourish my offspring.

I went to the relevant ante-natal classes with a lovely Midwife, who extolled the virtues of breast milk and all of the ways that it helps both mummy and baby bond after the birth. Quite exciting really. A bit magical if you think about it.

Then…..

birth: horrendous

husband: frightened

me: shell-shocked

baby: starving

nurses: constant

doctors: painful

sleep: non-existent

depression: absolutely!

You see within the first few hours of my son’s life, the text books and midwives’ advice had gone out of the window. It was MATERNAL MAYHEM!!

Breastfeeding is difficult! Very difficult!

If you are tired – you don’t produce much milk.

If you are stressed – you don’t produce much milk.

If you have post-natal depression – you don’t produce much milk.

If you are all of the above then – you don’t produce much milk.

In my experience I’ve found that not having much milk and breastfeeding a hungry baby leads to all sorts of delightful ailments. For example: cracked nipples. Nice.

To be honest ‘cracked nipples’ didn’t sound too bad to me when they were mentioned in the books. So they crack a bit. I could deal with that.

Ummmm, what it really means is a lot more gross and a lot more painful than I could’ve imagined. It’s safe to say that the milk was often pink and didn’t really help me to ‘bond’ with anyone!

Engorgement! Ha! Sounds quite nice really I suppose. I can quite imagine gorging myself on some yummy chocolate eclairs….but alas…no. It’s more like someone twisting a hot knife in the side of your boob and scraping downwards really. Then shoving the heated blade in from the front of your nipple and leaning on it. In a nutshell.

Leaking breasts… you walk around smelling like a lump of mouldy cheese and there are wet patches on your t-shirt where the milk has soaked through. Not the best look.

IMG_0454

Nipples. Who knew they could look like that anyway?

In fact, who knew boobs could look like that? Ouch!

So, after eight weeks of feeding my second son, I’m done with breastfeeding. He is officially weaned off and a happy podgy contented little soul.

Which leads me to think about the women who can’t let go…..what’s that all about?

time-magazine-breastfeeding-cover-time-mag